What You Need to Know About Cutting Your Dog’s Nails At Home

Weekly grooming sessions are an important part of having a dog. Usually, this is the time where you brush your dog to get rid of any loose hair, but you can take it to the next level. If you’re looking to cut your budget or just want to make sure it gets done right, cutting your dog’s nails yourself is a useful thing to learn. This is why we put together a guide telling you what you need to know about cutting your dog’s nails at home.

Cutting Your Dog’s Nails At Home

Any dog can have their nails trimmed at home. While a vet likely has a lot more experience than you do at trimming nails, there’s not some kind of magic they have that makes them better. It’s just practice and reading a dog’s body language that gets the job done. Your vet or groomer has also perfected a lot of the motions for trimming nails. With a bit of practice, you can do just as good a job in just as short a time as your vet or groomer.

If you want to get started trimming your dog’s nails at home, the first thing you’ll need to know is when to cut their nails. You won’t need to trim their nails weekly when you do weekly brushing sessions. You also don’t want to be waiting months between trimming sessions.

It is recommended to only trim your dog’s nails as needed. To check your dog’s nails, place your thumb on the top of your dog’s paw and your other fingers grip the pad on the underside of their paw. Gently squeeze your fingers together to extend your dog’s paw. If the tips of the nails go beyond the paw, it’s time for a trim. If you’re ready to start trimming your dog’s nails yourself, take a look at what you’ll need to get the job done.

Materials You’ll Need To Get Started

Trimming your dog’s nails isn’t hard, but it does require a specialized tool. Most people who attempt to trim their dog’s nails use what’s called a guillotine-style trimmer. You can think of this almost as two “C” shaped blades that come together to cut the nail. Other people prefer using a grinder style trimmer. Each style has its advantages and disadvantages, so be sure to pick the one you think will be best for you. Either way, here’s what you’ll need to get started:

  • Either a nail trimmer or nail grinder
  • Some styptic powder or a styptic stick
  • Plenty of treats to reward your dog

How To Cut Your Dog’s Nails With Trimmers

Most people start trying to cut their dog’s nails with a trimmer. They are easy to find and very affordable, but be sure you get a quality pair. If your trimmer isn’t sharp, they’ll end up crushing your dog’s nail and you’ll be in more trouble than you bargained for.

When you’re ready to start cutting your dog’s nails, position yourself on the opposite side you plan to cut. Be sure to have plenty of treats as well. Take the time to get your dog to relax. This will only make the task at hand easier.

Push on the pad of your dog’s paw to extend their nail. Use your trimmer to cut the tip of your dog’s nail. If your dog has dark nails, you should stop when you can see three distinct parts of the nail. You should be able to see the dark part of their nail at the top, towards their knuckle. You should also be able to see a white tissue toward the bottom of the nail. You know when to stop when you can see between these two sections just a tinge of pink. That pink is called the quick. If you continue to cut, you risk cutting the quick. This is the nail’s blood supply, and it will hurt your dog if you continue cutting.

If you do cut a little too far on accident, it’s ok. That’s why you should also have styptic powder on hand. This will help pack the wound and it should stop the bleeding.

How To Cut Your Dog’s Nails With a Grinder

If you’re not confident with a nail trimmer, you can try a grinder instead. These devices are specially made to trim dogs’ nails and makes the whole process very easy. This rotary tool spins a grinding wheel and all you have to do is place the device on the bottom of your dog’s nail. It spins and grinds away the excess nail.

There are many different brands and styles of grinders available. Some even have a cage around the grinding section that offers your dog’s paw protection from being scraped.

While grinders are very easy to use and are painless for your dog, the downside is that they are a machine. This means they make a lot of noise during use. You may have to turn the grinder on and give your dog lots of treats before they will get accustomed to it. Though, once they do, it should be an easy process to keep up with their nail maintenance.

Trimming your dog’s nails may make you nervous, but it doesn’t have to be so challenging. Give it a try, and you will save yourself from expensive trips to the groomer.

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