Nail trims are an essential part of keeping your dog happy and healthy - and keeping you happy and healthy! Keeping your dog's nails trimmed will help them run faster and will limit the number of scratches you'll get. Here are some tips for a successful nail trim session.
This isn't exactly possible if you adopt an older dog or if you've had your dog for a while and haven't done nail trims on your own. Getting dogs used to nail trimming when they're puppies can help them grow accustomed to the feeling and can cut down on stress and anxiety later in their life.
Lay Your Dog Down
Sitting on the floor and laying your dog down can help them relax. Before you being trimming their nails, pet them and give them plenty of praise. This will help make them happy and encourage them to be relaxed. Once they're laying down, it's easy to reach around to trim their nails, and they might already be falling asleep!
When handling their paw, approach it gently so that they don't get scared or skittish. First, just pet their paw, then work into holding it gently. Once they're relaxed enough, get a firm hold on their paw with one hand. Still be gentle - if you squeeze their paws too much, this can be both uncomfortable and painful for them. Be sure to find the right balance of securing their paw while being gentle.
Push Nail Out
By (gently!) squeezing your thumb along their paw pad, you'll expose their nail. This is the only way you'll be able to trim the nail, as this exposes the nail the most. This, of course, might cause them to twitch. Just keep them calm!
Identify the Quick
Before you cut their nail, be sure to identify the quick. This is the area of the nail that contains all of the blood vessels. You'll be able to see it easily if your dog has opaque or white nails, as it is the pink part underneath. If your dog has dark-colored nails, this might be more difficult. In this case, just cut the tip of the nail to make sure you don't cut too far. Dogs with dark-colored nails also might have a white, chalky ring around the outside of their nail where the quick is. If you accidentally cut the quick, this is painful for your pup and will cause bleeding, so be sure to avoid it!
Talk to Them
While you're doing a nail trim, talk to your pup! Tell them they're a good boy or girl and speak in a soothing voice. Speaking will help calm them so that you can safely get the job done. Since you'll need both hands to do the nail trim, you won't be able to pet them to soothe them, so you'll want to rely on your voice instead.
Ask for Help
The easiest way to trim your pup's nails? Ask for help! Two people who your dog trusts will make a good team when it comes to nail trimming. If your dhog is nervous about nail trimming, you can have someone who will help soothe your dog by petting them or distracting them in another way while you focus on their nails.
No matter what methods you use, nail trims are essential in helping your dog's feet stay healthy and improving their traction when they get those inevitable zoomies!