Training & Behavior

How To Train Your Dog For Smooth Nail Cutting?

How To Train Your Dog For Smooth Nail Cutting?

One of the perks of dog ownership is grooming, and the integral part of grooming is nail cutting. While brushing your dog’s hair every day or two can be extremely pleasurable for the both of you, the same cannot be said of nail cutting.

When done wrongly, or by inexperienced owners, nail cutting can quickly escalate into a wrestling match that ends up with you pinning your dog down and clipping the nails by force - not a very pleasant outcome for the both of you! 

However, with some patience and know-how, you can make nail cutting a relatively painless experience for the both of you. Sure, it won’t be as fun as brushing their hair or goofing around in an outdoor bath, but it can certainly be less of a traumatic experience for both you and your dog! 

How To Start Clipping Your Dog’s Nails 

Many dog owners dread the task of trimming their pet's nails. Not only is it time-consuming, but it can also be difficult to get your dog to sit still long enough to do a good job. However, regular nail trims are essential for keeping your dog's feet healthy. 

If you're not sure how to introduce your dog to a nail clipper, here are a few tips. 

  1. Introduce the clipper by letting your dog sniff and explore. Give him lots of praise and delectable treats while he's doing this. 

  2. Next, touch the clipper to your dog's paw and reward him for staying calm. Once he's comfortable with that, you can try clipping a few nails. 

  3. Only take a little off at a time to avoid cutting too deep into the quick.

  4. Remember to go slowly and take breaks often so that your dog doesn't get overwhelmed. With a little patience and practice, you'll be able to give your dog a professional-quality nail trim in no time.

Tips For Smooth Nail Cutting 

Not all dog owners are lucky enough to have canines that allow for easy handling of paws, ears, and eyes. Many dogs are relatively opposed to grooming and can walk away, jump, or even growl.

To prepare your dog for frequent grooming, here are a few tips. 

  • - Start handling their paws the moment you get your dog. Whether he or she is a puppy or fully-grown adult, the sooner you get them used to being handled, the better they will adapt to frequent grooming. 

  • - If your dog starts to fuss, keep him occupied with a chew toy, dental stick, or some treats. 

  • - If your dog seems anxious or stressed, take a break and try again another day. Forcing your dog to accept being groomed is a recipe for fear and trauma in the future. 

    What Is The Quick

    The quick of a nail is the portion of the nail that is alive, extending from the cuticle to the tip of the nail. The quick is filled with blood vessels and nerves, which is why it is painful to cut it. The quick also contains keratin, which is a protein that helps to keep nails strong. 

    It is important to be careful when trimming nails, as even a small cut can cause the quick to bleed. If you do accidentally cut the quick, rinse the wound with soap and water and apply a bandage.

    In dogs with light-colored nails, you can easily see the obviously pink quick. However, in dogs with black nails, it isn’t that simple. You’ll need to find the pulp, which is a dark, circular part of the nail that is beside the quick. 

    When you first start cutting, the nail will be mostly white. Clip only tiny bits away until you see a black spot at the center of the cross-section of the nail, which is the pulp. Stop there, as that’s the beginning of the quick. 

    If you still have issues with dark-colored nails, you can also try using a nail file or grinder to reduce the risk of cutting into the quick and hurting your dog (and upsetting you!).

    What To Do If You Nick The Quick?

    Uh oh! Nicking the quick is a traumatic experience for both you and your dog! Your dog is likely to whine or yelp in surprise or pain, and you too, will be shocked and horrified by the fact that you nicked the quick and caused your dog bleeding and pain.

    Don’t worry, nicking the quick is more common than you think. Even practiced groomers nick the quick at times. To stop the bleeding, apply some styptic powder that is commercially available in pet stores. Alternatively, use a homemade solution of corn starch and baking soda. 

    The bleeding will stop in a few minutes, and you can resume the nail cutting if your dog will let you. However, if your dog (or you!) is freaked out, you can always give it a rest and try again another day. 

    Why Do You Have To Clip Your Dog’s Nails

    Many people believe that clipping a dog's nails is an unnecessary grooming task, but the truth is that it can actually be very important for your pet's health. Leaving your dog's nails too long can cause them to become ingrown or split, which can be painful and lead to infection. 

    Additionally, long nails can make it difficult for your dog to walk, run, and play comfortably. 

    Excessively long nails can also curl inwards and hurt the sensitive paw pads on the underside of your dog’s foot, which can lead to abrasions, raw skin, cuts, and infection. 

    How Often To Clip Your Dog’s Nails 

    How often your dog needs a manicure will depend on a few factors, like your dog’s age, size, and general durability of their nails.

    One of the primary factors that affect nail length is your dog’s exercise habits and lifestyle. If your dog runs long distances on hard, rough surfaces like asphalt or concrete, might be able to get away with clipping its nails once every several months. 

    However, if your dog is relatively sedentary and spends loads of time on smooth surfaces like tiles or wooden floors at home, you might need to clip their nails more frequently. 

    It is generally recommended that you clip your dog's nails every four to six weeks. If you're unsure how often to clip your dog's nails, talk to your veterinarian for guidance.

    Final Thoughts 

    Nail clipping is one of the most difficult grooming chores for both you and your dog, especially if you have nicked the quick before. Fret not, just relax, have loads of treats standing by, and go slowly! 

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