Unfortunately, in many
cases, the answer to this question will be “more often
than you think.” Many pet owners put off trimming their
dogs’ nails, waiting until the next trip to the vet or
groomer. The reason for this reluctance is simple: most
pets don’t like getting their nails trimmed at all, and
many owners are deathly afraid of cutting the quick of
the nail and making a pet bleed.
Both of these fears can
be addressed. Pets will grow accustomed to nail clipping
if it’s done calmly and becomes part of their routine.
(This is why you should strongly urge new puppy owners
to get their pets into the habit of nail trimming
In terms of cutting the
quick, even though the blood may look scary, this is not
a serious injury. To stop the bleeding, apply styptic
clotting powder or gel to the edge of the nail and hold
in place, applying pressure for 30-60 seconds, or until
the bleeding stops.
Clipping nails is
important to a pet’s health and well-being. Long nails
can become snagged in carpets and furniture causing an
injury to the pet, plus they cause undue stress on the
joints of the paws.
There is no set time
formula for nail clipping, since nails grow at different
rates. More active dogs will wear down their nails
during play, allowing them to go longer between
clippings. In all cases, nails should be short enough so
that they do not touch the floor when the dog walks.
You can choose from
guillotine style and scissor style nail clippers.
Guillotine style is usually better for smaller dogs,
while scissor style trimmers are more suited for larger
breeds. When using either, the dog’s paw should be held
firmly, and gentle pressure should be exerted so that
the nails protrude. Clip in small pieces, working from
the very tip of the nail, and taking care to avoid the
Wetting a dog’s paws
beforehand will make the nails softer and easier to
clip. If a dog is nervous about clipping, do only one or
two paws per session. Don’t forget the nails on the
dewclaws, which are slightly above the feet on the inner
side of the legs.