How to Cut Your Dog's Nails

Updated: October 25, 2022

"Long overgrown nails may seem just fine but these can predispose your pup to joint problems, mobility issues, and spayed & deformed feet."

Most pet parents who are hands-on with their furbaby have one fear in common: how to cut your dog’s nails. Cutting dog nails is essential to keep your dog's feet healthy, but it is not always fun. Guess what – your furbaby probably fears this, too! It can range from a tempered dislike to a complete terror. Cutting a dog’s nails can be frustrating and tough work. But why do most dogs fear their nails being cut and what can you do about it? Read on to learn more about how to cut dog nails!

Why Your Dog’s Nails Need to be Cut

The frustration of cutting your dog’s long nails can lead some pet parents to just allow them to keep growing long. But did you know that this choice can eventually lead to health drawbacks for your dog? Trimming dog nails is an essential piece of dog grooming. Long overgrown nails may seem just fine but these can predispose your pup to joint problems, mobility issues, and spayed & deformed feet.

According to One Fur All Pets, nails that are too long are at risk of being torn off. This could occur if your dog’s nail gets caught on something, like a piece of furniture or some loose thread. This can be the cause of an injury that might require immediate veterinary care or risk for infection. Longer dog nails also make it harder for dogs to walk around comfortably, so cutting dog nails regularly is necessary for all dogs. These nails make it difficult for your pup to walk around and move freely as they are so quickly prone to breaking and can be very painful. 

Long nails on a dog can also easily scratch or destroy your furniture & other objects at home and may hurt you when your pup decides to jump on you to play or ask for cuddles. So, it is important on all fronts to know how to cut dog nails. 

Reducing Anxiety When Cutting Dog Nails

If your dog is having anxiety every time you try to cut their nails, here are some ways to reduce their stress. Here's how to calm a dog when clipping nails: 

Have your dog get used to seeing nail clippers.

Cutting dog nails can be next to impossible if your dog is scared of the clippers themselves. As stated by the VCA Animal Hospitals, nail clipper may be new to your furbaby or may be associated with past trauma. Either way, your dog has to resolve their fear of the clippers if you want to trim their nails successfully (and peacefully!). Call your dog and pick up the clippers in their presence. Act happy when you grab the clippers and give your dog a treat or their favorite chew. 

Make sure you are giving them the highest possible quality and safest chew there is, like Gnawtlers®. Clipping dog nails requires some cooperation, so distractions are a great idea. Gnawtlers® are premium, Grade A antler chews that you can give your dog for them to be able to associate nail clippers as a positive experience (as they get to gnaw on their favorite chew). These antler chews, too, are packed with calcium, phosphorus, manganese & zinc. Your furbaby will not only enjoy their chewing experience but will also gain added nutrients.

How to Cut Your Dog's Nails, cutting dog nails

The first few times your dog encounters the nail clippers, do not even attempt to trim your dog's nails. Instead, simply reward when the nail clippers are present. If your dog is comfortable around them, try touching them to the paw without clipping next. Repeat several times until they are completely comfortable.

Make nail trimming sessions happy.

When nail cutting sessions are forced, this will bring about negative effects on your furbaby. Forced nail cutting may include restraining your dog so they can’t move, hitting your dog for them to stop moving, and a lot more! These will only lead your dog to become more scared and stressed out than they already are.

Exercise your pup daily.

Exercise your pup every day, even by just taking brief walks or a quick playtime (especially on rougher surfaces like concrete pavements). Clipping dog nails regularly with natural "filing" will help keep their nails at a healthy length and keep them relaxed for when you want to cut their nails.

how to cut dog nails, cutting dogs nails

Avoid punishments when cutting dogs nails.

When your dog refuses to hand you their feet or hide their paws away from you, do not shout at them or punish them. Instead, praise your pup and encourage them by giving praise and rewards so that they’ll find the courage to be okay about it the next time you try. 

Provide calming supplements.

Providing your pup with Calming SoftSupps® can help them stay calm and reduce their stress when you cut their nails. These calming supplements will provide your furbaby with powerful ingredients that help act as a calming aid to reduce stress with regular use and promote balanced behavior.

For stressful situations that may cause anxiousness, like nail trimming or everyday anxiety, Pet Parents® Dog Calming SoftSupps® can help keep your furbaby calm & relaxed. These contain Suntheanine®, a pure form of L-Theanine that promotes relaxation without drowsiness & soothes brain waves before adrenaline kicks in. It also has Organic Passion Flower that helps regulate mood and manage stress, anxiety, and some forms of pain and promotes calmness to anxious behavior without resulting in sleepiness. 

How to Cut Your Dog’s Nails

Here are helpful tips and steps on how to cut dog’s nails:

  • Hold your dog’s feet firmly but lightly. See to it that the way you’re holding your dog’s feet doesn’t cause your furbaby to panic.
  • Use a sharp nail clipper. Using dull ones will only make the cutting more difficult and can even hurt your dog.
  • To begin, trim a small part of every toenail. Try to feel the area before you snip it away. If the area you’re trying to cut already feels spongy, that is already the quick and it’s better you stay away from it! The quick is the soft part of the toe underneath the nail.
  • If you accidentally cut any of your dog’s quicks, stop the bleeding as soon as possible by placing over a clean cloth or bandage over the wound. It can become a bloody mess and it can hurt a lot. Be sure to work quickly and distract them with treats should you accidentally cause bleeding.
  • If you feel like cutting your dog’s nails is too much of a struggle and you don’t want to risk hurting your dog, you can always ask professionals for help. You can visit your local pet groomer or your veterinary clinic to do the nail cutting for you. 
  • Keep rewards, like treats or Gnawtlers® with you for distractions while cutting dogs nails.

Cutting your dog’s nails is more than just grooming your dog. It is more of keeping your pup healthy to keep him away from problems caused by neglected long and overgrown nails. Calming them and helping him relax before clipping dog nails is the first step for a happier and healthier life (and nails!) ahead.

"For stressful situations that may cause anxiousness, Pet Parents® Dog Calming Supplement can help keep your furbaby calm & relaxed."