For new puppy parents, clipping your pup’s nails for the first time (and the second, and the third…) can be somewhat daunting. How do you have them sit still long enough? What if you clip too far? We lay out helpful tips and advice below to help you and your pup get comfortable with this essential aspect of grooming. It can take some time, but if you stick with it, you can help your puppy (and yourself) feel relaxed and secure, while helping maintain their overall paw health!
Busting out the clippers without warning and trying to grab your pet’s paw is likely not going to get you anywhere and worse, could leave your pup feeling stressed and anxious. Allow your puppy or dog to become familiar with the clippers by holding them in your hand while you pet them with the other.
For dogs who resist having their paws held all together, try taking things slow. Start with the usual belly rub, scratch behind the ears and lead to slowly touching their paw. Touch one toe at a time, eventually and gently lifting their paw in your hand. Reward them with affection after they allow you to hold their paw in your hand. Incorporate the clippers into the experience by holding them in one hand while you hold their paw in the other.
By giving your pup a workout, like going for a long walk or playing at the dog park, you have a better chance of catching them while they’re relaxed and less excitable, presenting the perfect opportunity to begin trimming.
Begin by slowly picking up your pup’s foot and checking for signs of injury, debris, and wiping any dirt away.
Once you’ve confirmed there are no injuries, begin by trimming the fur around your puppy’s feet and toes, if needed. This helps to prevent discomfort and injury, also making it easier to see what you’re doing when trimming their nails!
Start by gently holding your pet’s paw in one hand and the clippers in the other. Carefully clip one toenail at a time and at a 45° angle, avoiding a vein found in each nail called a ‘quick’. Once you’ve successfully clipped the first nail, reward your pup with a treat, like a TLC Whole Life Dog Biscuit, broken into pieces. If your pup seems nervous, provide them comfort and wait until they settle, gently picking up the same paw, preparing to clip the next nail. Continue this until you’ve clipped each nail. Take your time and maintain a calm and controlled attitude, if you feel yourself stressing out, pause what you’re doing and wait until things settle. If you find you cannot get your pup to settle, don’t push it. Try introducing the clippers over time and when your pup is comfortable, make another attempt.
If the length of your dog’s nails will not allow the time it might take to get them comfortable with having you trim them, then it’s time to consider taking them to a professional! Outgrown nails actually increase the blood flow to the quick and can cause discomfort, poor ‘gait’ or quality of movement, with an increased risk of becoming ingrown(potentially leading to abscess).