How To: Trim Your Dog’s Toenails

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Toenail trimming is an essential part of grooming as long nails can curl under and cause paw problems. You can trim the nails yourself, but it is important that this is done correctly with suitable clippers. If you are not familiar with the procedure, ask your veterinarian or a professional dog groomer for help.

Find the right trimmer

Never use human nail clippers. They compress the nail flat, causing pain and leaving a poorly angled cut. Instead select either one of the below 

  • Guillotine style: Recommended for smaller dogs, the nail is passed through a metal hoop at the end of the trimmer. As the handles close, a metal trimmer slides across the metal loop and trims the nail. You may find this squeeze-type closure easier to use than scissor-type handles. Just ensure that you change the blades frequently.
  • Millers Forge trimmers: They look similar to scissors and their blades have semi-circular indentations. When the blades open, the semi-circles make a circular opening for the nail. Once in position, close the handles to trim the nail.

Tips & Tricks

Dogs who are regularly exercised on hard surfaces are less likely to need any attention as their nails wear down to about the correct length. Here’s how you can make the process as painless as possible for you and your dog. Always try to make trimming fun and not a struggle. In time, your dog may grow to enjoy his/her pedicures.

  • Start young! The earlier you start clipping your dog's nails, the better.
  • Unsure how to start? Take help from your vet or a professional groomer.
  • Avoid cutting into the ‘quick’ - the pink nail bed area seen in colourless nails. 
  • Clip toenails after a workout or vigorous play session - when your pet is tired.
  • Try different positions. Some dogs are comfortable lying on their sides, while others prefer sitting up or standing. 
  • See what you are doing! Pull the hair aside or trim it away from the nails. 

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