How to Cut your Dog's Nails
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Thread: How to Cut your Dog's Nails

  1. #1
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    How to Cut your Dog's Nails

    Cutting you dog's nails can turn into quite a struggle, but with the proper tools and technique your dog won't mind nail trimming day. Learn how the members at DogForums.com are clipping their dog's nails... - Dave|Xoxide

    When we got our dog, the previous owner let us know that he does not do well at a groomer, vet...
    Therefore he has never had his nails cut. I decided to take him into a pet place just to see what it would cost. The lady offered to do it for free. He would not let her anywhere near him, growling and snapping. after a while she was able to pet him but that was all.
    I decided not to add anymore stress then what he was under so we left.
    Now the previous owner did have a vet clinic that are familiar with him but it is a far drive for a nail trim. She has said he got so nervous once he popped a blood vessel in his eye.
    I want to try to take him in and get him muzzled first but I dont want to add that stress to him. I have heard about getting them something to knock them out first but the point is no one can touch him other then me or my boyfriend.

    I wont cut his nails cuz I am to afraid. any suggestions?
    Last edited by Dave|Xoxide; 01-20-2008 at 01:04 PM.

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    Senior Member all4thedogs's Avatar
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    Start small. Start by having him lay down and touch his nails. Praise and give him treats. Once he is fine with that, touch them with the clippers (dont actually clip), praise and treats. Next clip 1 nail, praise and treats, then 2 nails and so on. This will take months! But its worth the effort

    Many dogs do better with a dremel. I use a dremel to do my dogs nails and dont have a problem.

    If they nails are really bad right now, ask the vet about a tranq, and have him clip them short, and then start the process I stated above.
    "Dogs have given us their absolute all. We are the center of their universe, we are the focus of their love, faith, and trust. They serve us in return for scraps. It is without a doubt the best deal man has ever made" -Roger Caras

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    Junior Member exotic's Avatar
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    I use a dremel on my dogs. It can take some time to get used to it, but it's worth it IMO.

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    Senior Member all4thedogs's Avatar
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    Hey Midian, where in MO are you? I live just outside of Springfield
    "Dogs have given us their absolute all. We are the center of their universe, we are the focus of their love, faith, and trust. They serve us in return for scraps. It is without a doubt the best deal man has ever made" -Roger Caras

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    Could you please describe what your doing with the dremel ? Like what attachment are you using ect ?

    It sounds like an idea that would work lol but I wouldnt know what bit to use.

  7. #6
    Senior Member Alpha's Avatar
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    I use nail clippers, I do plan on getting a dremel but only to smooth out the edges and work on their shape.

    Clipping is not that hard to do at all. Really, you just have to learn first, about dogs nails, in relativity to their quicks. Where the quick is, how can you see it.

    As mentioned just do small bits at a time.

    And the longer a dogs nails are, the longer the quick is. You have to slowly, gradually, recede the quick, my clipping the nails as short as possible.

    Clipping is really quite simple. Getting a dog used to getting their nails clipped, and at least tolerating it, is really quite simple. BUT with a dog that is terrified, it will take some time.

    As mentioned, LOTS of treats and praise in a calm environment.

    What I would do:

    1. Pick a place where their nails will ALWAYS be cut. A calm place out of the way.
    2. Start sessions out, by just getting the dog to lie down on it's side. I place my leg over the dogs shoulder, just in case they move. (Bird chirps someone knocks at the door etc)
    3. Feed plenty of treats! And praise! But do not get over excited and NO baby-talk! LOL
    4. In a few days I'd begin just placing the clippers on the dogs nails, treat.

    After weeks of this, until the dog was comfortable with this routine. I'd begin clipping. Small bits, not too close to the quick... It can get touchy the closer you get. One foot at a time. No getting up between feet though. Small breaks of treats, pats and praise. No yelling! No baby talk. Just in a calm tone, "Your fine."

    It takes me about 2 minutes a dog, from getting them down and getting set, to clipping and finally a few treats when I'm done, while their still lying down. I don't allow them to jump up as soon as I'm done.

    I hope I explained myself well and good luck!

    Oh, and as mentioned, until you can get started on working out this problem, I'd most likely take the dogs to the vet as well to get the nails clipped.

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    Junior Member mrbingley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by all4thedogs View Post
    Start small. Start by having him lay down and touch his nails. Praise and give him treats. Once he is fine with that, touch them with the clippers (dont actually clip), praise and treats. Next clip 1 nail, praise and treats, then 2 nails and so on. This will take months! But its worth the effort

    Many dogs do better with a dremel. I use a dremel to do my dogs nails and dont have a problem.

    If they nails are really bad right now, ask the vet about a tranq, and have him clip them short, and then start the process I stated above.
    I had to do this with my rescue dog (he's 55 lbs). It worked wonders. I gave him a treat after every nail was clipped. It changed nail clipping from a WWF showdown to a good experience.

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    Relating to the topic

    Hello, I have a question that relates to this topic. My wife and I just got a puppy labrador. I want to say that he is around 3 months old.
    I just tried to clip one of his sharp nails and he let out a little yelp...so I stopped in fear that maybe it is too soon. I have never had a "puppy" before. So my question is..."Do you have to wait until a certain age to cut the nails?" Also for those of you using the dremel, I believe that someone else asked what bit to use and soforth and no one answered.
    Thanks!

  10. #9
    Senior Member drfong's Avatar
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    With the dremmel, just use a small sanding drum. The important part is to make sure you don't get the hair caught in the bit. This can be very bad if the have really furry paws.

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    Senior Member Meghan&Pedro's Avatar
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    Keep in mind (especially if his nails are black) that if his nails have been left untrimmed, his quicks will have grown out QUITE far - so you don't want to nick them!

    The best thing you can do is do 'tippings' every two weeks rather than full clips every 6-8. The tippings will help the quick recede back.

    If you know how to follow ridges on the bottom side of the nails, it will let you know where the quick is - even on a black nail.

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    Thank you to drfong & Meghan&Pedro for your input. It was helpful.
    It appears that his nails had never been cut before. All I know is that they are incredibly sharp! Almost as sharp as a cat's nails but not quite.
    Take care!

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    Well at least I know I am not crazy...I suggested a dremel and people looked at me like I was crazy...I don't think it will work on my dog due to the fur but I also had that idea...LOL
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    You can dremel when the dog has hairy feet it just requires a little more time. I have a sheltie that I only dremel her nails that is except for the dew claws. I've tried to cut them with trimmers, brought blood once as it was my first time with a nail trimmer and I thought I killed her. LOL I just trim the hair on the bottom of the pad with a small pair of bandage scissors (the blunt ends I find are safer and allow a closer trim of the feet. Then off with the dremel I go. Only use a sanding wheel, never a grinding stone and only touch each nail for a max of a couple of seconds so the nail does not get hot. After a couple of tries it gets easier.

  15. #14
    Senior Member animalcraker's Avatar
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    If your dog has furry feet and you want to use a dremel, you can use a stocking/panty hose. Just put their paw into the stocking, as you would your own foot, and make small holes in the bottom that you can push the nails through. That way you can dremel the nails without the hair being in the way.

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    My dog needs his nails trimmed, but when i do trim them he scratches us really bad, he doesnt mean it.. but it hurts whether thier clipped or not, any suggestions?.. he's a 1 1/2 year old brittany spaniel
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    One option you can do after you trim the nails, take an emery board and just give a quick file of each nail. Before I started to Dremel (which does both trim and file at the same time) I used to trim my sheltie's nails and then first take the rough side of the emery board to remove any snags from the sides and underneath and then finish each nail off with the fine side. She didn't like it much at first but for the first couple of times after each nail a tiny treat made her forget that I had just gave her a "pawdicure".

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    Re: nail trimming

    I've used Benadryl to slightly sedate my girl and it helped to keep her calm enough to get through the vet visit so it may work on nail trimming, too. There's also a product called becalm and I've heard some pretty good things about it. If you're scared of clipping nails try a grinder, I use one at home and work!

  19. #18
    Senior Member briteday's Avatar
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    Re: nail trimming

    To address the OP, if your dog has never had nails clipped they are probably way long at this point. It may take up to a year to get them back to their normal length if you do the slow working up to it at one nail at a time, and then try to clip back a wee bit every two weeks. In the meanwhile your dog is still walking on the sides of the nails, walking back on his heels because the nail beds hurt the toe as the nails hit the ground, and joint problems are very common due to the abnormal walking gait.

    I had a foster dog like this and the vet suggested that we sedate the dog ( I think they used valium) and then he clipped the nails back to a proper length, all at once. DON'T DO THIS AT HOME! Since there is a fair amount of blood and nerve endings in the area, the dog came home with his feet bandaged for a few days, pain meds, and some additional mild sedatives to keep him quiet for a few days. At first I thought this was so extreme, but then think of putting the dog thru anxiety for the first few months as you desensitize doing one nail at a time, and then he will still be anxious to some degree as you do them every two weeks. One week of feeling not so great was a better trade off in my mind. Also, the dog has no memory of the procedure. When you clip the nails yourself you are bound to clip a quick now and again. Sometimes you have to start all over with the one nail at a time routine because now you have re-newed the dog's fear by cutting into a quick.

    Whatever you decide, when you get the nails back to a proper length, I suggest the dremel tool. I didn't buy it out of a dog catalog or store $$$, my husband found one on sale at a tool store for $8. It came with an assortment of attachments. Since I have small dogs I use the 1/4" drum sander with the 60 grit sandpaper on it. At first I would give my dogs a Benedryl tablet an hour before I filed them, to make them a little less antsy. And you will probably need someone to hold the dog the first few times, for your own safety as well as the dog's. First I trim the hair between the pads, and if you have a breed with hair on top of the paw then stick the nails thru the pantyhose to prevent the hair from getting caught in the rotary dremel drum. As you quickly swipe over each nail you will begin to learn what the nail looks like as you approach the quick. I usually work on two nails at a time, going back and forth so as not to get any one nail too hot from the sanding. Even if you go a bit too far and get a quick, you will only have swiped over the very tip of it and just a teeny bit of blood will appear after a minute or so. (If you use clippers and go to far, you can easily cut farther into the quick causing more pain and bleeding) I also use the 100 grit drum to soften the edges and file a little on the top of the tip of the nail, rounding it off a bit. With all the hair clipping and filing it only takes me about 10 minutes per dog.

    My neighbors were noticing that my dogs' nails are never overgrown, inquired who I was using, and the cost. I told them that I dremel the nails every other Sunday afternoon and they were welcome to bring their dogs to my front porch when I'm out there doing my dogs. Since the minimum charge around here is $5 per dog at the pet stores, the neighbors usually pay me to do their dogs' nails. So my family ends up getting pizza most Sunday nights!

  20. #19
    Member bella's Mum's Avatar
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    Re: nail trimming

    is there a specific type of nail clipper you should use for a dog.
    i have been using toe nail clippers then taking my pup for a long "urban walk" to file them down. is this okay or is their a specific sort of clippers that should be used?
    Money will buy a pretty good dog, but it won't buy the wag of his tail.
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    Re: How to Cut your Dog's Nails

    hey guys! thanks for all of the comments about nail trimming! it really is helping. I have a german shepard-rote-husky mix and he yelps so loud when i even touch his paws let alone bring out the dreadful nail clippers. I feel like he would have anxiety attacks but now he's more calm not though because he loves his treats!

    thanks again!

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