How to clip dog claws

When dogs live in the wild their claws naturally stay short due to all of the wear and tear that they get moving over different textures of ground. However, our pet dogs can’t always keep their claws short enough for comfort. This is because many of our dogs live indoors with us where the floors are soft and carpeted.

Left unsupervised a dogs claws can become extremely long and painful, even curling in on themselves and digging into the soft pads of the dogs paws.

As their claws become uncomfortably long they are unable to help themselves, or explain what the problem is to their owners. Some dogs begin a cycle of chewing their paws out of frustration or because they recognise that they are having trouble in this area but don’t know how to fix it themselves.

If your own dogs claws need clipping you may decide to do this yourself. This may be because your dog is fearful of visiting a veterinarian. Or it may be because the cost of having a professional carry out the task is a little too steep for you.

Some dogs are happy to have their claws clipped, while others are afraid and so struggle, or worse nibble the hand which tries to help them. If you have never carried out this procedure on your dog, reserve a little caution to ascertain their reaction and to respond in the best possible way to suit you and your dog.

It is easiest to have two of you to do this, but it is still possible if you are alone and just takes some practice. To instill confidence in your dog be gentle, but firm at the same time, using positive movements and handling his or her paws in a positive manner.

It is best, where possible, to get your dog to lay on his or her back and be belly up towards you, rather than laying the other way around. If you dog is small enough then you can hold him or her in your arms like a baby.

When a dog displays fearful behaviour, and there is the possibility of being bitten, you may be wise to apply a muzzle to your dog to prevent any mishap.

As you look at the claws you will notice that there is a line running down the center of each one. This is the nerve ending which has in it a blood supply. If you accidentally cut one of these it will be painful for your dog and difficult to stop the bleeding. The fastest way though, to prevent blood flow is to use a very soft bar of soap. Carefully push the soap onto the bleeding claw and it should stop pretty quickly compared to applying powder or dabbing it with cotton wool.

The sort of clippers that you use should be ones which are designed especially for cutting dogs claws. Clippers which are designed for humans are not a good idea. They are rarely tough enough and are the wrong shape for claws. You can purchase the correct type of clippers from a veterinary surgery or from a pet store, and it is well worth doing so.

Before you cut your dogs claws hold his or her paw firmly so that there is no movement and less chance of a mistake being made. Cut across the claw, just once, minding not to clip into the nerve, but have your soft soap ready just in-case.

Once you have done this a few times your dog will get used to the procedure and will know what to expect, and so hopefully will be easier to handle. To make it a pleasant experience for him or her though, do offer a tasty treat as compensation for going through the ordeal. This way they will associate having a treat with having their claws clipped.

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