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How to Safely Trim Your Dog’s Nails 

How to Safely Trim Your Dog’s Nails 

If you have a doodle or retriever (or another long-haired dog breed where matting is an issue), then investing in regular grooming is an important part of your pup’s care. While going to the groomer’s is great, there are some grooming activities that you can manage at home—nail trimming is one of them. Here’s an overview of why trimming your dog’s nails is important and how to do it in a way that’s effective and pain-free for them.

Why Do I Need to Trim My Dog’s Nails?

Nail trimming is an essential part of dog grooming. If nails are too long, they risk getting caught and torn off—something that can be very painful for a dog. In addition to avoiding an injury such as this, long nails may make it harder for your dog to comfortably walk around. For those who are concerned about their nice floors, long nails may also scratch wood and other soft surfaces. Nails that are too long can also chip or break. 

How to Safely Trim Your Dog’s Nails

Fortunately, trimming your dog’s nails is something that you can safely and comfortably do at home in between visiting the groomer. Here are some tips for nail trimming:

  • Get your pup comfortable. Effective nail trimming starts with getting your pup comfortable with what’s happening. Let them smell and investigate the trimmers, give them a treat, and squeeze the clippers so that they make a clicking sound (without actually clipping anything yet) to familiarize your pup with the sound. 
  • Start small. Clipping can be intimidating for both you and your pup. The best way to start the nail trimming process is to start small. Begin by trimming just a small tip from your puppy’s front paw. Make sure you reward your dog for letting you do this. If your pup seems comfortable, repeat with more nails.
  • Focus only on the tips of the nails. When you and your pup are both comfortable with the idea of nail trimming, you can actually do a full trim. To do this, hold your pup’s paw firmly in your hand and make sure that any fur is out of the way. Do not clip past the curve of the nail; focus only on the tip. If you cut past the curve of the nail, you risk causing pain and drawing blood.

Learn from a Pro

If you’re still not comfortable trimming your dog’s nails at home on your own, you can always ask the groomer to show you a trick or two! Practicing while a professional is watching can be helpful. 

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