How to cut a dog's nails?

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  • Should you cut a dog's nails? When to cut a dog's nails? How to cut a dog's nails?

    Caring for your dog is essential. This not only involves regular brushing, baths, but also the cutting of his claws.


    The answer is… it depends! But what exactly does it depend on? Several factors may come into play:

    • The dog's way of life: if the dog does not go out or has few outdoor activities, these claws do not wear enough and grow too quickly compared to their wear.
    • The health of the dog: certain pathologies such as canine leishmaniasis can lead to excessive claw growth, so it is necessary to cut them very often. Problems of osteoarthritis, difficult movements, etc. can limit the wear of the claws and lead to the need for more frequent cutting.
    • Dog damage: if the dog tends to scratch while playing a little abruptly or to scratch and damage rugs, carpets... cutting the claws will limit the breakage.


    For the claws resting on the ground, they must be cut as soon as the finger seems to no longer have a normal balance, that is to say that it seems to have difficulty resting on the ground, that it is twisted on one side …for ergots on the other hand, because they are never in contact with the ground, their growth must be monitored regularly.

    The right frequency for clipping a dog's nails is once a month . But some dogs may grow faster or slower and other dogs will wear them out faster – digging, scratching the hallway carpet…. It is therefore necessary to monitor the growth of the claws regularly and find the cutting rhythm most suited to your animal.


    Above all, it must be understood that a dog must be accustomed, educated in acts of hygiene - cleaning the ears, shampooing, brushing the teeth - and the cutting of the claws is no exception to the rule. The sooner the puppy is accustomed to it, the easier the act will be to perform.

    Use a claw cutter for dogs because it is a product suitable for dog claws, do not use scissors, nail clippers for humans...

    Before cutting a dog's nails, you have to get him used to it

    • Handle the paws, lift them, maintain them… repeat the operation regularly so that the puppy gets used to it by increasing the handling time. When the puppy lets it go, remember to reward his patience with a dog treats dog treats.
    • Present the clipper so that the dog realizes that the object does not present a danger.

    To use the right tool , refer to the advice: Nail clippers for dogs, which one to choose?

    During the cut

    Ideally the manipulation should be done with the help of a second person, in case the animal moves, decides to go away… There is no ideal position to cut the claws; the important thing is that you and your dog are comfortable and that neither is too constrained. The dog can be installed in a sitting, lying or even standing position on its hind legs, on the ground or in a raised position; once again the key words are comfort and patience.

    For the first cuts (and perhaps for the following ones too), it will be necessary to proceed one leg at a time - it can therefore take a little time - and it is not a question of starting just before leaving for work or before a medical appointment. Take your time and the time your pet needs, he will thank you.

    • Take the paw of the dog you want to work on and part the hairs so you can see the claw.
    • Visualize the living part of the rest of the claw, it will be necessary to cut before this pink/red part. This step may be a little more difficult for dogs with black claws.
    • Grab the nail clipper with the other hand and place the cutting area as close as possible to the claw.
    • If you are afraid to cut cleanly the first time, start by shortening the claw a few millimeters until you have a sufficiently short claw.

    There is no point in cutting the claw as close as possible to the pulp, especially if these are your first cuts, handling the claw as close as possible to the living area can be embarrassing or even a little painful.

    So that the dog associates nail clipping as little as possible with something unpleasant, or even that he asks for it, do not forget to congratulate him, to reward him with a candy, a treat or even a caress. There is no age for compliments!

    Watch out for the bleeding!

    If the nail is cut too short, the vein ensuring its vascularization risks being severed and therefore bleeding. Do not panic, the dog is not likely to bleed out with a claw, on the other hand it is a little painful.

    If bleeding occurs, use a anti-bleeding for dogs or a compress and hydrogen peroxide to disinfect and stop the bleeding. To protect the small vessel and prevent the dog from staining its environment, it is possible to make a small dressing loosely around the injured finger - this should not remain in place for more than 1 hour and the compress should only wear a small stain of blood. In the event of abnormal bleeding in quantity or duration, consult your attending veterinarian.

    If you are afraid to start or if a bad handling has cooled you down a bit, do not hesitate to seek advice from a groomer or veterinary assistant who will show you how to perform this act simply and without danger.

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