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Tip on Nail Trimming Dogs

By: Dr. Debra Primovic

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Dogs' nails can get very long and eventually get caught on something, causing a painful torn nail. While trimming nails is a painless and simple process, it takes practice and patience to master the skill. Two important factors are knowing where to trim and having the right tools. Have your veterinarian show you how to do it the first time.

If you are ready to trim, using a nail trimmer for pets, cut the nail below the quick at a 45-degree angle, with the cutting end of the nail clipper toward the end of the nail. In dogs with dark nails, make several small nips with the clippers instead of one larger one. Trim very thin slices off the end of the nail until you see a black dot appear towards the center when you look at it head on. This is the start of the quick that you want to avoid. Trim nails so that when the animal steps down, nails do not touch the floor.

Another option to a traditional nail trimmer is the new "nail grinder" or rotary tool. This device is basically like a dremeltool that grinds your dogs nail to its desired length. It is easy and fast. The amount you take off the nail is similar to the above.

When using the nail grinder – make sure you introduce it to your dog slowly. Pet him with it and let him get used to it. Then turn it on and give him a massage with it. Introduce it slowly and when he does well – give him positive reinforcement or a treat.


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