This is a guest post from Ann Staub of Pawsitively Pets. Ann is a former Veterinary Technician of 5 years. She graduated college as a Vet Tech in 2007 and has worked with all kinds of animals including cats, dogs, birds, small mammals, and reptiles. Now, she’s a professional pet blogger sharing her adventures and knowledge at her blog, Pawsitively Pets.
A nail trim can be a frightening experience for many dogs. If your dog absolutely hates nail trims, don’t feel bad. It’s quite common for dogs to hate nail trims. Still, it’s important to remember that keeping your dog’s nails trimmed is important for their health! When a dog’s nails grow too long, they can curl under and begin to grow into the paw pad. This is extremely painful and makes it difficult to walk.
To help both of you get through those scary nail trims, here are a few tips and tricks to try out.
Use the Right Tools
First and foremost, you are going to need a proper tool for the job. The most common type of dog nail trimmers used by veterinarians are the scissor-style trimmers (pictured above) and dremels. Make sure you purchase a high quality trimmer. Dull blades can be painful and cause negative nail trimming experiences. If you’d like to use a dremel with your dog, just remember that they can be loud and may take some time for your dog to adjust to.
Play With Your Dog’s Feet
Many dogs do not like having their feet touched. You can help your dog get used to this by gently playing with their feet regularly and rewarding them for good behavior with treats. Ideally, you should start this training at a young age if possible.
Exercise Your Dog
Before a nail trim, take your dog for a long walk or play fetch in the yard. The goal here is to “wear them out” so they are nice and tired. If they’ve already exhausted their energy in other healthy ways, they may not have enough left to put up much of a fuss during a nail trim.
Use a Calming Aid to Help Relieve Stress
Nail trims can cause anxiety for some dogs. It’s scary and if they’ve had a traumatic experience with a nail trim in the past, it can be stressful. By using a calming aid, you may be able to help them feel more relaxed and calm when it’s time for a pedicure.
Take It Slow
Don’t try to rush things. If you’re only able to trim one or two nails a day, that’s fine. Just keep working at it and remember to reward your dog’s good behavior with treats and praise. Before long, your dog will begin to associate nail trim time as something that involves food and love.
Hire a Professional
If you aren’t able to safely trim your dog’s nails at home, have a professional do it. Veterinarians and groomers both offer nail trims as an inexpensive service to their clients. However, just because you let the professionals handle your dog’s nail trim does not mean that you can’t follow the nail trim tricks and tips above to help the process run smoothly.