Nail trimming is an important part of a regular grooming routine. If your dog’s nails get too long, they can break, which is painful and can result in an infection. Long nails also cause an irregular gait that leads to skeletal damage. Despite its importance, many people don’t like to trim their dog’s nails. When you get a new puppy, teaching him/her that nail day is FUN is important.
Here is a classic nail day and how to start your puppy off on the right foot.
First, always make sure your puppy has had a good run before doing nails. A tired puppy is more likely to relax while doing his/her nails. Also, have some great extra special treats that you can feed your puppy/dog while trimming his nails.
Soft treats like Zukes are great because they are tasty, break apart easily, and are easy to eat for any sized dog. Click on the bag and it will take you to Amazon Affiliate where I am an affiliate.
Second, you need to have a good pair of nail trimmers or a Dremel. I like using a Dremel tool to smooth the edges.
Here is an example of a great set of cutters – I prefer this type as they are easy for me to hold in my hand. Click on clipper image to take you to Amazon Affiliate. They have these as well as many other varieties.
And a Dremel tool that I LOVE! The battery lasts a long time, the Dremel is relatively quite and it is easy to use.
Now you are all set to trim those nails.
Get all your equipment together before you start: trimmer, Dremel, and treats. I prefer to sit on the floor and have my puppy between my legs with his feet up in the air.
- Feed your puppy a treat.
- While he is eating the treat, trim a nail. Do not worry about how short the nail is, just trim a bit so he gets use to the feeling. Note: see the photo for the angle to cut the nail.
- Trim one nail at a time and give a treat each time before you trim.
- If your puppy is remaining still, repeat the above with the Dremel and lightly touch each nail as you feed your puppy between each repetition.
NOTE: if your puppy becomes wiggly, trim one foot each day until your puppy is compliant and still.
If you have multiple dogs, gather the same tools and treats before starting to trim any nails. Having multiple dogs can be of benefit while teaching nail trimming.
- Start by letting your puppy watch your other dogs get their nails cut.
- Feed treats only to the dog that is getting his/her nails cut. This is also a great opportunity to reward the dog getting his feet done.
- If your puppy tries to get in the way or steal the treats, gently push him aside and continue your work.
- Once it is time to do your puppy’s nails, give him/her a treat and cut the nail. Give a treat and cut a next nail and so on until all the nails are done.
- If your puppy struggles or shows signs of stress, start off with one nail on each foot or only one foot a day.
- All in all, the process is simple and will condition your puppy to LOVE nail day.
- Once your puppy excepts nail cutting, gradually wean off feeding treats for every toe to every other toe and then each foot.
Introduce the Dremel once your puppy is accepting of his nails getting cut. Dremel your dog’s nails the same way as you did the nail trimming, with a treat then doing a nail.
Nails need to be trimmed once a week.
Doing nails can be an easy job for you and actually become very rewarding for your puppy/dog. Take your time and associate the nail trimming with something good that your puppy/dog enjoys.