It’s that time again…  your dog’s nails are long and you can hear the clickety-clack on the hard wood floors.   You grab your trusty dog nail trimmers and move toward your pup.   Your eyes meet… and the fight is on!  Twisting and biting and fighting!   Does it have to be like this every time?   Here’s some tips for how to make trimming your dog’s nails bearable for both of you!

First things first, the why? Could we just ignore the tap, tap, tapping on hardwood? No, long nails can affect your dog’s posture and joints. The frequency of nail trimming needed will depend alot on how and where your dog exercises. A dog that walks along streets and sidewalks will naturally file down their nails from the cement hitting the nail repeatedly. A dog that has a much more sedentary lifestyle or just does backyard exercise in grass will need more frequent nail cuts. Usually a monthly trim is necessary for most breeds

So as you can see from the chart the best way to attack it is at a 45 degree angle vs a straight cut across the nail. This helps you avoid the “quick” of the nail. The quick is the blood supply to the nail and when you accidentally cut into it… there will be blood! And sometimes lots of it!

The quick can be seen as a pink area if your dog has white nails. It is nearly impossible to see in a dog with black nails. Pro tip: alot of mixes and even purebreeds may have one nail come out white despite all the other nails being black. Some even have multiple white nails. Use these nails as your guide for the black ones. No white ones? Go slow and work off little pieces or the “tip” until you are satisfied.

The best way to get the nails done is to put the dog in the appropriate position or hold to move fast and efficiently through the nails. If there is one mistake I see owner’s make most it’s that they give the pup power and control over the situation. If you do that your dog will always fight and pull back against you.

So just like in this picture stand behind your dog so he can’t back up and out and over the top of him so you have control over struggling and wiggling. Then go paw by paw, nail by nail! For the other side just flip them around but stay in the same position behind and over them. Don’t reach over and try to cut nails you can’t clearly see, move the dog to the best position for you.

So go forth with this information and try to cut some nails when your pup is ready. Obviously other good tips include things like staying calm (don’t ratchet up your frustration if they do fight some, it will only make them fight more), try treats if they enjoy food as a reward, and if you have two people someone can pet them or tap them on the head to distract them from what’s going on. With a little practice cutting your puppy’s nails should be a literal 5 minute chore. You can do this! Nail giving your dog a nail trim!