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How to Clip Your Canine’s Claws

August 1 2015

For your dog, nail trims aren’t just about aesthetics. If nails get too long or sharp, they can get caught on things or fracture painfully. Excessively long nails can even affect a dog’s gait. Here, your Cherry Hill, NJ veterinary professional tells you about the proper procedure for clipping your dog’s claws.

Gather Supplies

First of all, gather all the supplies you’ll need to perform a successful nail trim. You’ll need a pair of canine-specific claw trimmers, a styptic powder or pencil to stem blood flow if you clip too far down a nail, and a few dog treats.

Acclimate Dog to Trims

If your dog isn’t already used to nail trimming, you’ll want to get him acclimated to the sensations he’ll feel. At first, simply sit down with your dog and handle the paws a bit. Try touching the clippers to your dog’s claws without actually clipping them. Give your dog a few treats during these sessions to help him feel comfortable. With any luck, over time your dog will come to realize that nail trims don’t have to be associated with negativity.

Trim the Nails

Once your dog is used to the sensation of nail trims, you’re ready to begin. Be sure to perform the trim in a quiet, well-lit place that is free of distractions.

Pick a nail to start on, then hold out your dog’s toe to expose the claw. With even pressure, squeeze the nail clippers around the tip of your dog’s nail to clip it off. If your dog doesn’t seem agitated, try another nail. Work your way around to all the nails, offering your dog treats throughout the process for a job well done.

If your dog is anxious about nail clippings, try doing it in stages; you don’t need to clip all the nails at once. Some dogs feel more comfortable if short sessions are spread over a period of days.

If You Trim Too Far

If you trim too far down the nail, you may cut the quick, which is the blood vessel that leads into each of your dog’s nails. Bleeding will result; it’s here that your styptic powder or pencil comes into play. Use them to stop the bleeding, and let your veterinarian know if the blood flow hasn’t stopped within a few minutes.

Consult your Cherry Hill, NJ veterinarian for more advice on trimming your canine companion’s nails.

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