How to Trim My Dog’s Nails By A Carmel Vet


With all the possible medical problems that exist for dogs, one question I hear a lot as a Carmel vet is:  “How do I trim my dog’s toe nails?”  In this department, not all dogs are alike.  Some dogs have white nails and will sit patiently while you handle each foot.  Other dogs have black nails and will squirm like a fish out of water just by touching their foot.

From bottom of nail curve apex, move slightly forward then angle ~45 degree towards the tip of the nail.

If you are going to try to trim the nails yourself, first you need 4 things:  1. Nail Trimmers (I recommend the side to side nail trimmers)  2. Someone to help you   3. Stop Bleed styptic Powder   4.  Peanut butter or some reward for being still

Other Carmel vets and groomers may do it differently, but here is what I recommend you try.  Place your dog up on an elevated surface like a table or countertop.  Have your helper cradle the dog’s head with one arm and hold the leg with the other.  You should slowly pick up the foot and part any hair if needed to see what you are doing.  Extend the toenail by pushing the toe pad back.  (Look at the attached picture)

Your dog’s toe nail has a slight curve to it naturally.  Start by placing the nail trimmers right at the apex of the nail at a 90 degree angle.  Then move the trimmers slightly towards the nail tip and angle the trimmers towards the tip to a 45 degree angle.  Now cut.

This technique should cut the nail without hitting the bleeding quick.  If this is too difficult, have your Carmel vet or groomer trim the nails for you.  Either way, make sure you always praise your dog with lots of love as well as treat for allowing you to trim their nails.  This will make next time even easier.  For more information on our Caring Hands, Compassionate Hearts click on this link to your Carmel vet.

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