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Safely Trimming Dog's Nails

I have 3 dogs and it can become very expensive having their nails clipped. How can I learn to do it safely?

By Char from Edgewood, MD

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January 11, 20100 found this helpful

Here is a great how-to page. One thing you need to be certain of is having a very sharp set of trimmers. I prefer the scissor type. Millers Forge makes a great set - the ones with the red handle are adequate for most dogs.

If they are touchy about having their nails done, you will need to go slowly in working with them to stay calm during nail trimming. With a new dog, we start by spending time "playing" with their feet while they lay next to us or in our lap. We massage the feet and separate each digit like you would as you trim. If they are afraid of the site of the trimmers themselves, then you can get them used to the trimmers in the same way. Just hold them in your hand as you cuddle. Once ok with the site of them, 'pretend' to clip a nail by moving the trimmers right next to their nails. Eventually you will trim just the tip of the nails, etc. I know it sounds like a lot of work but I think it is easier on the dogs and ultimately far less work for you than fighting them each time to get trimmed. Best wishes!

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January 11, 20100 found this helpful

I got this suggestion from my vet and have used it on every dog I've had since. Use a Dremel tool. It will take a few tries for the dogs to get used to the sound and the vibrations, so start out on low, then as they get used to it go to high.

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It is so much easier, and so very much safer than clippers. And it leaves the nails smooth instead of splintery. Plus it's easier to judge when to quit before hitting the quick, even on dogs (like mine) who have black nails.
My dogs are so used to it that they just lay down and go to sleep while I do their nails.

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January 12, 20100 found this helpful

I have a dog (Dana) with ONE white nail, the rest are black. I am terrifiedto trim her nails after I nipped her quick once, and of course it bled. I have read many books and articles on the web how it's so easy to stop the bleeding with corn starch or quick stop.

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What bothers me is that it's mentioned so matter-of-factly, like it's painless. So now I put off doing her nails. Which I know is just as bad (or even worse) then taking the chance and cutting them, because I know that over grown nails hurt their paws when they walk and they split. When I do cut them I take off just a smidge, not enough to make any difference. There has to be a sure fire way to cut black nails without having to worry about hurting her.

A drimmel sounds like a good idea. but she is so afraid of loud noises and her nails are too long that the friction would cause too much heat before I would notice. I have had my fingers burnt when I used to get acrylic nails. They would use a drimmel to rough up the surface of the nail and It hurt. any alternative ideas? Please?

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In case you are wondering what breed she is, she's a Pug/English Bulldog. yeah, I know. She looks more like a boxer/Pit. I have to carry her papers with me when I walk her. So many times I've come home only to have the by-law officer either approach me on our walk or come to my door shortly after, to question her breed.

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January 13, 20100 found this helpful

We have a big dog who practically had to be muzzled every time her nails were done at the vet or the groomer--she hated it so much.

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In line with everyone mentioning the Dremel tool--there is that As Seen on TV product you can find in nearly every drugstore, or Target, Kmart or Wal-Mart--called Pedi Paws.

This is basically a dremel tool with a guard cap on it that helps you to line up the dog's nail ( and also catches the nail shavings).

Yeah, it's noisy, but if you turn it on a few times and let the dog inspect it before even attempting to do the nails, most dogs will get used to the new "toy".

We've had no drama since using this; think we paid no more than 12-14 dollars for it and it has been well worth the tiny investment.

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January 22, 20110 found this helpful

I wish I could trim my dogs nails myself too but even putting a mussle on him he still squirms so bad I can't handle him. He gets violent. The pet store doesn't seem to have a problem; they are calmer I guess but it still takes 2 people. My dog does not like his back feet touched or massaged.

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July 18, 20110 found this helpful

I got this suggestion from my vet and have used it on every dog I've had since. Use a Dremel tool. It will take a few tries for the dogs to get used to the sound and the vibrations, so start out on low, then as they get used to it go to high. It is so much easier, and so very much safer than clippers. And it leaves the nails smooth instead of splintery. Plus it's easier to judge when to quit before hitting the quick, even on dogs (like mine) who have black nails. My dogs are so used to it that they just lay down and go to sleep while I do their nails.

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