Being a dog owner, you’re already aware of how scary nail trimming can be for them. Not only is it one of the essential things about dog grooming, but it’s very critical for your dog’s health too.
When unchecked, long nails can impact your dog’s posture and mobility. Long nails put pressure on their paw pads and nail bed. Similarly, semi-trimmed nails can curl, crack, and even become infected, which can cause pain and severe injury.
There are many ways you can help make this process comfortable for your dog, and this is where we step in! We’re providing five ways you can help your dog not to feel scared of nail trimming sessions.
Let’s dive right into it, shall we?
Make Your Dog Feel Comfortable
The first step to start with is to make your dog feel comfortable. If your dog isn’t used to you touching their paws and nails, then it’s highly likely you’ll struggle with getting their nails trimmed.
However, you still have to trim their nails, and to get to that point; you’ll have to start with baby steps. Your furbaby needs lots of reassurance and encouragement from you (don’t forget the treats!).
So, start by just holding their paws first. If your dog gives you the green light, advance by touching between the nails and toes, both top and bottom.
You must be gentle when you’re moving their toes around. You shouldn’t enforce that handling their paws is terrible or that they’ll have a painful experience from it.
Once your furry friend gets used to you touching their paws and toes, then you can get started on the nail trimming!
Treats, Treats, and More Treats!
As we mentioned before, you’ll need lots of treats to make this nail trimming process easier for both you and your dog.
Reward them for the behavior you want and not for the one you don’t want. You have to be careful there. We’re aware this is obvious to a dog owner, but it’s often easier to resort to bribery and distractions when trying to get things done quickly.
Why Is This Important?
You must make sure you’re not giving your dog a treat if they move their paw, struggling, biting or growling away from you when you’re trimming their nails.
That’s because doing so may reinforce their behavior to move their paws away every time you try to trim. Reward them with treats if they’re being a total champ about you handling their paws and nails.
This lets your furry buddy know that you were looking to reward him for his good behavior when trying to trim their nails.
Are nail grinders good for dogs? Check out the link to find out more!
Clippers or Grinders?
Don’t hesitate to experiment with the grooming tools you’re going to use to trim your dog’s nails. Some dogs don’t like the sound of the “snap” the clipper makes. To them, it’s easily a terrifying thing to hear.
If your dog also has similar qualms about nail clippers, then it’s better to go for the grinder for quick and painless trimming. However, some dogs can’t tolerate a grinder’s vibration and are better suited to enduring their nails being cut with a clipper.
Whichever device your dog prefers, you have to decide on what your aim here is. Is it to get their nails shortened safely and quickly, teaching them to be comfortable with weird things, or maybe both?
Decide first and then carry on with it accordingly and always remember to be gentle and encouraging towards your furbaby.
Be Gentle, Take It Slow
When you’re starting to trim their nails, take it slow. The key is to establish trust between you and your dog. Once you’ve achieved that, continue with trimming just a small amount off the tips of their nails first.
Occasionally, you will quick a nail, it’s bound to happen once or twice, and that’s fine. Be as gentle as you can be during the nail trimming session, even if your dog is feeling hesitant and unsure. Don’t panic under any circumstances. (And, keep some styptic powder in your first aid kit, just in case!)
If you can’t get to trim all the nails or can’t get to the length you wanted to trim off, don’t force it. End the session and get back to it another day.
You can always trim them the next time. As time goes by, your dog will have also accepted the concept of you handling their paws and trimming their nails. Remind yourself to be gentle and not to lose your patience with your pup.
Finally, if you can’t seem to get anywhere with your dog with trimming their nails, then it’s time to seek help from professionals.
Professional groomers are trained to work with all personalities and sizes of pets for nail trims. Find a groomer that you’re comfortable with letting you handle your dog.
Let them know all about how your dog is terrified of getting their nails trimmed, and they will schedule a time to help work with them to fight their fears!
It also helps if you seek help from a dog trainer while you’re at it. They can help with building confidence in your dog and train them too. So, don’t hesitate to seek help from professionals because this is not easy work – and you could use all the help you get!
In conclusion, we’d like to say that nail trimming is a vital part of dog grooming, and worrying or stressing about it will only make it worse for you and your dog.
It also helps if you try to see this process through your dog’s eyes. They have to give you complete control of their paws, and there is a possibility you might injure them. All of it goes against their natural instincts.
It’s not so hard to understand why they are scared of it. Take your time to build the trust between you and your furry friend.
Spending a little time developing the bond you have can help you immensely and will make those nail trimming sessions easier.