Some dogs will run from you when they see the dreaded nail clippers come out! Some dogs are just not fussed at all about anyone clipping their nails. If your dog is of the latter attitude then your job will be a breeze, however for those dogs which run away you will most likely need some assistance to keep the dog still. By training your puppy from the start for this part of the grooming he will not be bothered. However, if the job gets all too hard then it’s best to get a professional groomer or veterinary person to do the job. But for those of you who are willing to give it a go then here’s the deal.
Two types of nail clippers can be used for clipping your dog’s nails - guillotine style clipper or the scissor type clipper. The scissor clipper comes in different sizes – small, medium and large. Either type is just as good. I am used to the scissor type clipper and that is my preference. It’s best to invest in a good quality pair rather than a cheap pair – they will give a cleaner cut and will last longer.
Nail clipping is important for several reasons. If the dog’s nails are left too long it can cause discomfort while walking and can actually cause damage to the dog’s paw and leg which can lead to all sorts of problems. The dewclaws are the nails to look out for – they can be the forgotten ones. The dewclaw is the one further up the side of the leg. Some dogs have them on the front legs only, while some dogs have dewclaws on the back legs also. Then again, your dog may have had all dewclaws removed as a young pup so you won’t need to worry. But you must be aware whether your dog has them and check whether they need clipping on a regular basis along with the main nails. If the dewclaws are left to grow they can grow into the side pad and cause infection plus soreness. The most obvious reason for clipping the nails is to keep them blunt so that your dog will be less likely to scratch people or furniture and plus to prevent them doing damage to themselves.
You may find that clipping his/her nails is not required as the dog does enough walking and running on hard surfaces that the nails wear down naturally themselves, in which case you just need to keep an eye on the dewclaws if he/she has any. Some dogs just never grow long nails and therefore clipping is not required.
So now you are ready to start. Hold the dog’s leg and paw as steady as possible in one hand. If your dog has clear nails and you can see the pink vein running through the middle then just trim to below that pink bit. The general rule of thumb is that the nails should line up with the underpad pretty much. If you look at where you have just cut you will see whether the middle is live vein or not. Some dogs have black nails which are difficult to judge where the vein finishes. With these dogs you can tell by looking from the underneath of the nail and you will see the excess nail protrudes from the thicker bit. In this case I would be a little more careful and by trimming your dog’s nail a little at a time until you will start to see the live bit in the centre of the nail where you have just cut. If by chance you do happen to cut too short and the nail starts to bleed styptic powder will stop the bleeding. If you don’t have any styptic powder then cornflour should do the same trick so try that instead.
For clipping the dewclaws you will need to hold the dog’s paw so that you can ease the nail outwards a little with your finger to get a better angle. Clipping these nails is as per the other nails. Clipping your dog’s nails is not that difficult – training him/her to get used to it is the key.