You should know that trimming your dog’s nails is a very important operation, but, fortunately, equally simple. It is essential that the dog’s nails always remain short, to prevent the animal from having difficulty walking or getting injured.

The first time you can ask your vet to show you how to trim your dog’s nails. But here are some reminders.

First, you need to choose the tool you feel most comfortable with. There are several types of dog nail trimmers available on the market, including scissors, guillotine tools, and clippers.

When you are ready, ask your dog to sit down, or lie on its side. Then, take a paw and expose the nail of a finger by gently pressing with your index finger on the dog’s fingertip and with your thumb on the skin above the nail. At this point, proceed by cutting the tip of the nail, parallel to the base. The ideal length is at ground level. Care must be taken to avoid the light pink area just above, where the blood vessels flow. Should you inadvertently cause bleeding, dab with a sterile gauze soaked in cold water and, if necessary, apply a haemostatic powder recommended by your veterinarian.

After cutting the first nail, proceed in the same way with all the other toes, without forgetting the spurs, which are located a little higher, on the inner side of the paw.

How to trim your dog's nail

When is it good to trim your dog’s nails?

There is no specific interval for cutting dogs’ nails, because the frequency with which they are consumed varies greatly from one subject to another, also based on how much and where they walk.

A dog’s nails should be trimmed when they become too long. It is easy to recognise a dog with long nails because, walking on the floor of the house, it generates a typical clicking sound. Among other things, the dog’s long nails have a tendency to curl towards the fingertips, and even penetrate them, making walking very painful for the dog.

1 How to trim your dog's nail

Can dogs’ nails be ground?

Yes, it is possible to grind your dog’s nails to shorten them. How to grind your dog’s nails?

Hold its finger by exposing the nail and smooth the edges carefully, and always gently. In pet shops you can also find specific and cheap electric grinders, which allow you to shorten the dog’s nails thanks to the action of special smoothing stones.

How to trim nails on a dog that doesn’t want to?

Nail trimming should not be a traumatic or stressful event for the dog. Starting as a puppy certainly helps, but it is also possible for an adult dog to get used to accepting having its nails cut. To do this, you must proceed in stages:

  • First of all, you have to make sure that the dog associates the manipulation of the paw with tasty morsels.
  • Then you move on to manipulate the paw offering your dog the treats only just after you have stopped, as a reward for staying still.
  • Finally, you proceed with the cutting of one or two nails, rewarding the dog if it remains calm.

Federica Pirrone, Mariangela Albertini, Patrizia Piotti researchers at UNIMI Veterinaria