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All About Nail Trimming

A fairly common theme among pet dog owners is the challenge of trimming their dogs' nails. Nail trimming is a crucial part of maintaining a healthy and happy dog as well as preventing long nails from scratching up floors and furniture.

Keeping your dog's nails short is important for many reasons, but the most important is actually for your dog's overall health. When our dog's nails become too long and overgrown, they can actually effect and alter the ways our dogs stand, walk, and run.

Imagine wearing shoes that are too small for your feet. Now imagine that you had to wear those shoes all day long. Or maybe you bought a cute pair of heels, but they give you blisters after you wear them all evening while out with friends.

When we wear footwear that is uncomfortable or give us blisters, you'll notice that you start walking differently to compensate for the discomfort. Luckily for us, we can just take our shoes off at the end of the day. Our dogs don't have that option.

Our dogs rely on us to provide them with everything from healthy food, to exercise, as well as health and wellness needs. Our dogs live in our home and aren't allowed to do many of the natural behaviors that would normally wear down their nails in the wild such as digging, scratching, and running or walking long distances in search of food.

As dogs have evolved to spend the vast majority of their lives in our homes with our carpeted or smooth wood floors, their nails don't have the same abrasive activities that would naturally file them down.

That's where we as owners and caretakers come in!

It is our responsibility to maintain our dog's nails throughout their lives. Many owners rely on their annual vet visit to get their nails trimmed, or the occasional trip to the groomers. However, our dogs' nails should actually be trimmed at least every two weeks.

Most of our clients rely on the professionals to trim their dogs' nails because it can definitely be a challenging task at first.

Tips For Easier Nail Trims

1. Frequency!

The first time you try to cut your dog's nails could be very challenging. This is to be expected, especially if you've never cut your dog's nails before. Don't worry, it gets easier! Just taking the time to cut your dog's nails on a regular schedule will make the process become more familiar and less stressful over time.

With that being said, don't worry, we have some tips to make even the first time a little less stressful!

2. Use High Value Food!

Using some really tasty treats or food can help make the whole experience worth it for your pup! I like to reserve a really special doggy ice cream that my dog only gets when he gets his nails done. While he may not like have his nails trimmed, he sure does get excited for that special ice cream treat!

Tips for Using Food: When you are using food for nails trims there are two field of thought for this. The first method is by using the food as a distraction while you cut your dog's nails. For some dogs this may work really well. However, for some dogs it may only work for the first nail or two until they realize what is going on and may even become averse to the special treat you offer them.

The other method is by giving them some of their special treat after each nail is cut. This way the dog begins to learn that the only way they get to have some of their favorite treat is by allowing at least one of their nails to be trimmed.

3. Prevent Your Dog's Escape

Some dogs may try to run and hide the moment they see the nail trimmers come out. Using a leash or a small enclosed area for your dog's nail trims will prevent them from escaping to the far reaches of your home in the middle of trimming their nails.

4. Let Your Dog Choose Their Body Position

I personally have 6 dogs, so it usually takes a while to finish everyone's nail trims in the same night. The interesting thing is that each dog prefers to have their nails trimmed in a different way. One dog likes to remain standing, and the location doesn't matter as long as he can have his face in his favorite doggy ice cream throughout the process. My other dog likes to lie on the couch and take a nap while she has her nails done. My small dogs prefer to be cradled in my arms while I trim their nails. And one basically needs a big bear-hug to stand calmly for her trim while I pick up each foot as if she was a horse.

If your dog continues to squirm and fight, try changing up the position that your dog is in and encourage them to either lie down, roll over, or stand up. Some dogs prefer to keep their feet on the ground while you trim their nails but don't like having their feet picked up. If that is what they prefer, try to work with it!

5. Keep The Clipper Out of Sight