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Trim Your Dog’s Nails Like A Pro

A day in the life of my Instagram messages ….

“How do you keep Ward’s nails so short?” “Doesn’t it make him bleed if you cut them that short?” “My dog is terrible to get her nails done, how is Ward so calm?!”

To answer … I trim Ward’s nails every other day, sometimes once per day when they’re growing faster than usual. ( I supplement my dogs with biotin, so they grow crazy fast. ) No, thanks to my educated trimming, his quicks have receded back, which is why I am able to get so short of a nail. No bleeding here. Ward went through weeks of conditioning as a puppy and still does “continuing ed” when it comes to nail trimming tools.

Nail trimming doesn’t have to be a nightmare. It should NOT be a bloody mess, and your dog should actually look forward to nail trims. Ward comes running from the other room when he hears my Dremel turn on.

Before you start, you need the best tools. My essentials are …

When you purchase your Dremel, it will come with a sandpaper bit, which is totally fine and usable. However, it gets HOT, which is uncomfortable and even painful to dogs, and can reverse all the conditioning you did to make your dog enjoy nail clipping in the first place. To avoid this, either you be uber careful, or you purchase a diamond bit.

There is a Diamagroove knockoff on Amazon, which is good – I have it. BUT, if you want the absolute best, you’ll splurge on the Diamagroove. Click here to read my full review on it.

Although I keep my dog’s nails short enough to never have to use clippers, I do keep a few Millers Forge clippers on hand. These are absolutely the ONLY clippers I’d use on a dog, with a surprising $5 price tag. They clip smoother and cleaner than any other brand that I’ve used, and that makes a world of difference to a dog – especially one that’s already uncomfortable with the process to begin with. These are the best clippers for taking micro slivers off – and at only $5 – there’s no reason for you NOT to be using these.

As for HOW to actually clip your dog’s nails, I have no advice other than to join the group, Nail Maintenance for Dogs on Facebook. It’s a wonderfully helpful tool to learn how to read the nail, (for all my fellow black nail friends!) trim the nail, and if you have a dog uncomfortable with trimming – it walks you through how to reverse those reactions. This group is how I learned to do nails!

Once you’ve been accepted to the group, there are pages and pages of units for you to read. Like I said above, it starts you from the very beginning at the conditioning process and works you up to actually trimming the nails.

If you don’t know why keeping nails as short as possible is so important, take a look at this graphic. Long nails are extremely painful to a dog, they alter their conformation and the way they move, which causes physical problems and joint injuries down the road. Dogs with nails that touch the floor are over 2.5 times more likely to be injured than those who don’t.

Correct foot anatomy on the left, foot anatomy of a dog with nails too long on the right.

So, if you aren’t trimming your dog’s nails frequently, once a week or more – it’s time for you to start! Get the tools, read the units, and save some money by doing it yourself! Your dog and his body will be appreciative, and it’ll be a better experience for everyone! As always, feel free to shoot me a message if you have any questions!

One Comment

  • McKenzie

    Thank you for this. My GSP is 2yo and bears his teeth at me when I try to cut one nail. I’m going to join the group and make a deep dive into this.

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