There’s no point in buying one of our best dog nail clippers if you don’t know how to use them. They are products where we recommend not diving in without learning how to use them. We’ve prepared a short guide here on how to trim dog’s nails with clippers here but if you already know and just want to see which dog nail trimmers we recommend then by all mean skip to the reviews.
Getting the dog comfortable
Before even thinking about using dog clippers on their nails you need to get the dog comfortable with you holding their paws and teach them to be still and patient. Sedation is an option if you’re struggling.
As with any aspect of dog training you need to be consistent and regular with this endeavour and to give them a treat if they show the desired behaviour. Hold the dog’s paws and see how they behave, if they don’t try and take it away and happy with you handling it then praise them and perhaps give them a treat. If your dog seem to not like you holding their paws then first check to make sure there’s no health issue and second treat them while the paw is in your hand.
With luck, your dog will start to associate you holding the paw with treats and be content with you handling them. This will be essential for a stress free dog clipping session in the future believe us.
Choosing the right dog nail clippers
Making sure to choose the correct nail clipper and strategy is key. The biggest concern and factor to consider is how big the dog is – bigger dogs have longer and tougher nails and need stronger nail clippers to cut through the toenails. However, most of our recommendations here should suit any dog but we have made sure to highlight our most recommended clippers specifically for small or large dogs if you need something a bit specific.
Where to target
Unless you haven’t done any research into this already – you can’t simply grab a dog’s paw and then cut the nail down. Dog’s nails aren’t quite like a humans – they need to be cut correctly, gradually and to avoid the ‘quick’. If you’re not familiar with this word then hopefully you haven’t already started.
What is the dog nail quick
The dog nail quick is the exact reason why many become nervous with cutting dog’s nails with clippers in the first place. The quick is a vessel of blood which enters the nail, the quick also contains some nerves which means nipping them can cause pain and discomfort. If your dog has light coloured nails you can usually see the quick, but if your dog has dark nails (Jeff, would you believe has half and half) then that’s when it can become tricky.
It’s important to never cut too far in because you will surely catch the quick, this is why we recommend cutting a little bit off the nail on a regular basis and never big whole chunks.
Where to cut the dog’s nail
Now that you know about the quick it’s time to figure out the angle to cut the nail with the clippers. The key at this stage is to get the angle spot on and just take a little bit off as a starter for ten. Hold on to your dog’s paw firmly but gently, praising them for every successful nail cut.
We’ve provided an image here giving a bit of an indication of where to aim for.
Hopefully these images will be able to help you out, the key takeaways are to only cut a little bit of the nail off each time and to do it regularly so that the quick recedes. Trimming at a 45 degree angle is also recommended for the best chance to avoid the quick if your aim is off.
How much to cut?
Even if you’re a seasoned pro and your dog is as cool as a cucumber having his or her nails cut you should still only cut a small amount off and instead be trimming them on a regular basis. The image above should be enough of a guide on how much to cut.
What to do if you do cut the quick?
If you’ve cut the quick with your brand new dog nail clippers, your dog may or may not yelp to make it obvious, ours didn’t so we didn’t notice straight away. What will be the give away ever time is the appearance of blood, and depending on how much of the quick you’ve nicked it could potentially be a lot or it could be a little – either way we recommend to do the following:
- Don’t panic! If your dog isn’t alarmed then don’t show them that you are. If your dog is alarmed though then don’t make it worse by joining in. Remain calm, gather your thoughts and soothe your ailing pooch.
- Use styptic powder! Styptic powder can stop the bleeding almost instantly and provide some pain relief for your pooches poor nail.
- Powerful agents work to help stop bleeding immediately
- Don’t leave it too long before trying again! Your dog and even you may have lost confidence in the whole dog clipping endeavour but you shouldn’t leave it for too long before trying again. Restore confidence by bringing dog treats back into the mix and celebrate every successful cut like it was our first. Before long the whole bloody mess will have been forgotten about by you and your mutt.
Last update on 2021-04-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API