How to trim your pets nails

If your pet does not walk regularly on hard surfaces such as the footpath, they will need trimming 1-2 times a month. Otherwise, every 3-6 months should be fine.

INTRODUCTION

When trimming your pet’s nails at home, there are 3 strict requirements:

  1. A cooperative pet
  2. A motivated pet owner
  3. A pet owner who is confident to perform the task

Nail care is extremely important. Unhealthy, untrimmed nails can result in pain and discomfort. It's not uncommon for long nails to become caught in carpet, blankets or clothing, or grow into the footpad causing infection.

A dog's nail is made up of hard, dead keratin with a blood vessel (the ‘quick’) that runs through the centre. In light-coloured nails, the quick is visible. In dark-coloured nails, the quick is not visible. When trimming nails, always leave a couple of millimetres from the tip of the quick. In dark-coloured nails, you know when you are close to the quick by a darker circle that appears at the centre of the nail.

There are many types of nail clippers such as scissors, pliers, guillotine or grinders. It is important for you to find the tool that you and your pet are most comfortable with. If at all nervous about performing a nail trim, always seek veterinary attention.

STEP 1: ACCLIMATE YOUR PET TO PAW HANDLING

  • Start at an early age
  • Start by handling their paws and touching their nails and extending their toe
  • Do this for several days in a row every week
  • Follow with a treat reward and lots of praise

STEP 2: IDENTIFY THE QUICK

  • Secure the leg without extending it too far
  • Gently push down on the toe to extend the nail
  • In a clear nail, identify the quick by the pink area 
  • In a black nail, the quick cannot be seen
  • Follow with a treat reward and lots of praise

STEP 3: TRIM ONE NAIL EACH DAY

  • Trim a small amount leaving a few millimetres of the nail in front of the quick at 45-degree angle
  • In a black nail, trim a small amount at a time, looking for a small black dot within the cut nail. This dot indicates that you are close to the quick. Stop at this point
  • Follow with a treat reward and lots of praise
  • Only trim one nail per day for 10 days at the start and once acclimatised, trim all nails at once

STEP 4: STOP ANY BLEEDING

  • Grab a bar of soap and pack it into the bleeding nail
  • Bleeding will stop within a few minutes
  • Keeping the dog calm will help reduce the amount of bleeding