Grooming is necessary for your puppy and this includes nail clipping. As your puppy grows, so does its nails. At their tender age, the sharp nails are a threat to their relatively tender skin and can even cause harm to you, the owner.
In addition, overgrown nails may sometimes curl and get into the paw pad. Your puppy’s claws risk splitting when they get stuck on the carpet. These can be painful to the pup and expensive to you as a vet may have to be involved. Your puppy may also difficulty standing or walking properly if the problem extends to the foot.
Getting Ready for Trimming
You need to familiarize your puppy with the nail trimming process before you can finally do it. This will ensure success in the process and avoid accidents. You can do this by regularly moving your hand under your puppy’s paws. Furthermore, allow it to sniff what you will use on the nails like the clippers.
It may take a while before the puppy is comfortable with you restraining it for a moment to hold their paws. Most importantly, give treats to reward the puppy for good behavior and for allowing you to groom it. Communicate with your puppy before and while working on the nails to assure it that all is well.
Correct Grooming Equipment
Once you are sure that your puppy is ready for nail cutting, make sure you have what you need. These include a nail trimmer or clippers and a grinder or a file. You may also need anti-bleed cure should there be an accident during the process.
1. A nail trimmer or clippers
Consider the quality and efficiency of the clippers as they play the biggest role in the nail cutting task. A wrong choice of nail trimmers can increase the chances of claw injury and paw infections.
The guillotine trimmers are an affordable example. You insert the tip of your puppy’s nail into the oval shape and press gently. A blade comes out and cuts your puppy’s nail. Unfortunately, this cutter does not give a proper view of the small toenail yet it is designed for small-sized dogs and puppies.
The other type of clipper is the scissor cutter which looks like a pair of scissors with curved edges to accommodate the toenails. This seems like a better option although more suitable for big dogs as compared to the guillotine. You can use a cat nail clipper or human nail cutter for smaller puppies.
2. A file or a grinder
A grinder can also be used in place of the clippers. This works well when your puppy fails to calm down or is not used to clipping. Grinders are more unlikely to cause injury. On the other hand, their buzzing and vibrating can scare your animal and make the process last longer.
A grinder can also work to make the nail edges smooth after cutting as it has a sandpaper surface. Alternatively, you can choose between the metallic and glass nail files.
3. Anti-bleed Remedy
The dog’s nail has blood vessels and nerves on it called the quick which is nearest to the nail end and may accidentally be clipped. When this happens, the nail bleeds slightly. Consider that these kinds of regrettable incidences have chances of occurring during the process and have something in place to solve the issue.
Styptic powder or Styptic pencil, available in pet stores, often comes in handy to stop bleeding. You need to apply it on your puppy’s nail then hold slightly. It is advisable to postpone nail cutting in case of accidents. Cornstarch can also be used as a home solution to help stop bleeding.
The Cutting Process
Depending on your puppy’s size, you can carry it on your lap or hold it under the crook of your arm. You can also ask someone to hold the puppy and ensure it calms down. Talk to your puppy during the process. Praise it and use reassuring words. Ensure that you have enough treats to reinforce positive behavior.
Take the paw in your hand and inspect the nails. After pushing the hair back to expose the nails, check the color of the nails. Clear nails have the blood vessels visible making them simpler to clip.
If your puppy has dark nails, look under each of them to see where the curve starts. Be careful to cut at the point where the nail begins to curve.
Give the paw a little squeeze to separate your puppy’s toes. Now hold a toe and use the clippers carefully. Trim the tip once then check to confirm that the nail is ok and not bleeding.
After fruitfully cutting a nail, make the edges smooth as they can easily stick on the carpet or scratch and lead to injury. Take the nail file and gently rub on the nail. The glass nail files seem to work better than the metallic ones.
If you prefer the grinder, be sure your puppy is comfortable around it. You can let it listen to the buzzing sound first before use. Gently and carefully place it on the nail and let it grind off the rough edges. Again, reward your puppy each time you finish working on a nail.
You need to be patient and extremely careful so that future grooming procedures are not negatively affected by accidents. As you know, dogs have a good memory and a positive one is better for both of you. In case you clip the quick, calm your puppy and give it treats.
You can trim a nail a day or all at once. Patience is really essential in this process as your puppy can get scared and pull away. Since you could also need the help of a family member or friend to hold the pup, let them know well in advance. The other option is taking your puppy to a pet groomer or veterinarian.
You need to start the nail trimming training as early as possible in their life. Pets that spend almost all their time indoors require frequent nail clipping as compared to their outdoor counterparts. When your puppy runs outside, the nails grind against the rough surfaces and get naturally trimmed.