While not all dogs require a frequent trip to the local groomer, every dog needs a good nail clipping now and then. If you are new to trimming your dog’s nails or you are simply seeking the best way to clip them without causing undue stress, these tips may be just what you need to turn that pawdecure into a calming experience for all. From DIY tools to finding help from nearby grooming services, we’ll show you how to choose the right option for both your canine companion and your budget.

Before You Trim Your Dog’s Nails?
As soon as you adopt your furry friend, it’s time to begin slowly testing your dog’s likes, dislikes, and anxiety triggers. Dogs who experience stress or pain when you play with their paws, for example, may not be ready for nail trimming. Try to clip your dog’s nails after your dog has had a couple of weeks to settle into his or her new daily routine and has been exercised, fed, and allowed a decent amount of potty time. This way, he or she will be calmer and more trusting of you. If your dog continues to act uncomfortable when you handle his or her paws, ask your veterinarian about the behavior as there may be an underlying medical condition.

If Your Dog Shows Signs of Anxiety or Fear
?Help your dog feel calmer during grooming by coating a toy with beef broth and placing it in front of the dog while you handle his or her paws. Then, offer lots of praise and a training treat after each time you touch his or her paws without any fear or anxious response. Do this for a few days or even a week as needed until he or she responds calmly and happily when it’s time to clip your dog’s nails.

Next, introduce the grooming tool by touching it to your dog’s nails and following that action with lots of praise and a treat whenever the dog is calm during the activity. If your dog shows signs of being anxious or fearful, stop for the day and go back to handling the paws without a grooming tool until he or she is more comfortable again. Once your dog is comfortable with you handling his or her paws, slowly re-introduce the grooming tool with a tap. After a week of being at ease with the tap, try clipping one nail each day and offering lots of praise and a treat. Eventually, your dog will learn that nail time equals praise and treat time!

Buy the Right Tools for Your Dog
There is a wide range of tools available for clipping your dog’s nails. The truth is your dog’s personality may determine the best tool for the job. Anxious dogs may prefer low-key clippers that do not make loud noises. There are all kinds of nail clippers available for purchase, including some that can show you how much to clip. Safety grinders that are made for dogs are great for reducing scratches on hardwoods. But, they are also helpful in preventing or repairing splintering of the nail that can result from a nail clipping. Many owners and groomers prefer a combination of the two techniques by clipping first and then smoothing out the edges with a grinder.

Extend the Nail to Search for the Quick?
To view the nail easier, gently place your thumb on the pad of a toe and push up and back on the pad while pushing your forefinger forward. It is important to see the nail clearly before clipping to avoid hitting the quick, which is the light-colored curved area of the nail that contains blood vessels. Therefore, if your dog has long hair, be sure to push the hair back from the nail before you begin.

How to Clip or Grind the Nail?
If you have elected to use a clipper, avoid clipping the light-colored quick and set the tool to cut straight across the tip of the nail. Be conservative if you have reservations as you can cut more if needed. For grinders, begin by following the bottom of the nail back and forth slowly while smoothing out any rough edges. If in doubt, stop! The last thing you want to do is startle or hurt your dog. It is always better to stop and restart later when you have better lighting.

Now That You’re a Nail Clipping Expert?
At this point, you are ready to clip your dog’s nails like a pro and you may be ready to search for a companion dog. Sophie’s Circle is both a wonderful place to adopt your lovable rescues and a nonprofit organization that uses donations to help feed dogs-in-need within the local community with their dog food pantry. Search for your next dog on our adoption page that is updated frequently and check out the ways you can help us make a difference by reading our donation and volunteer pages.