How to cut your dog’s claws: 7 simple rules

dog's claws

Some owners limit grooming to regular brushing and bathing, ear cleaning and flea control. Unfortunately, they forget about cutting their dog’s claws. In this article, we will talk about the need to regularly shorten the claws of four-legged pets, and how to best do it.

About dog’s claws

First, let’s find out why a dog needs claws at all. Firstly, it is a kind of means of protecting the animal, since, if necessary, in addition to teeth, sharp claws can also be used. Secondly, the claws provide the animal’s balance and traction with the surface when walking or running. Thirdly, with the help of claws, dogs dig the ground if they want to get something out of there. And some breeds of dogs can even climb a tree, clinging to the bark with their claws.

By the way, an interesting answer to the question of how many claws a dog has, since this number can vary from 16 to 22, depending on the number of fingers on the front and hind legs. But most often dogs have 18 claws (a total of 10 claws on the front legs and 8 on the hind legs).

dog's claws

To properly cut a dog’s claws, you need to know their structure. The animal’s claw has a hard outer keratin membrane and an inner soft layer, consisting of a large number of blood vessels. You need to cut off the dog’s claws very carefully, and if you still touch the blood vessels, it will not do without pain and bleeding (plus the animal will be scared and offended by the owner).

Why cut a dog’s claws

Now is the time to find out if dogs are clipped? Yes, doggie claws need to be regularly shortened using special tools, and such a procedure should be carried out not only for the sake of beauty. Here are the main reasons why clipping your dog’s claws is important:

1- Excessively long claws make the dog’s toes spread apart, which leads to deformity of the foot and lameness. Simply put, the dog is completely uncomfortable to walk with strong long nails;

2-Strongly regrown dog’s claws can grow into the skin, which will certainly lead to inflammation and severe pain when moving;

3-It is not uncommon for a dog to break a claw or even tore it out by catching itself on a carpet or upholstery;

4-While playing, the animal can seriously injure its owner or other pet with its long claws. In addition, the pet can tear the furniture and clothes of its owner to shreds.

What to have on hand while clipping your dog’s claws

dog's claws

To trim your dog’s claws at home, you need to have everything you need on hand in advance:

Claw cutter. These are special scissors that are used to trim the claws of animals. Dogs of small breeds are usually sheared with claws with guillotine blades, and for large pets with large and very hard claws, claws with sickle blades are better suited. The most durable and easy-to-use claws made of stainless steel with rubberized handles;

File. It is not enough to cut; it is also advisable to file the claws of the dog with a regular stainless steel file or an electric file-grinder.

Antiseptic and cotton pads. Hydrogen peroxide or Chlorhexidine (or other agents) can come in handy if a blood vessel is affected during a claw cutting;

Hemostatic agents. They will also be needed if blood appears during the cutting process. In the vetaptek you can buy special hemostatic preparations for animals in the form of powder;

A sheet (or a towel depending on the size of the dog). Alas, it is not so uncommon for a dog to prevent its claws from being cut. Therefore, it will have to be immobilized by wrapping it in fabric;

Assistant. It may be needed if the dog is afraid of a claw cutting;

Delicacy. Experts advise distracting your pet from excitement with a spoonful of peanut butter (instead of butter, you can use pieces of cheese or boiled liver, meat cookies, etc.).

How to cut your dog’s claws

Cutting a dog’s claws is not so difficult if you follow these simple rules:

1- Experts recommend that the first clipping of the dog’s claws should be carried out in a grooming salon or veterinary clinic, where a specialist will teach the owner how to cut. However, if there is no opportunity to visit a salon or clinic, before the first claw cutting, you should at least watch a video on the Web, where veterinarians or experienced breeders clearly demonstrate how to properly cut the nails of dogs;

2-The best time to trim is when the animal is as relaxed as possible. It is advisable to carry out the procedure after an active walk and a hearty dinner, when the dog gets sleepy;

3-The calmer and more benevolent the owner behaves, the faster and more efficiently clipping the nails will take place. Shouts, pulling paws and beatings should not be allowed under any circumstances;

4-During grooming, the owner either puts the dog on his lap, or on the floor, or on the table, lifting the animal’s paw up. If the pet resists, you will have to resort to fixing the limbs with a sheet or towel. It will be more convenient if the helper restrains the dog and the owner trims the claws;

dog's claws

5-The animal’s paw is fixed between the thumb and forefinger, and then the skin on the limb is pulled back so that the claw is exposed. Having determined the length to be cut, the claw is shortened with a quick movement. After that, sanding is carried out with a file. Finishing actions – praise and treats;

6-If the claws of the animal are light, then the blood vessels are visible well, they are easy not to touch. Worse if the claws are dark. In such a situation, only a few millimeters should be cut so as not to harm the animal. The remaining length is best removed with a file. But if a vessel was damaged during clipping, you need to use antiseptic and hemostatic drugs. It is better not to trim the remaining claws on the day of injury;

7-Pets are taught to claw cutting gradually. For example, 3-4 days before the first procedure, while playing, you need to touch the dog’s paws and claws. 2 days before the claw cutting, the doggie should be allowed to get acquainted with the tools (give it a sniff and examine the nail cutter and file). 1 day before the claw cutting, you need to gently touch the claws with tools. On day “x” you need to very carefully trim the claw on one finger, and then praise the pet. The next day, you can shorten all the remaining claws if the dog tolerates the trimming calmly. If the animal is agitated, it is better to cut 1-2 claws a day.

How often do you need to trim your dog’s claws?

How often should a dog’s clawsbe cut? There can be no definite answer here, since each dog has its own speed of growth of claws. In addition, much depends on the degree of activity of the animal (during long walks, the claws partially grind against the asphalt and other hard surfaces), and on its weight, and on the metabolic rate.

dog's claws

Therefore, the owner will have to look from time to time at how much the dog’s “manicure” has grown (by the way, the clatter of the grown claws on the floor is a clear signal that it is time to pick up the claw cutter). But if we talk about the frequency of clipping the nails approximately, then small dogs usually carry out the procedure 1 time in 1.5-2 weeks, and large pets 1 time per month or less.

The cost of cutting nails in a salon or veterinary clinic

Owners who, for whatever reason, cannot, or do not want, or are afraid to take care of their pets on their own, should know how much it costs to trim a dog’s nails in a grooming salon or veterinary clinic. And here a lot will depend on the size of the pet, because the smaller the animal, the cheaper the service will cost.

So, dogs of small breeds (Chihuahua, Toy Terrier, Pekingese, etc.) will have their claws shortened in a salon or clinic for 5 to 15 Dollars. For medium-sized dogs (German boxer, Siberian husky, bull terrier, etc.), the procedure will cost from 15 to 20 Dollars. Well, large dogs (Newfoundland, Caucasian and Central Asian shepherd dogs, etc.) will trim their claws for 25-50 Dollars.

By the way, in some establishments they evaluate not only the clipping of your dog’s claws itself, but also the fixation of the animal (you may need to pay an additional 5-10 Dollars for it).