How to easily trim your dog’s nails in a stress-free way
By: Adam Harris
Keeping your pet’s nails trimmed and tidy is a great way to keep a treasured member of your family safe and healthy, and if you’re going to do it at home it’s vital that you do it properly.
There are two basic ways you can do it, either with a pair of manual nail clippers or a rotary tool like a Dremel.
While the manual clipper is cheaper, they also tend to be a bit riskier. If they aren’t sharpened properly, they can splinter the nail; and if you aren’t paying attention, you can cut too much and injure your pet. A rotary tool like a Dremel also makes it easier to not just cut the nail but to smooth its end.
If you’re yet in the market to buy a Dremel, get one with variable speed. Those cost a little more, but they are a lot more versatile when using outside pet care. Running a Dremel at about three-quarters maximum power works best.
Calming your pet
The first step is to prepare your dog. If your dog is nervous or jumpy, it is might make sudden, unanticipated movements that end in injury.
Start by getting your dog used to you holding its individual toes. Maybe your pet already trusts you enough to do this. Maybe you need to slowly work at building that confidence. It’s a critical first step to make sure that your dog is relaxed in your care, and is used to the Dremel tool running.
Start with individual toes
Just as you’d trim nails with a manual clipper by grasping the toe, you’ll want to do that when using the Dremel. This is something that if your dog isn’t entirely comfortable around you might require a little bit of work. Work slowly and patiently until your dog is relaxed and calm when you hold an individual toe.
A good first place to start is with the front paws. That way, your dog has a better idea that it is you that has touched it in a place that it is not normally comfortable being touched. It’s also better to do a bit of practice on the front paws because the back paws are the ones that really need to be smoothed nicely.
Turn it on and start
If you have a variable-speed Dremel, lock in a grinding drum smaller than the curve at the bottom of your dog’s nails. Turn it on to about three-quarters power. If the sudden noise startles your dog, turn it off and then turn it back on and gradually increase power. Remember, you want your pet to be perfectly comfortable with what you’re doing.
Start trimming your dog’s on the front. You are really starting a process that will last several trimmings. Be prepared, on the first attempt, to only be able to smooth down the nail a little bit. Gradually, your dog should become more comfortable with it, and the nail’s quick should retreat a little. That means on subsequent trimmings, you can trim a little more off each time.
Trimming your dog’s nails with a Dremel rotary tool is a safe, effective way to groom your pet. It’s best to use a variable-speed tool with a grinding bit smaller than the inside curve of your dog’s nail.
Your first task is to make sure that your dog is calm and relaxed. Start with the front paws, because this will help your dog feel most comfortable. Do just a little bit to start, and build on that based on your dog’s comfort level. Eventually, with patience, you should be able to trim your dog’s whole nails for its comfort and safety.