Most dogs will be nervous about this procedure, so it’s important to get them relaxed beforehand. You’ll also want to find a way to gently restrain them in order to make sure that they don’t get hurt during the process. One of the best ways to do this is to lay them on a table and lean over your dog to hold it in place. You’ll be cutting the nails on the opposite side of where you’re at. You can repeat the procedure from the other side.
If your dog gets too nervous in this position, you might want to try laying them on their side and pinning them lightly with your arms and upper body while reaching over them. Smaller dogs or those who are used to the procedure might make things much easier on you.
You need to be careful while you’re trimming, though, cutting into the quick of the nail will cause bleeding and pain. Dogs with non-black nails can make this procedure a lot easier, as you’ll be able to see the blood vessel extending into the claw and you merely need to avoid cutting into it. There will be a pinkish area visible through the surrounding material that makes up the nail. The best way to avoid any problems is to make sure that you take off the excess material incrementally, in small pieces, rather than trying to lop off all of the excess in a single chunk.
When your dog has black nails, the procedure can seem a lot more intimidating since you won’t be able to easily visually identify where the bleeding will start. One of the recommended ways to go about this is to slowly cut back in small slivers until you see a softer “pulp” which means that you’re getting near to the quick. Stop cutting there.
One thing to be aware of here is that you’re doing your dog no favors by holding back when you’re trimming. A sure, swift closing of the levers is the best way to do it. You’ll be able to avoid crumbling and tearing issues this way. For guillotine-style trimmers, make sure the blade is sharp before you begin as a dull blade will greatly complicate things for both of you.
If your dog’s nails have truly gotten out of control, you’ll find that the quick can be quite extended. In this case, you’ll want to cut to within a couple millimeters of the quick, which will then cause it to recede.
The whole procedure can be a bit different with a dog nail grinder, but remember not to get too aggressive with the tool as they can certainly still cause bleeding and pain if you’re not careful. If you’re not using a grinder, it’s advisable to file your dog’s nails afterwards.
Keep styptic powder or cornstarch within arm’s reach while you’re trimming your dog’s nails. In the event that the worst happens, you’ll want to immediately apply compression while you ready the powder. The styptic powder will sting, so be prepared to hold your dog a bit firmly. Don’t panic, though, it’ll be alright and as long as you’re careful it shouldn’t happen at all. It’s always better to be prepared, though.
Make sure that you give your dog a treat between nails, this positive reinforcement will make it much easier for you the next time you’ll have to get cutting and can turn a stressful experience into one your dog looks forward to.