Dogs usually wear their nails naturally just by running around. However, some dogs don't or certain claws get too long because of the way they walk. Older dogs don't tend to move around quite as energetically as they used to and as a result their nails grow too long which means you may need to regularly trim them to a good length. Learning how to trim your dog's nails will not only make it a lot more comfortable for your pet, but not having to take them to a dog groomer would save you money too.
It's important to regularly check the condition of your dog's nails because if they do grow too long, it can make walking and running around painful for them. It can also put more pressure on ligaments and bones if they have to place their feet awkwardly on the ground due to any discomfort. You may find their nails flake off naturally and find little pieces on the carpet around the home. However, there are certain breeds like the Dachshund and the Basset Hound that need more when it comes to keeping their nails nicely trimmed and at the right length.
By far the best way of learning how to trim your dog's nails is to ask either a trained veterinary nurse or a professional dog groomer to show you how to do it safely without getting your pet too stressed or hurting them in the process. You also need to invest in good quality tools including the best nail clippers for dogs you can afford and a nail file. Nail trimmers need to be sturdy and it's a good idea to get used to how they work before attempting to use them on your pet.
It's really important that dogs are taught to have their paws and nails touched from a young age because otherwise it makes trimming them really hard. When dogs fidget you run the risk of trimming a nail too far back and causing it to bleed. However, if you've trained your dog to sit quietly while you inspect their feet, then trimming their nails when needed should not be such an ordeal either for you or your pooch.
It's far easier to get your dog to sit on a table when you trim their nails, and ideally it should be one you use to groom them on. This makes life a lot more comfortable because you don't have to bend down which often means you're at the wrong angle to do the job properly. A dog's nails need to be trimmed from underneath and never from the top downwards. You need to slide the opening of the dog trimmers over the tip of their nail always staying in the white/clear part when you trim them. Any further down and the colour will appear pinkish which means blood vessels are found in that part of the nail and if you cut into it you will make the nail bleed.
Often the biggest mistake you make is to hesitate because it gives your dog the chance to pull a paw back out of your grasp. It's far better to be confident and decisive when you clip a nail doing it in one go by squeezing the trimmer's handle while holding your pet's paw firmly to keep it steady. It's always a good idea to use a good quality nail file to smooth the edges of each nail you trim to avoid your pet snagging on anything as they walk along. Black or darker coloured nails are a lot harder to trim because it's virtually impossible to see where the wick starts which is why you have to be extra careful when you trim them. However, with this said if you keep darker coloured nails nicely trimmed back, then you should only have to take a little off the ends to keep them at the right length.
No matter how careful you are, you may find you trim a nail a little too far back and as a result it starts to bleed. Nails tend to bleed profusely which can be very frightening, but they soon stop and there is very little chance of a dog losing too much blood when this happens. However, you still have to act quickly and dab a bit of superglue on the end of the nail which will seal the tip off nicely and prevent any bacteria from getting in. If the bleeding just won't stop, you need to get your pet along to the vet for them to check out the nail and do the necessary to stem the bleeding.
Some dogs don't wear their nails down naturally as much as they should which means you need to either have them trimmed back by a vet or a professional dog groomer. However, you can learn to do this yourself which would save you a bit of money, but you need to be shown how to do it properly and safely to avoid trimming your dog's nails too far back. You also need to invest in good quality tools which includes the best nail trimmers you can afford along with a a sturdy nail file. When a dog's nails are kept at the right length, your dog will be a lot more comfortable on their feet.