They’re not alone. Many of our patients fear the nail clippers, experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety when receiving a nail trim.
Despite dogs’ feet being quite tough, they are packed with nerve endings and are therefore very sensitive. There is a blood vessel contained within the shell of the nail, known as the “quick”. Cutting the quick will cause pain and bleeding, a lot like if we were to clip our own nails too short, ouch!
First, identify the quick so you can see where to avoid (it will be the pink area). Next, aim to cut the nail at a 45 degree angle so it is level with the paw pad when the dog is standing. Don’t forget the dew claw, as these don’t touch the ground, they aren’t naturally worn down and can dig in to the skin if left to grow. Only clip a little at a time, so as not to go too far. Accidents do happen however, especially if the nail is dark and you cannot easily visualise the quick. If bleeding should occur, hold pressure on the nail with a cotton ball. Clotting will usually occur in a few minutes, but if you have cut deep into the quick and the blood is flowing rapidly, take your dog to the vet.
This may be due to a negative experience of nail clipping in the past. You can use treats and praise as positive reinforcement, making it a less scary situation for your dog.
If your dog is reacting with aggression, we recommend bringing them in to clinic for a Vet Nurse or Vet to do the trim safely, this may be done with the help of a muzzle, and we always aim to reduce stress as much as possible for our patients.The best case scenario is to get them used to having their paws touched right from puppy-hood, offering lots of praise and treats so that it becomes an enjoyable experience for them. You are welcome to bring your dog in to one of our clinics if you happen to be passing by, so our staff can give them treats and cuddles while touching the paws. This might help your dog be less afraid of coming in for a nail trim, and of course we love to see our furry friends any time! The illustration is from: www.goodvetandpetguide.com