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How to Trim Dog Nails That Are Overgrown in 8 Simple Steps


dog nails too long

Every 2 weeks or so you’re facing the demanding task of clipping your dog’s long nails. How to trim dog nails that are overgrown, is a necessary skill you must master. You won’t like it but you have to do it.

The nail cutting session can become an event full of drama and anxiety for both of you. An event that almost every dog hates but again you have to do it because if you won’t this would lead to harmful consequences to your dog.

Consequences of Having Overgrown Toenails

How to Trim Dog Nails That Are Overgrown in 8 Simple Steps |

I know, it happens to all of us, no matter how good your intentions are. Trying to remember to trim your dog’s nails every week or two is a thing easier said than done.

You may let your puppy’s toenails to reach a stage where they look like Halloween monster claws. Your cute puppy’s nails now become more like daggers than claws.

but IS this the whole issue here, it hurts you when your dog pokes you?

Of course NOT

Long toenails can cause your four-legged friend a lot of pain and I’m sure you don’t want that. We’ll be talking later about the consequences of overgrown nails and how they can be really painful for your dog. 

The pain of overgrown dog nails

How to Trim Dog Nails That Are Overgrown in 8 Simple Steps |

Long nails could transform a healthy dog paw to splayed feet with reducing their traction. Hurting the dog’s tendons is also another thing long nail could cause if it is left uncut for a long time.

Dogs nails are not like cats used as a weapon. dogs’ claws are designed to grip the ground when they speed up their running and also, to help them in changing their direction around the corners.

Outdoors dogs don’t have a problem with their nails because they run on a lot of hard surfaces that guarantee natural wear down for their nails.

unlike our dogs who don’t get much time with such surfaces. Our dogs walk on the house floor, vinyl floor, or carpets most of the time and those surfaces alone won’t wear down the dogs’ nails enough.

The way the dog carries his weight changes when his nails are long. The more the nails are overgrown, the flatten his bone will become. The metacarpal bone along with the Phalanx bones will widen the angles between them with every step the dog will take.

The pressure on these bones will lead to joints stress and the dog’s legs will look s flat-footed. This is not the only problem with changing the dog’s bone alignment, all the bones in the dog’s skeleton are connected down to the spine.

Leaving your dog’s nails too long will act as high- heels shoes.

so, imagine your dog wearing heels all his life!

How Painful Are Overgrown Dog Nails? 

How to Trim Dog Nails That Are Overgrown in 8 Simple Steps |

Very painful, most of the dogs with long nails feel pain, but unfortunately, Dogs can’t really communicate that they are in pain to us and when they do, we don’t really get how painful it is. Even one overgrown dog’s nail can cause them a lot of pain.  

Some signs of pain you should be looking for are whimpering on unusual occasions, biting, or licking a specific paw or nail this should be an indicator that there is something wrong.

Sometimes your dog will show his pain in being less active, acts aggressively if anyone tried to touch his paw, or being uncertain to step on a certain paw. 

Even simple walks can become very painful as when a dog’s toenail contacts the ground too hard, the surface pushes the nail back into the nail bed putting the pressure on toe joints and forces the toe to twist to the side .. talking about this alone gives me goosebumps how do you think your dog feels?

OK, that was the “Why” now for the “How”. Here is a simple how-to guide for you to trim your dog’s nail that is overgrown.

How to Trim Dog Nails That Are Overgrown

woman with a dog in the garden. woman is preparing to trim dog nails that are over grown

Set Up the session

Choose a room that is well-lit or you can do it outside using the sunlight

Try to have your dog standstill. If you can’t, try to ask for the help of a friend or, and I don’t like that, you can use a leash.

Be prepared

Make sure all the tools you’re going to need are ready and sterilized

Get a good quality of nail clippers. My recommendation is the Dudi Dog Nail Clippers from Amazon.

How to Trim Dog Nails That Are Overgrown in 8 Simple Steps |How to Trim Dog Nails That Are Overgrown in 8 Simple Steps |

Please, don’t cheapen out or use kitchen scissors for your furry friend’s sake.

Spend some extra money for quality efficient trimmers.

Be careful while buying as puppies will need different nail trimmers than adult dogs. So check all the selections you can find in the store and choose what will work best for your dog.

Ease Your Dog into The Process.

holding your dog's paw to release the tension he might have before trying to trim his nails that are over grown.

Ease your dog into the process by having him get used to the sensation of having his toes touched

You don’t want your dog to freak out when you start clipping its toes with a sharp tool on your hand that may hurt your friend at any moment.

Try to relax them into the process by repetitive caressing to their paws and making your dog familiar with the sound of the trimmer before you actually start.

Now after you prepared everything it’s time for the real work to be done.

Every marathon starts with a tiny step.

Clipping dog nails to illustrate how to cut dog nails that are overgrown
credit: dogtime.com

Start with the very tip of the nail, clip it gently, that way your dog will get used to the sensation and will slightly feel comfortable for the next steps. Very gently hold its paws with your hand. Massage it, caress it, make sure your dog is enjoying it. start with the toe palm outwards to the claws.

It’s better for your dog to relax as the next step would be stressful.

Hold The Nail in Question, Start The Action

credit: Pet Health Network

Now for the real work. Pick the nail you’re going to clip, hold the toe between your thumb and index finger, apply pressure but not too much or you will freak it out but just enough to hold it still.

The dog may begin to reflect some hostility towards you, may even bark at you. But you have to be very firm. Use your commanding words such as “no” and “stay”, try to reflect some authority, that’s all for his sake.

Get moving to the next

After you successfully clipped your first toenail, things will get much easier from now on.

Apply what you did in the previous step and get busy trimming. It shouldn’t talk long. it’s better to make your cuts small and quick starting from the tip inwards.

Careful with the quick

How to Trim Dog Nails That Are Overgrown in 8 Simple Steps |

This is one of the many reasons that dogs hate trimming sessions.

If not handled properly cutting the quick can lead to your puppy’s nails bleeding and scare them for life.

The quick is the vein that feeds the claw. It can be identified by its pink color. when cutting the nails irresponsibly too far you may cut the quick too and believe me you don’t want that so please, be careful.

For more information on how to handle a bleeding toe.

Congratulations, Now Give Them Treats

Now after you finished the clipping process, Treat your dog with a tasty treat, he has endured so much. Reward him with extensive playtime for his good behavior.

How to Trim Dog Nails That Are Overgrown in 8 Simple Steps |

Who’s a Good Boy?

you are, yes you are.

Make a trimming schedule to avoid any problems in the future and stay on it

How to trim dog nails that are overgrown is a necessary skill that you should learn for your fluffy angel’s sake. It may be an unpleasant experience for you but a necessary one.

Common Mistakes of Dog Owners To Avoid

Some dog owners – especially new ones, don’t really understand the importance of a simple dog nail clip. They are not told that it’s as important to clip dog’s nails as it is to brush their hair and give them baths. Clipping a dog’s nails should be part of the regular grooming routine you carry out on a regular basis. 

This is just part of the modern life of living with a dog. Nail Trimming is an important part of the grooming process, and this indeed a modern concept. In the olden days, dogs didn’t need their nails trimmed and dog owners didn’t need to worry about clipping dog nails. There was nothing as nail clips for dogs and you didn’t need dog nail clippers. 

This was because dogs would wear off their nails by running on rocky and hard surfaces. This is no longer the case. Our dogs don’t spend their days running after cattle or sheep, and instead spend it with us in the comfort of our homes where their nails do not get worn off, and just like that, you have overgrown dog nails. 

You could pay someone to trim and groom your dog but this session is terrifying enough for your fluffy pal. What do think he would feel if a stranger does it? it would be less terrifying for him if you do it yourself.

 It also gives you a good chance to bond with your dog. Yes, you can use the time of trimming your dog’s nails and turn it into bonding time. They will trust you more and build a stronger and deeper connection with you.

What to do if you cut the Quick? 

How to Trim Dog Nails That Are Overgrown in 8 Simple Steps |

Nail Trimming is not easy for beginners and clipping overgrown nails increases the risks you will actually cut the overgrown nails too short and cut the quick. Cutting the quick is one of the worst things that can happen when clipping a dog’s nails.  

The quick is the part of your dog’s nail that contains live blood vessels, and cutting it in a dog nail leads to bleeding and pain. If this happens while you clip dog nails, you need to know what to do. 

Here are the steps to follow: 

  1. Stay Calm, Don’t Panic 
  2. Use Styptic Powder to stop the bleeding 
    1. You can either directly dip your dog’s nails into the powder or use an applicator such as a q-tip or a swap. 
    2. Make sure you have styptic powder close by before you start clipping your dog’s nails, and make sure you have it close by in every nail trimming session. 
  3. Alternatively, use cornstarch, flour, baking soda, or a bar of soap to stop the bleeding of your dog’s nails. 
  4. Keep the dog rested after getting their nails trimmed, and keep the nail clippers away from them. 
  5. Don’t touch your dog’s nail and ask your family to steer away from their nail. Your dog will be very sensitive and the injured nail will cause them much pain. 

How Often Can I trim my dogs’ overgrown nails? 

The process of nail trimming must be done every 3 to 4 weeks, and if you regularly check on your dog’s nails – such as every week, there will not be overgrown dog nails to worry about. Take a look at your dog’s paws every week and take a look at every nail to make sure that it hasn’t become overgrown. 

Even one overgrown nail can be painful, so please make sure that there is not even a single nail that you miss. 

You should also listen carefully to the sound they make while walking. If you hear a “clanking” noise as if your dog is running while wearing hooves, then it’s time to clip their nails. 

So what the weirdest experience you had with your dog while trimming, tell us in the comment section.

feel free to check out my other articles on The best-wirehaired dogs and How to get mats out of dog hair, Enjoy,

Have a nice day and Read you next time.

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