Even a dog occasionally needs a pedicure. If the claws are too long, they will not have the necessary grip on slippery surfaces. On top of that, long dog claws can painfully grow in and prevent the dog from walking.
But when are the claws too long? As a rule of thumb: if the claws touch the ground when the dog is standing upright, they should be trimmed. This can be the case more often with a dog that only walks on soft surfaces or spends most of its time on the sofa. In city dogs that regularly walk on the hard, asphalted ground, the claws usually wear out by themselves, and there is no need to use claw clippers.
Claw care accessories
There are special claw scissors and claw clippers in the pet trade that are well-suited for shortening dog claws. Under no circumstances should dog owners use household scissors, standard nail scissors, or nail clippers, as these have a smooth cut surface and squeeze the claw more than it cuts it. Special claw clippers or scissors have a curved cutting surface and are tailored to the size of the dog’s paw.
For dogs that are very afraid of scissors, pincers, or tongs, an electric claw grinder is recommended as an alternative. With a claw grinder, the risk of injury is lower, but the whole procedure also takes more time. Likewise, the noise and vibrations of the device may be uncomfortable for some dogs.
Getting used to the claw care
Ideally, dogs should be used to groom their paws and claws while they are still puppies. If the dog is not used to clipping its claws, it is advisable to start with gentle paw massages. Only when the dog feels comfortable with the touch, voluntarily gives its paw, and keeps still, should you dare to touch the claws. For the first time, trimming a claw or two a day and immediately following the procedure with treats, praise, and favorite toys is enough.
Cut claws – that’s how it works
A dog should be relaxed and calm when clipping its claws. A long walk or extensive ball games provide the necessary balance for the subsequent claw care. A second person can be useful in holding and calming the four-legged friend. In addition to the cutting device of your choice, you should of course have some treats ready and ensure good light. A styptic powder can be helpful in case of injuries.
Cutting dog claws is a tricky business and requires some practice. The dog claw is made of a horn, but in contrast to the human nail, it is mostly covered with nerves and has a good blood supply. Therefore, the risk of injury is greater. Before you do it yourself, you can have a veterinarian or a dog salon show you the technique.
It is important to only shorten the claws layer by layer – millimeter by millimeter. The cutting direction should be from top to bottom – according to the natural curvature of the claw. It is only shortened to just before the blood-perfused area of the claw. This area is usually dark or pink in color.
What to do in case of injuries
If the claw is cut too deep and a blood vessel is injured, you should stop the procedure immediately and stay calm. Dog claws can bleed profusely from deep cuts and can also cause pain. A styptic powder that is applied to the injured claw tip with a little pressure can help with minor injuries. If the bleeding continues for several minutes, the claw is more severely injured or torn, but you should consult a veterinarian.
Anyone who does not trust the right technique or is generally afraid of injuring the dog when cutting its claws should contact a specialist. Both at the vet and in the dog grooming salon you can have your claws trimmed by a professional.