Cutting nails can be traumatic (for both you and Fido) because puppies are wriggly and those nails are soooo small.
But don't worry, the straightforward guidelines and easy-to-follow tips and advice on this page will make it much easier and less stressful for both of you!
Like humans, puppies and dogs need to have their nails kept short so that they don't break or tear. This is something that usually only needs to be done once every 3 or 4 weeks.
If your pup is active and spends a lot of time outside, goes for regular walks or runs on concrete or asphalt etc., his nails will wear down naturally, and nail-trimming won't need to be done so often.
However, if your little guy spends all his time indoors on carpeted floors, or being carried around, then cutting those little puppy nails is most likely going to be a regular chore - so getting comfortable with doing it is important.
It's worth getting your pup used to this particular aspect of dog grooming at an early age. Start right away, when he's 7 or 8 weeks old, and it'll make the whole thing a lot easier.
Most puppies and dog's don't like having their paws touched, but nail-trimming requires that you hold those tiny feet and toes - so it's important to get him comfortable with this.
If you make a habit of holding his paws gently, one at a time, when you're playing with him then Fido won't find it such a strange experience.
Make sure you have the right equipment! You need a good pair of nail trimmers (there are many available on the market, the guillotine kind work well. If your puppy is a toy, or small breed you can use human nail clippers too).
If you should cut the 'quick' the part that supplies blood to the nail, it will bleed (sometimes quite a bit) and it's important to have something on hand to stop that bleeding.
Styptic powders or pencils are readily available and are a good choice, they work very well but can cause a little discomfort.
You might also want to get an 'assistant' to give you a hand for the first time or two. Keeping those little paws still is easier when there's an extra pair of hands!
Hold your pup's paw gently and trim just the very tip of the nail, one at a time.... that way you won't risk cutting into the painful 'quick'. Be slow and patient.
The photo shows exactly how to do this.
If your little one has clear or light colored nails you'll be able to see the pink line of the quick and it'll be fairly easy to avoid cutting into it.
If his nails are black it's a bit more tricky, in that case aim to cut just below where the nail starts to curve and you'll be fine.
Talk to him gently as you work on his feet so he feels comfortable. It's best not to force the issue too much, your goal is to get Fido to like, or at least tolerate, this procedure.
When it's done, give him lots of praise and a treat - maybe even a short playtime.
If you do happen to nick the quick, don't panic.. it looks worse than it is.
Your puppy will squeal because it will hurt but it's not an emergency.
Just use the styptic powder or pencil to stop the bleeding and give him lots of cuddles and reassurance.
You might want to leave the rest of the nails for later on, or the next day though as he'll be extra jumpy for a little while and you don't want to risk hurting him twice.
Resco Deluxe Original Dog Nail Trimmer with Handle Grips
Make cutting your pups' nails a bit less nerve-wracking by using these nail clippers. Excellent quality. Patented smooth cutting action for your dogs' comfort, and padded handles for yours.
Made in the US from high carbon steel - prevents the nails from splitting or fraying. Full manufacturers' warranty.
Available in Small, Medium, Large & Jumbo.
Kwik-Stop Styptic Powder 1.5 Ounce
If you should happen to accidentally cut the quick when trimming your puppy's nails, this styptic powder will stop the bleeding quickly.
It also works on minor cuts.
Apply with a cotton pad.
The powder works better than gel as it stays put once on the affected area.
Oster 78129-600 Gentle Paws Cordless Nail Trimmer
A motorized, hand-held nail file which wears down the nail rather than cuts it. Some puppies and dogs are afraid of the noise and vibration, so you'll need to be patient while Fido gets used to it.
Be careful if your puppy is long-haired as the hair between the toes can get wound around the dremel's head - not good!
There are tons of great tools and products that make bathing and grooming your puppy a whole lot easier. Check out this page to see some of the best... Dog Grooming Aids
If you find that it's too stressful for you to trim your pet's nails, you can always take him to the groomers to have it done - or ask your vet to do it at a routine appointment.
But honestly, it's not too difficult - and the first time is the most nerve-wracking!
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