Does your dog hate nail trims?

If your dog hates getting his or her nails trimmed, there is hope! If you have a puppy, get his or her nails trimmed regularly, and have puppy massage time when you pet your dog’s feet, ears, head, back, tail, being sure to gently squeeze the areas as well. This will get your puppy used to being touched, and will help out with future vet visits as well.

If you have an adolescent or adult dog who hates getting nail trims, you can use a very effective strategy called desensitization. Desensitization is the process of gradually adjusting your dog to the uncomfortable situation until the situation is no longer uncomfortable.

Depending on just how uncomfortable your dog is, you can start in one of several places with this.

  • The first one is to clip just a couple of your dog’s nails at a time. Clip 2-3 nails every 2-3 days, or even every other day until all of your dog’s nails are clipped.
  • If more than one nail at a time is too much, go for one nail at a time, every couple days.
  • If that is too much, then distract your dog with a treat that they can take little bites from or put a frozen jar of baby food in front of your dog’s face to distract him or her while you clip a nail or two.
  • For some dogs, it’s the clip of the nail trimmer that freaks them out, work on desensitizing your dog to the sounds of the clippers. Get some treats, and click the clippers, then give your dog a treat. Do this a few times over the course of a few days until your dog looks to you for a treat when he or she hears the click.

Start at what your dog can tolerate, and gradually increase until you can clip multiple nails (or all of them) in one sitting.

It’s also important to choose your battles with things like this – if your dog can tolerate a few nails being clipped over the course of a week, maybe that’s the way you clip your dog’s nails. It’s not worth stressing your dog out to go to a groomer and do it all at once, if it gets easy to do it that way at home!

Another option is to ditch the clippers and try a nail grinder. Just be sure to go slowly, don’t do too much at a time, and be careful not to get your hair (or your dog’s fur) in the wheel. If your dog has never heard a grinder before, take some time to get your dog used to the sound. Turn it on, give your dog a treat, turn it off. Repeat a few times and then that’s it for the day. When your dog doesn’t show any signs of nervousness when you turn the grinder on, try a nail or two.

With a little patience and perseverance, you will be cutting your dog’s nails stress-free in no time!