Is there a secret to trimming nails?

 |  Feb 17th 2008  |   12 Contributions


My dog WILL NOT let us cut her toenails. They are
getting quite long and brittle. Is there any way
we can restrain her and calm her down without
going to the vet?

"Dragon Puppy"
Kent, WA

To be sure, some dogs and cats are funny about their nails. I have known dogs who did not object to manipulation of their ears, mouth, eyes, nose or tail, but who went crazy the instant anyone got close to their feet. Trimming the nails of these dogs is very challenging. I suspect, although I cannot prove, that many of them have ticklish feet.

Trimming nails is easier if two people are involved. One person gently restrains the dog, and the other trims the nails. Restraining the dog is the harder job. Some dogs do best if they are held on their sides. Others prefer to sit upright.

Some dogs will show less objection to nail trims if they are offered treats during the process. Others can be distracted if someone gently taps on their nose or forehead. Some dogs will allow only a few nails to be trimmed every day. Nail trims are sometimes easier if you start when the dog is sleeping, or when he is exhausted from playing.

If you have experimented with all of these tricks and none of them have worked, then your best option may be to have a trained professional take care of the chore. The most resistant dogs actually require sedation or anesthesia for nail trims.

Resistance to nail trims can be avoided in many dogs if their feet are handled regularly while they are puppies. However, this tactic is not universally effective. There is no getting around it: some dogs simply can't stand to have their nails trimmed.

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