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4 Tips for Overcoming Your Dog's Fear of Nail Trims

Posted by Awesome Doggies

Having your dog's nails trimmed on a regular basis has several benefits. Overly long nails can be painful for your dog, and can easily break and become infected. If the nails stay too long for too long, they can even change your dog's gait in a way that permanently damages his skeletal system. Keeping your pup's nails neat and short is healthier for your dog and also protects your wood floors and furniture. 

Many pet owners have a valid reason for delaying nail trims, though: their dogs hate having it done! If every time you go near your dog's nails with a pair of clippers they yelp and yank their paws away, nail trimming becomes super stressful for both of you. Here are four tips for navigating this situation and turning nail trims into a stress-free experience:mobile-dog-grooming-san-diego

Have the Right Tools

Nail trimming should never be painful for dogs, and one way to ensure a pain-free experience is to start with the right tools. High quality, sharp nail clippers designed specifically for dogs are crucial. Guillotine-style clippers are especially effective. Old, dull clippers will not cut through the nail quickly enough and can cause pain for your pup.

Some dogs actually prefer the grinding action of a Dremel-style tool designed for nail trimming. These grind away at the nail instead of cutting it. Just be sure to only leave the tool on your dog's nail for a few seconds at a time, because it heats up quickly and can burn your dog's paw if left on too long.

Teach Positive Associations

Right now your dog has fearful and anxious associations with nail trimming, and we want to replace these with positive and happy associations. Any time you attempt to clip your dog's nails reward them with tons of praise, cuddles, and a few treats so that they learn to associate nail trimming with these fun experiences.

If your dog is very fearful, focus on baby steps. Get the nail clippers out and immediately reward your dog with treats and praise. Next time, move the clippers close to their paw and do the same. For the next session, you will gently touch their paw with the clippers, and then praise them and offer treats. Finally, as they begin to feel more comfortable around the clippers, you can attempt to clip one nail at a time, followed by rewards.  

De-Stress Your Dog First

If your dog is already in a relaxed and calm state of mind, they will be more receptive to having their nails trimmed. Start with a long walk or jog to get some of their nervous energy out. Then, further relax them by playing soothing background music, speaking to them in a quiet, calming voice, and even giving them a nice massage. In extreme cases, you may find it beneficial to also give your dog a mild sedative from the vet or a natural alternative like Rescue Remedy. Remember that dogs pick up on our energy- so work on getting yourself into a calm and peaceful state of mind as well. 

Hire a Pro! 

As experienced mobile groomers, Awesome Doggies is used to working with pets who have grooming-related anxiety. We are experts at quick, stress-free nail trims that eliminate the anxiety for both dogs and their owners. We can trim your pup's nails as a standalone service or as part of an overall grooming, and we will make sure to moisturize and soothe your dogs paws after the trim.

For more helpful tips for pet owners, be sure to subscribe to our blog. For a mobile grooming appointment in the San Diego area, contact us today and let us come to you!

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