Everything You Need to Know About Dog Nail Trimming in Boston, MA

Does your dog hate their nail trims? You’re not alone! Clipping your dog’s nails has been an age-old struggle since man first domesticated wolves. Well, maybe it’s not that extreme, but you get the idea. Yet, in all seriousness, dog nail trimming for Boston pet owners can not only be a laborious task; it can also negatively affect your relationship with your dog. Nail trimming is stressful for both you and your pup, but it is a necessity. 

Why is Nail Trimming so Important for My Dog in Boston?

Dog nail trimming in Boston, MATrimming your dog’s nails prevents painful broken or snagged toenails and even helps their posture. Without nail trimming, long nails that come in contact with a hard surface get pushed back into the nail bed, which causes pressure on the toes and can even result in arthritic pain. No wonder your pooch hates when his feet are touched!

Interestingly, pressure on the toes sends a nerve signal to the dog’s brain to tell him he’s on a hill. This is an evolutionary trait your dog has from his ancestral wolf ancestors who wore their nails so short, the nail only touched the ground when they were on a hill. As a result, your pet will change their posture to a sort of “goat on a rock” stance where all their feet are brought inward toward their center. In time, this will cause over-used muscles and joints, making your pet more vulnerable to injuries.

How to Trim Your Dog’s Nails

The best time to start nail trimming is with your puppy! With their rambunctious personality, they can easily snag their nails, so puppy nail trimming is important for keeping those puppy toes pain free. The nail trimming routine you set in motion as a puppy will need to continue throughout their life. Generally, you can go two weeks between cuts for maintenance, yet you may want to do it more or less frequently based on your dog’s activity level.

First things first, make sure you have the proper equipment with which to clip your dog’s nails. The most useful and common tool is clippers. Most dogs, except giant breeds, can get away with using small clippers, which give you more control.

Next, make sure to retain a sense of calm and shower your pet with praise and treats. Your dog is highly attuned to your emotions, and if you’re anxious or irritated about clipping their nails, they’ll have a negative response to it as well. Try to think of nail trimming as “quality time” with your dog, and they’ll feel loved and pampered!

Now, on to the clipping. In order to avoid cutting the “quick” or sensitive part of the nail underneath the hard outer shell, start short and hold the clippers at an almost parallel angle to the nail. You can take off a little more until you see a white chalky ring around the nail’s center. This means, you’ve reached the quick, and have gone as far as you can go.

dog nail trimOver time, as you keep your dog’s nails shorter, the quick will dry up and retreat, meaning you’ll be able to cut your dog’s nails even shorter.

After you’ve successfully clipped the nail, file down the chalky outer layer to prevent snagging.

If your pet is particularly fussy about their nail trimming, you can try to create a reward system with treats. If they sit still and let you clip their nails, they get a treat. Getting your pup to the point where they’ll gladly let you clip all their nails in one go might take a while, but with persistence, you can get there. Start simple by giving your pup a treat for letting you touch their paw, and work up from there. Treat again after clipping one nail, and then two, etc. until your pet happily sits there and lets you clip away.

Other Methods of Clipping Your Dog’s Nails in Boston

Whether your pup is a drama queen and makes nail trimming a nightmare, or you simply would rather try a different method of dog nail trimming, we have some other suggestions!

Dog Nail Trimming with a Dremel

Yep, it’s possible to use the power tool to grind your pup nail down safely! It’s all about which bit you use! In fact, there are Dremel bits made specifically for dog grooming. Yet, if you already own a Dremel, simply purchase ¼-inch Dremel sanding bands to use on your dog’s nails. Make sure to choose the right grit that isn’t too fine or too coarse. A middle-ground grit like 120 is a good bet. The tool is ideal for smoothing and rounding the nail or for weekly trimmings on dogs who refuse to let you clip them.

So how to do you use a Dremel? A couple tips to keep in mind is that you need to make sure the hair around your dog’s nails is shortened to avoid getting it caught in the Dremel.

Once you clipped the fur, turn on the Dremel and slowly move it around the tip of the nail. Keeping it grinding in one place for too long could cause it to become too warm for your dog, so moving gently around the nail is essential.

Using a Dremel is best for maintaining your pet’s nail length, or slowly shortening them. If it’s been a long while since you cut your dog’s nails and they’re like raptor talons, it’s best to use clippers.

Using a Dog Nail Trimming Harness

Using a harness can be helpful if your dog is particularly wiggly during their nail trimming sessions, or they’re notoriously difficult to pin down. A dog nail trimming harness lifts them up from the ground as much or as little as you and, and allows for easy nail trimming. Whether you want to use clipper, a Dremel or both, a harness is a great way to make sure your pet stays still.

To make the experience as stress free and pleasant as possible, make sure to use lots of praise and treats!

Bring Them to the Vet for Dog Nail Trimming in Boston

Last but not least, the other alternative to clipping your dog’s nails is to bring them to the vet and let us do it! As a Fear Free Certified staff, we have all the techniques and tricks to make sure your pet has a pleasant, stress-free experience. Call us at (617) 247-2273 to make an appointment for nail trimming or any of our other dog grooming services!