Does your dog hate when you or a professional cut or dremel their nails?

Do you stress trying to keep their nails short?

Nail care is important. It does not need to be stressful for you and/or your dog. We want to help keep your dog’s nails short without all of the drama.

How often do you think your dog’s nails should be done to keep them short? For most dogs, we recommend once a week. If your dog goes on lots of walks or runs you may need less since they are self grinding on pavement. If your dog has long nails, we recommend grinding or clipping every three to four days. You could even do a nail or two a day! You will want to consider your dog’s activities and breed as to the appropriate length. For example, a sighthound doing lure coursing should have a slightly longer nail.

The earlier you get started teaching your dog that nail care is rewarding the better! Your puppy’s breeder or rescue ideally will start pairing yummy things with paw handling, clipping, and dremeling. Then once they are home with you, you can continue the experience. If you didn’t get your dog as a puppy or if they didn’t have any experience with handling you can still start right away. Go at your dog’s pace. We always want to observe how they feel about the experience.

Tools we recommend: (click the item for purchase link)

Suction Cup – These are great tools to give your dog something else to think about while you are doing nails, brushing, bathing them, or other husbandry behaviors. Yes, it is a distraction. That being said, it can help your dog have a more positive association without another person helping. The main goal is for your dog to not hate the process of necessary care.

On the suction cup you can put peanut butter, cream cheese, baby food, pureed meats, etc. For a longer lasting option you can freeze for a few hours before use.

Chase n’ Chomp


Lickmat Suction Cup

Clippers – There are different types of nail clippers on the market. When picking out your pair consider your hand size, your dog’s nails, and if the clippers make any noise. Some are much louder than others regardless of your dog’s nail size and strength.

When you first use clippers keep in mind less is more. You do not want to quick your dog’s nail causing pain and blood. A little shaving of the nail with the clippers is a great start. I also recommend having some quick stop nail powder, just in case you make a mistake while clipping.

Cat Nail Clippers

Big Nail Clippers

*Note: It is important your nail clipper are sharp. You can ask your local hardware store if they can sharpen or look for ways to do at home.

Dremel – You can find a nail dremel within everyone’s price point and comfort level. They make them with nail guards, quiet ones, and ones that do not get hot. I personally like the one I’ve been using for years that I purchased for under $30. That being said, it is no longer holding the charge and I will too will be researching a new dremel.

Your dog might find the sound of the dremel offensive. It is helpful to work on pairing the sound with good things before trying to dremel. Not all dogs will be okay with a spinning buzzing thing on their toes.

Dremel 7300-PT (the one I’ve used for years on multiple dogs)

Dremel 8050-N/18 Micro (I hear it’s the best, will be my next)

Scratch Board – One of the easiest ways to get your dog started to happier nail care is through a nail board. Your dog can file their own nails! I find this helps dogs get used to nail care, too. You can make this yourself with high grit sandpaper and a base of some sort. For my small Terriers, I use a clipboard with sandpaper attached. If you’d prefer someone else to make it, check out our friends at ScratchPad.

Video Tutorials to Get Started:

Scratch Board to File Their Own Nails

Scratch Board with more Sensitive Dog

Dremel with your Puppy Tips

Dremel with Two People and a Puppy

Dremel while using a Lick Item

If you need additional support with your dog’s nail care, please contact us. We offer in-person and online dog training services to set you and your dog up for long term success.

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