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Help! My Dog is Terrified of Nail Clippers

Tan dog laying down, looking away from a pair of nail clippers

It is normal for dogs to be afraid of getting their nails clipped. For some, they just do not like their paws to be touched and will pull away when it happens. If you are going to do nail clipping yourself, you will just have to experiment a bit and see which option will fit your dog’s preferences.

Struggling to cut your dog nails? Check out these 6 Easy Tricks to Cut Dog Nails.

Why Do I Have to Clip My Dog’s Nails

This is a common question asked by many pet owners. The owners do not realize that if you do not clip their nails, their dog can suffer from different health issues.

This question is also asked by many dog owners whose dogs are afraid of the clippers. It just doesn’t make sense to torture their dog in this manner. Nor do they want to add stress to their dog’s life.

But if you want to protect your dog’s health and your floors or furniture, you need to trim those nails even if your dog is afraid of the clippers.

How Do I Get My Dog to Stop Being Scared of Nail Clippers?

Person holding a chihuahua's paw, clipping their nails

There are different methods you can use, and the following instructions are just one of those many:

Get Your Dog Used to Have its Paws Touched and Moved

This is done well before you start clipping their nails. You should start this treatment when your pet is young, so they get used to it faster.

This is gentle touching and moving.

Give Rewards

Red and white dog eating a tread from a person's hand.

When you get the behavior you want, reward them with their favorite snack. Rewards will help calm your pet down quite a bit.


Use different tools to find out which one does not bother your dog as much. Dog nail tools are not that expensive and having more than one will come in handy.

Go Slow

Brown and white chihuahua having its nails trimmed

This is not a job that needs to be rushed. If you are busy, pick a time when you have lots of free time. You do not want to be in a hurry when you trim your dog’s nails.

Enlist a Professional

Professional groomers who have experience in calming dogs that are afraid. Let them show you their techniques so you can do them at home.

Need to know how to calm a dog to cut its nails? Click here to learn more.

Dog Terrified of Nail Clipping

Close up of a Jack Russell terrier having its nails trimmed against a white background

This is actually normal for many dogs. This behavior is not breed-specific and any number of dogs from all breeds can be afraid to have their nails cut. It will take some work to get them used to have their paws touched in this manner.

That is why it is important for you to start trimming their nails when they are young. This gives you and your puppy a long time to get used to this chore. One option you have is to use different restraining methods to keep your dog still.

These methods are gentle and do not hurt your pet if they are done correctly. You can wrap your dog in a blanket or a towel to keep their legs still while you work.

Or you can place your arms around their neck and over their stomachs to make sure they do not move that quickly. Another option would be to use a collar restraint but be careful, these methods may make your dog more afraid unless you get them used to them first.

Why is My Dog Afraid of Nail Clippers?

Black and red handled scissor type nail clippers

It could be that final ‘snap’ they hear as their nail is cut off. Your dog is smart enough to realize that snap goes with the feeling they get when their nails are trimmed, or their paws are held.

That ‘snap’ can be disconcerting to your pet and make them afraid. Or they just do not like the vibrations they feel when you use a grinder. Not every animal or human likes that vibrating motion.

If those are the reasons for your pet, you can always go to a nail file and use it. It does not come with the ‘snap’ sound nor the vibrating feel. That makes using a nail file a lot easier for both of you.

Or you can make your own nail pad and train your dog how to trim their own nails. It is quick and easy and all you have to do is put it on the floor and then show your dog how to use it.

That option should help get them over their fear.

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Please note: We are not veterinarians and you use our advice at your own discretion. We always recommend that you consult your veterinarian whenever you have health-related conditions your furbaby is facing. With that in mind, as pet parents ourselves, we wish nothing but the best for your pet and their healthy and happy lives.