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How To Cut Puppy Nails When They Are Scared

dachshund puppy being held up by human hands

Dogs get scared and nervous about many everyday things that don’t even register with humans. They can get stressed out by loud noises, new people, and things like haircuts or nail trims.

If your dog gets scared when you cut their nails or if they tend to bite themselves when you try to trim them, here are some tips for keeping them relaxed and comfortable. With time and patience, you can train your dog to love their nail trims and other scary experiences, but in the meantime, these tips will help your dog remain calm until they reach that point.

Need to know when to trim your puppy’s nails? Check out our post “How & When to Cut Puppies’ Nails for the First Time – A Complete Guide” to learn more.

Prepare Your Dog Beforehand

While it might be tempting to wait until your dog is already freaking out to start trying to calm them, it’s best to start preparing them for what’s about to happen beforehand. This way, you’ll be able to gauge their mood and know how to best approach them when it’s time for the nails to get clipped. If your dog is already stressed, it will be a lot harder to calm them down.

Use Distraction Techniques

German shepherd puppy laying on a tile floor chewing on a rope toy

Distraction techniques can help your dog to forget about the things that make them scared and nervous. If your dog is super sensitive, this is a great way to ease their anxiety. Keep in mind, though, that these techniques are meant to be used in addition to calming methods rather than as standalone solutions.

Some examples of distraction techniques include: – Spraying Bitter Apple on their paws, giving them something to chew on, like a stuffed toy, wearing headphones and playing music to drown out the sounds that frighten your dog.

Create a Safe Space for Nail Trims

Dog sleeping in a dog crate

If your dog is especially nervous about their nail trims, creating a safe space for them to stay in while you cut their nails will help them to stay calm. One way to do this is to put your dog in a crate when you’re trimming their nails. A crate is a familiar, safe space for most dogs, so they’ll likely feel very relaxed inside it.

Can You Use Nail Polish on Dogs? Click here to learn more.

Speak Softly and Confidently

Jack Russell Terrier puppy having its nails trimmed

If your dog is already anxious, it’s possible that they can sense the anxiety in your voice. If you’re nervous, it might be triggering to your dog, which could make them even more anxious. Listen to your own voice when you’re preparing for a nail trim and try to speak in a calm, confident tone.

End On a Happy Note

Australian Shepherd puppy playing with a rope

If your dog is extremely anxious about nail trims, they might be in terrible shape by the end of the process. If this happens, it’s important to end the nail trim session on a happy note.

Give your dog a treat and lots of praise for staying calm throughout the process. By rewarding your dog for their good behavior, you’ll help them to associate nail trims with positive feelings.

Want another way to trim your puppy nails other than clippers? Check out our post “How to Trim Puppy Nails with a Grinder” to learn more.

Some Final Words

Puppy with paws resting in human hands

All dogs deserve to feel safe and relaxed. If your dog gets scared with nail trims, it’s important to approach the situation with compassion.

Your goal is to help your dog understand that the experience isn’t painful or scary. You can do this by using distraction techniques while you trim their nails. If you do this consistently and with lots of praise, your dog will eventually associate nail trims with positive feelings and may even begin to look forward to them.

If your dog is extremely sensitive to nail trims, your best bet is to simply avoid doing it at home. You can have your dog’s nails professionally trimmed by a vet. This might help to reduce their anxiety.

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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.