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How to Restrain a Dog to Clip Its Nails

Person in an orange shirt trimming a brown dogs nails

Keeping your dog’s nails short is helping them stay healthy. Plus, it keeps unnecessary pain away from your pet when he or she walks. It is not a tough job unless your dog is a fighter.

If he or she is, then you will have a tough time clipping their nails. However, with the following information, you should be able to handle the task with ease. Keep reading to find out how to safely restrain your pet while you trim their nails.

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

How to Restrain a Large Dog for Nail Clipping

There are different methods for doing this task and you will have to experiment with each one until you find the best for both of you. Many dogs are very skittish about having their nails trimmed so you do need to be prepared to restrain them when it’s time to do this task again.

Hold Them with Your Arms

Chihuahua laying in a person's arms while the dogs nails are being trimmed

You want to gently wrap your arm around their neck and have the other arm go around their belly. Then place your dog under your armpit for a secure hold.

Once you are in position check to see if your dog is afraid. If they are, then talk to them softly to calm them down. While you are holding your dog, have an assistant trim those nails.

Prone Position

White dog laying down with a person laying over top of them in restraint to trim their nails.

Have your dog lie down on its side and get ready to place one arm along its neck and the other arm between its stomachs and hind quarters. This will have you holding your dog down so that they cannot get away.

Then again, have your assistant trim the nails while you are holding your pet gently but firmly. Or you can do it yourself. Use your elbow or arm to control your pet if they start to struggle.

Use An Assistant

Person holding a pug while its nails are being trimmed by blue gloved hands.

Sometimes it will take two people to hold a large dog. This may be the case if they are big fighters or extremely large dogs. Just be gentle when you hold them but not so gentle that you do not have a firm grasp.

Take your time and make sure the dog gets used to being held before you start trimming their nails.

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

Use A Muzzle

Chow dog wearing a pink muzzle

There may be times that a dog may be very afraid or upset. Even if they are your family pet, they can and will bite you. This means that you will have to take the extra precaution of using a muzzle.

The muzzle has to fit comfortably, or you will just make your dog more upset and more afraid of having their nails trimmed. Give them time to get used to the muzzle first before starting to trim their nails.

How to Restrain a Dog with a Towel

Jack Russell Terrier wrapped in a brown towel being held by a set of human hands.

This is called the burrito method and it requires a towel or a large enough blanket. Neither the towel nor the blanket should be very thick. If it is you may not get a great hold and your dog will be able to squirm away.

1. Place the towel on the floor or if he or she is small enough place it on your lap.

2. Next, get your dog to lay on the towel but you will want them on their side or back. You do not want them on their stomachs.

3. Once in position warp the blanket around your dog. Keep the head and front paws outside of the burrito wrap/ Then tuck the remaining portion of the blanket under your pet to keep it in place.

4. Start with the front paws and clip those nails. Then unwrap a portion of the back of the towel so you have access to the rear paws. Then trim those nails.

5. When you are done, release your pet and put the towel in the laundry or away to wait for the next time.

In this method, you still have to be gentle and kind to your dog. This is not supposed to be seen by them as a punishment but as a good event in their lives.

The latter will make it easier to do the next time you have to trim their nails.

Some Final Words

Close up of a white dog having its nails clipped by a set of hands holding nail clippers.

Trimming your dog’s nails can be quite a chore when they are fighters. But with the right restraining method, you should make that task a little easier and a bit more relaxing for your pet.

Take your time using these methods so your dog can get used to them and not resist.

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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.