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How to Calm a Dog to Cut Its Nails

Yellow lab laying on a white background while a set of hands trims its nails

Keeping your dog calm while you trim their nails takes a little effort. But if you take the safe routes, everything should be fine. Be grateful if your dog is always calm at this time.

You won’t have to resort to these measures if they are.

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

It is a Scary Task

Cutting your dog’s nails can be hard to do because your dog is afraid. When your dog is afraid, it can fight, resist, or even bite you. That makes this task scary for you. No one wants to be bitten by their own dog.

Thankfully, you have options to calm your pet down making the task of clipping their nails simpler and easier. Picking the right method will be the key and often you will need a vet’s advice to help you select the right way to calm your pet.

How to Calm a Dog When Clipping Nails

Woman in purple scrubs holding a poodle while another woman trims its nails

There are different methods you can use to calm your pet. This section will focus on the natural options you have available. Not every way will work on every dog so you may have to experiment a little bit to find the best one for you and your pet.

Chamomile Tea

This works on dogs just like it does on humans. A little tea should help relax your pet and get them calmed down.


This is an ancient herb that has been used for centuries to provide stress relief.


This is the ingredient found in turkey that makes you sleepy after eating a turkey dinner. Feed this or a little turkey to your dog and let the ingredient do its work.

Dog won’t sit still for you to clip it’s nails? Check out our post “How to Restrain a Dog to Clip it’s Nails.”

Get Your Dog Used to the Clippers, Etc.

Dachshund in a vet setting having its nails trimmed

This is where you sit down with your dog and take the time to get your pet used to the clippers. You show them that it is a good thing and reward them when they respond correctly.

This takes time and you need a lot of patience to complete this option.

How to Calm Your Dog for Nail Cutting

Close up of a brown dog paw with black nails being trimmed.

In this section, the focus will be on different sedatives you can use. You should not give any sedatives without the advice of a vet. It is easy to make a mistake and cause your pet some harm.

  • Benzodiazepines (Valium, Xanax, and other doggie downers)
  • Acepromazine
  • Trazodone
  • Gabapentin
  • Injectable Sedatives

These are all the different types of sedatives your vet can prescribe. They need to be administered correctly or you could cause some serious health issues or the death of your beloved dog.

This option is often considered the last resort when all else fails. Also, you should not give your dog these sedatives if you are nervous about the effect they will have on your puppy.

Also, you should avoid giving them these medications when they have current health issues or your pet has had bad experiences with prescription sedatives before.

Make sure to have a good talk with your vet about the pros and cons of this nail trimming option. Follow their advice and try again with safer methods first.

Can I Give My Dog Benadryl So I Can Cut His Nails?

Bottle of Benadryl with 6 pink pills laying beside it on a blue background.

Yes, this is a good option. But like the prescription sedatives listed above, you still have to be careful about how much and how often you administer it. The amount you should give to your pet to calm their nerves at this time is only 2-4 milligrams per kilo of weight.

Just be careful when giving your pet this medication. It is okay to break the pill up to get the right dosage. However, do not give your dog a time-released capsule or a liquid version that has alcohol in it. There are some minor side effects to that medication.

If you are having trouble clipping your dog’s nails, check out our post “Help! My Dog is Terrified of Nail Clippers”.

What Can I Give My Dog to Calm Down for Nail Clipping?

Black and tan chihuahua, snarling while a gloved hand holds its paw.

Dramamine is one medication alternative you can safely use. That is if you administer it in the right dosage. Your pet should only get about 2 milligrams per pound of weight of this drug to be on the safe side.

The all-natural, non-drowsy version of this medication is not good for dogs. It is filled with ginger, a spice that can be harmful to pets. You can also try CND oils or ingredients but before you do that, check with your vet first to make sure that is safe.

Or just give them some good exercise. A nice long walk and some other activities will tire out your dog and keep them calmer when you trim their nails.

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