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How to Trim Dog Nails that are Overgrown?

long dog nails being trimmed with scissor style clippers

Have you ever been scratched by the dagger-like nails of your pooch while he was just cuddling with you? If your answer is yes, this could be a sign of overgrown nails. Dog nails have to be monitored and trimmed regularly, and it doesn’t require a lot of expertise. You can conveniently cut your dog’s nails at home by following a proper method and ensuring a consistent schedule.

Why Long Nails are Problematic for Dogs?

Overgrown dog nails can prove troublesome and risky for several reasons. Some common problems of long nails include splayed toes, hobbling, and pain in paws while walking. Likewise, overgrown nails can lead to split nails, injuries to the joints, and bleeding. 

Other than that, cutting longer dog nails is also more difficult. This is because the quick (blood vessel for supplying blood to the nail) of these nails is longer. In the case of overgrown nails, the risk of cutting through the quick increases. Therefore, you should trim your dog’s nails regularly to avoid this problem.  

However, if the nails of your canine companion have grown more than the desired length, you don’t need to worry. Keep reading and you will learn the methods that are used to trim dog nails that are overgrown.    

How to Cut Overgrown Dog Nails?

Here is a stepwise procedure for securely trimming the overgrown nails of your dog.

Give the Dog Some Time

Woman cuddling yellow lab on a couch

It’s important to train your dog and ensure that the trimming process is not disdainful for him/her. Therefore, you should eliminate the fear of all trimming tools from his/her mind, just like a desensitization training. Simultaneously, try to create a positive association between your canine companion and trimming tools.

For this purpose, you should award him/her with treats if he stays calm after seeing the trimming tools. This process may take a few days, but it is worth the effort. If you are using Dremel for cutting your dog’s nails, make sure that your pup is comfortable with the noise.       

Make Sure that the Dog is in a Comfortable Position 

Fluffy white dog laying in a comfortable position while someone trims its nails

It is essential to get your dog in a comfortable position before trimming his/her nails. Ideally, you should trim the nails of your canine when he/she is already relaxing on the mat. It’s better to have the assistance of another person to hold your dog and distract him/her. You should always cut the nails after having a suitable view of them.

Never pull your dogs around for cutting their nails because it can make them uncomfortable. Also, make sure that the leg of the dog is closer to his/her body. It is important because you don’t want your pooch to pull the leg back while you are cutting the nails.

Find the Quick

This is the most crucial aspect of trimming dog nails, especially if they are overgrown. This is because cutting through the quick will cause bleeding and lots of anguish to your dog. It is easier to locate the quick in lighter dog nails because it appears pink on white nails. Therefore, you can easily know where to stop while trimming the nail.

However, it is significantly difficult to find the quick in darker nails. This is because it appears black on black nails. In this case, you will need multiple small cuts to trim the nail. This is the reason why many people prefer a dog nail grinder (like this one from Amazon) for darker nails.

Casfuy Dog Nail Grinder Upgraded - Professional 2-Speed Electric Rechargeable Pet Nail Trimmer Painless Paws Grooming & Smoothing for Small Medium Large Dogs & Cats (White)

Trim Dog Nails Until You Reach the Quick  

You will need to make multiple small trims to ensure that you don’t cut through the quick. Always cut at a slight angle across the tip of the nail. Once you have made a cut, have a look at it to see if you have reached the stopping point (quick). It will appear as a pink or black dot on the nail.

Once you have trimmed a nail successfully and the dog showed positive behavior, reward him/her with a treat. Keep repeating this process to trim all the dog nails that are overgrown.

Be Quick and Assertive

It’s very important to trim the nails in a safe and brisk motion. If you take too long your dog may get nervous and try to escape. If you think that you’re not prepared, then don’t take any chances and consult a specialist.

How to Cut Dog Nails that are TOO Long?

Gray dog paw on a hard wood floor with overgrown nails

In this method, we will need a nail clipper, Dremel, and a nail file to trim overgrown dog nails.

Make Your Dog Sit

It is important to have your pup into a secure and relaxing position for trimming his/her nails. If you feel that your dog is too excited, you can also use to harness or leash to control him/her.

Create Room for the Trimmer

Once the dog is sitting comfortably in its place, you will make a gap between the nail and the paw. For this purpose, you need to hold one of the paws and gently bend the nail away from the pad.

Find the Quick

Dog Nail Quick diagram

If your dog has lighter nails, you can identify the quick by viewing the nail under the light. Once you have figured out the location of the quick, you can trim the nail without hurting your pooch. In the case of black dog nails, it is not possible to find the quick with this method.

Cut parallel to the Tip of the Nail

Always apply parallel cuts to the tip of the nail because it keeps the surface flat. Cut small sections of the nail rather than making a single and larger cut. This is particularly important in the case of darker nails because you don’t know about the quick.

Keep making gradual cuts until the quick becomes visible. It will appear either as a pink (light-colored nails) or black (black nails) dot. Repeat this process with all the nails to trim them.s

Shape the Trimmed Nails

Once all the nails are trimmed, you will use a nail file to smooth them. Make the edges blunt (and not sharp) to save yourself from being scratched while playing.

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