Cutting Dog Claws: How To Do It Right

cutting dog claws

Dog claws are cut with claw clippers.

Having their claws cut is no fun for most dogs. As soon as the claw clippers are taken out, many dogs hide and panic. Find out here the most important tips and tricks so that this doesn’t happen and your dog learns to relax when having its claws cut.

What happens when the claws are too long?

It is very important to regularly check and cut dog claws. The following complications can emerge if this is forgotten:

  • Claws that are too long can break during play and severely bleed. If your dog gets its overly long claws caught on objects, it could tear them out entirely. If your dog scratches its throat, for instance, it can also give itself deep wounds.
  • Another reason for regular claw maintenance is that the blood vessels in the claws grow too! The longer the claws are, the greater the probability of them bleeding when cut. Hence, it is very dangerous to cut a dog’s claws from a certain length without any complications.
  • Many dogs find having long claws unpleasant. They lift their paws more when running and their gait is different. The joints become permanently damaged. It can result in arthrosis of the toe joints, which is very painful for dogs.
  • The skin can become severely inflamed if the claw grows into the next toe. The paw swells and gets warm. Every movement hurts and penetrating bacteria can lead to purulent growths (abscesses).

How long can dog claws be?

Your dog’s claws shouldn’t touch the ground when they are stood up, or only slightly. If your dog runs on hard ground and you hear a loud clicking, this is a sign that its claws are dragging across the ground when it moves. This means that you have to cut your dog’s claws as soon as possible.

What is needed to cut dog claws?

You need one of the following items in order to cut your dog’s claws: claw clippers or a claw grinder.

Claw clippers are harder for novices to use than a claw grinder, because there is the risk of you cutting the claws too short.

On the other hand, you can work millimetre by millimetre on the claws with a claw grinder.

cutting dog claws with a grinder © Willee Cole /
Dog claws are filed with a claw grinder.

You can also use a file to get rid of hard edges. If your dog’s paw bleeds slightly when its claws are cut, you can also keep at hand a clean flannel and something to disinfect the wound.

You can also find suitable claw care products in the zooplus online store.

How to cut dog claws right

Don’t underestimate cutting a dog’s claws. If this is done wrong or not at all, it can cause your dog pain and stress. You can of course get its claws cut at the vet’s or with a dog groomer. However, you can manage it in your own home with the following instructions:

  1. Ensure there is a pleasant atmosphere before cutting your dog’s claws. It will soon notice if you are nervous. In order for it to keep relaxed when its claws are being cut, you should talk to your dog calmly and put it in a comfortable position. Treats help you to keep up your dog’s spirits. 
  2. You can give your dog the command ‘paw’ so it knows that its claws will be cut. It now knows that you will be tending to its paws and will be less frightened if it feels tension or force.
  3. Take a good look at the paws and claws, including the area between the toes. If the claws aren’t pigmented, you can spot the blood vessels inside them. A torch is also helpful to illuminate the claws. However, it isn’t a bad thing if you still can’t recognise the veins.
  4. Cut the claws around two to three millimetres beneath the end of the vessel. Don’t forget the dew claws either. If you accidentally hit a blood vessel, you can stop the bleeding with a flannel. Press the flannel firmly onto the bleeding for several seconds to a few minutes. Afterwards, you should disinfect the wound and check in the following days whether it becomes infected.
  5. Praise your dog after cutting its claws. If it learns that having its claws cut is something positive, it will be far more relaxed next time.

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