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April 30, 2019 4 min read

If your pet squirms and pulls away when you try to trim their nails, you’re not alone. But unless your furry friend is very active (and their toenails naturally wear down from walking on hard surfaces), it’s important to regularly trim their nails to keep them healthy and comfortable.

While it will probably never be your pet’s favorite activity, nail trimming doesn’t have to be a bad experience. With the right tools and approach, you’ll be safely and calmly trimming their nails in no time.

1. Choose the Right Clippers

Not all nail clippers are created equal. The entire process is a whole lot easier when you use clippers that are comfortable to hold and have a sharp, durable blade that cuts through your pet’s nails quickly and easily. Guillotine-style clippers, like theseFurbuster Guillotine Nail Clippers, are great for both cats and dogs because they allow you to easily position the nail without too much adjusting.

Fur Buster Nail Clippers for Dogs and Cats

For cats and kittens, theFurbuster Cat Nail Clipper is a great option, because it’s strong and precise enough to get the job done quickly. It also has a nail guard to make sure you don’t hurt your pet while trimming their nails.

2. Work Up to It

Especially if your little one has had stressful or painful experiences in the past with nail trimming, it’s important to go slowly.

Many cats and dogs don’t like their paws being touched, so it’s a good idea to start bygently holding your pet’s feet. If they pull away, take a break and pet them for a little while. You want to get your pet comfortable with you touching their paws and nails before you start introducing the clippers.

Siamese Cat in Owners Arms using Calming Techniques

It can help to give rewards, like treats or praise, as you work on handling their paws and nails. It’s very important to time these treats right, so your pet knows that they’re being rewarded for allowing you to touch their paws. Give treats and praise while you’re actively handling their paws and nails. When you’re not touching their paws, you want to stop giving treats.

3. Be Patient and Take Breaks

The easiest way to trim your pet’s nails is with two people: one giving rewards and praise and the other trimming. Sometimes this just isn’t an option, though. Especially if you’re trimming your cat’s or dog’s nails alone, they may squirm, so it’s important to be as patient as you can.

Adorable Cat in Pink Blanket Nervous about Nail Trimming

You may not be able to trim all your pet’s nails in one sitting. If they seem overly stressed and start trying to escape, take a break and pick up the process again after your pet has settled down. If your pet is especially afraid, you may want to separate your trimming sessions and only do one paw during each session.

4. Trim Slowly to Avoid Cutting Your Pet’s Quick

The quick is the small, pink interior that serves as thenerve and blood supply of your pet's nail. It’s important to avoid cutting the quick because it’s very sensitive. It’s typically pretty easy to see the quick in light-colored nails, but if your pet has dark-colored nails, it can be difficult to see.

Dog Paws with Long Nails that Need to be Cut

The best way to avoid cutting your pet’s quick is to make small, incremental cuts and stop after each cut to check if you can see the quick by looking at the underside of the nail. Once you can see that you’re getting close to the quick, you’ve done your job and you can stop trimming that nail.

5. Use Plenty of Treats

The key is to be as gentle and loving with your pet as possible during the process, especially if they’ve had bad experiences with nail trimming in the past. Well-timed treats and lots of praise will help them understand that they’re not being punished -- they’re actually being praised for allowing you to trim their nails.

Owner Calming Dog Before Trimming Nails

The trick is to reward your pet immediately. Giving your cat or dog a treat and praise right after each cut is the best way to help them associate trimming with something good rather than something to be afraid of.

Especially if it’s your first time trimming your pet’s nails, don’t be afraid to use lots of treats every step of the way. As they get more comfortable over time, they may not need as many treats during trimming sessions.

Looking for the perfect clippers, treats, or other great pet supplies for trimming, training, playtime, or other activities with your pet? We’re here to help!

Are you a new pet parent and not sure where to start? Or have you had pets for a long time and know exactly what you’re looking for? Either way, at King Duke’s, we treat your furry companions like family, and we’d love to help you find the perfect products for you and your pet.

Visit our store atKing Dukes in Beaverton, OR or shop online!


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