Nail Trimming 101 For Dogs, Cats, And Other Small Animals

It’s a well-known fact that cats and dogs do not like having their feet touched. As you can imagine, this can make trimming the nails of your cat, dog, or other small animal extra challenging.

When to start clipping and trimming your pet’s nails

When pets are less than a year of age is the optimal time to start handling their feet. Getting them used to the sensation without any negative repercussions is invaluable.

Step by step instruction on how to cut your pet’s nails

  • Make the “manicure” a pleasant experience! Choosing a comfortable area, position, or time of day that works best for you pet is important. Supplies that can be used in the trimming area to help calm your pet are; Adaptil spray / diffuser, Feliway spray / diffuser, or Lavender essential oil. “According to our behavior experts, calm, enjoyable nail-trimming sessions are not only possible, that’s how they should be!”
  • “Make Friends with the Paw!” This is such a true statement!
  • Getting them familiar with the clippers. “Clip the spaghetti with the clippers while still holding your cat’s paw gently.”
  • Being sure to not cut the quick. “It’s better to be cautious and cut less of the nail rather than risk cutting this area.” When in a pinch and you’ve cut the quick too short, flour, sugar, or cornstarch can be used to stop the bleeding.
  • Determining a clipping schedule. “Every ten days to two weeks is a nice routine to settle into.” It also depends on how much the pet is spending outdoors or indoors. Keep in mind that every animal is different.

The quotes in the list above are snippets from this great article on the ASPCA website. It goes into a more in depth explanation of these instructions. The article is mainly geared towards felines, but can be easily applied to canines too.

Let us know at the clinic if we can answer any questions about this. You can ask us to show you some techniques next time you’re in with your pet, too!

Good luck!

Crystal Sharp, CVT