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Trimming Your Dog’s Nails

March 15, 2023

Did you know that overgrown nails can be quite problematic for dogs? Fido may not be thrilled about having his claws cut, but it really is in his own best interest. Overgrown nails are not only uncomfortable, they can make it hard for dogs to get good traction. They can also rip and tear on things. Ouch! A Salem, VA vet offers some advice on giving your furry pal his pawdicures in this article.

Start Slow

Start by letting your canine buddy get used to the feeling of clippers. At first, just gently massage Fido’s paws, and run the clippers over his nails. Incorporate yummy treats and praise, so he forms a ‘pawsitive’ association with the process. Once he’s used to this, start making the clippers ‘click’ so he gets used to the sound.

Choose Good Gear

There are a few different types of clippers and pawdicure sets for Fido. The old-school, guillotine-style clippers are likely still the standard basic. You can also get your pup clippers that have sensors in them, which indicate exactly where to cut. Nail grinders are another option. If you aren’t sure what will work best, ask your vet. Of course, you’ll also need to let your canine friend have his say. For instance, if your pooch won’t tolerate the vibration of a grinder, it’s best to stick with clippers.


If your pooch resists having his feet handled, you’ll need to work on desensitization. Teach him that good things happen when he lets you touch his furry feet. Offer your four-legged pal a yummy snack when you touch his paws. This should be something high quality, such as a bit of steak. Then, just let him go. Fido may even decide that he enjoys paw massages!


You don’t have to do all four of your canine companion’s feet at once. Do one paw at a time, and keep rotating. This may actually be easier for both you and Fido!


Keep an eye out for signs of other issues, such as cuts, bites, and foreign objects. If Fido has toe fur tufts, you may also want to trim those down. These can trap gunk and get matted, which would be quite uncomfortable for your furry bff.

Please contact us with questions or concerns about your dog’s health or care. As your Salem, VA veterinarians, we’re always here to help!  

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