Q: How often should we cut our dogs’ nails?
A: Ideally we cut our dogs’ nails on a regular basis – weekly!
After this course, you may be able to do this in a couple sittings, but if your dog needs a little more time you can cut the nails on one paw one day, another paw the next day, etc.
If you have a really sensitive pup who needs a lot more time, just do one nail a day until you can build up their tolerance and enjoyment.
If you wait to cut their nails once a month or every 6-8 weeks, you will find that the quick has grown along with the nail. You need to be trimming on a regular basis so that the quick recedes over time, allowing you to trim more and more off, making their nails shorter overall.
Q: How much nail should we cut off?
A: There’s no one answer to this question. You have to gauge your own dog’s nails. Until you are very comfortable and confident and your dog is totally relaxed, you should be trimming millimetre by millimetre. It’s not a race to the finish line – it’s a process and you’re in it for the long haul.
Q: What if I cut the quick?
A: Ouch! That hurts! But don’t panic. Dab your dog’s quicked nail into tightly packed cornstarch and that should stop the bleeding temporarily. Happy-talk in a relaxed tone and really be generous with the food.
Don’t go anywhere yet. Spend a couple minutes shooting a few blanks by “fake” cutting a few nails and feeding generously. Then pack things up and try again tomorrow. You might need to go back to conditioning for a little while to build up that trust bank account once again. Go at your dog’s pace!
If the quick continues to bleed after say 15-30 minutes, you will need to disinfect it, use cornstarch again, and wrap the paw gently in sterile gauze. Vet-wrap and a baby sock can keep that gauze wrap secure while still allowing it to breathe. You can always pop into a local vet clinic so that they can disinfect and wrap it. Be sure to stay with your dog and feed the highest-value treats during this procedure as it might set you back a bit in the trust department. You’ll have lots of patching up to do later!