Clipping Claws

Time for a trim! Do you know when or how to trim your pet’s nails? Here are some helpful tricks to make clipping claws easier.

Speaking on behalf of those who appreciate good grooming, we all know the pain of a broken nail. Now, imagine having four paws to deal with instead of just two hands. That makes for a lot of broken nails—unless you take care of them properly! You know when you need a trim, but when does your pet need one?

  • For dogs: when the nails begin to curl under the paw, it is definitely time for a trim.
  • For cats: when the claws become exceedingly sharp and tend to get caught on fabrics more easily, their claws need to be trimmed.

If you are a pet owner who likes to trim your own pet’s claws, try these ideas to make it a more relaxing activity for your four-legged pal.

  • How to cut a dog's nails: place your dog on a table or flat surface. Stand on the opposite side of your dog than the claw you are trimming (face towards the claw). Lean your body over the dog. Use one hand to lift your dog’s paw directly up off the table, and hold the clippers in your other hand.
  • How to trim cat nails: place your cat in your lap. Use your arms to restrain the cat, one arm over its neck and the other over its hindquarters. Start trimming when your cat’s a kitten, so she’ll get used to your touching her paws. Sometimes, kitties do best with two manicurists: one to hold and stroke gently, and the other to trim. 

For more information on trimming claws, clippers and visual aids, please visit the websites of the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine: vetmed.com/dogs and vetmed.com/cats.

Do you cut your pet's nails yourself or do you go to a groomer? If you do it yourself, share tips with us in the comments!

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