· Nail Clippers - there are several styles of dog nail clippers on the market including a guillotine-style nail clipper (easiest to use, especially for small breeds), pliers-style nail clipper (better for larger breeds), and a scissors-type nail clipper.
· Treats - having some treats on hand to reward your dog after each nail is a good idea to make the experience more positive, for your dog and for you.
· Styptic Powder or Other Clotting Powder - just in case you cut too short and there's bleeding. Baking soda, baking flour and cornstarch also work if you're in a bind.
How to Use Dog Nail Clippers
If you've never used dog nail clippers before, they can seem a bit intimidating, so just imagine how your dog feels! Always test the clippers first to ensure the blades are in proper working order. Regardless of the clipper style, use a firm grip on the clippers and use your fingers to separate the dog's toes and make the whole process easier.
One great tip to make clipping your dog's nails easier is to get him used to the nail clippers before actually clipping anything. Do this by holding the clippers near his feet and nails. Praise and treat the dog. Keep doing this about 10-15 times before you stop. On another day, do the same process except this time squeeze the clippers so they make a sound. Continue praising and treating for about 15 times before ending the session. Now, when it's time to clip the dog's nails, they will be used to the clipper and the sound it makes.
How to Clip Dog Nails Safely
First, it is a good idea to have a vet tech, veterinarian or dog groomer show you how to trim nails first. Then, once you have an idea of what not to do you will be more successful in getting the job done. Keep in mind if you have a nervous pup that you don't have to trim all their nails at once, you can do them a few at a time if needed.
Not all dogs need their nails trimmed, either. Many will naturally wear the nails down, or the dried ends of the nails will simply flake away without you even knowing. But some breeds, notoriously Bassets and Dachshunds, may need our help in keeping the toe nails reasonably short. Depending on the breed and size of your dog, you'll need to clip its nails anywhere from once per week to once per month.
On occasion, you may cut a nail too short. If this does occur, have some clotting powder or solution to stop the bleeding. It's a lifesaver!