Clipping Your Dogs Nails -
The Right Way to Do It

Clipping your dogs nails is just one of the regular dog grooming tasks that you need to do at home on a frequent basis. Trimming your dogs nails is not painful when you use a sharp dog nail clippers and most importantly, when you don’t clip the nails too short.

You must reward your dog for positive behavior throughout the grooming session, as in all other dog grooming tasks. This is a very important part in your dogs grooming behavior. If you fail to do this your dog may never fully accept future grooming procedures.

Another important benefit of clipping your dogs nails regularly - it will easily prevent any of the potential problems that we've listed below for you, all things that you will definitely want to avoid.

Clipping Your Dogs Nails - Why should 
I do it in the first place?

All German Shepherds need their nails clipped down from time to time unless they are so active that they wear their nails down on their own. Keep in mind that when a dog’s toe nails become too long they can interfere with the dog’s gait among other things. Later on, as the dogs nails continue to grow, walking or running could become very awkward or painful.

A few major benefits of trimming your German Shepherds nails include the following:

* Untrimmed nails could easily split if not cared for properly resulting in a great deal of pain, bleeding, and /or a trip to the veterinarian’s office for you and your dog.

* Torn nails can be extremely painful for your dog. Infection can also occur, requiring long-term antibiotics, soaking and / or surgical removal.

* Nails help provide traction for the dog and help them to walk or run without slipping.

* German Shepherds are known the world around for their beautiful trotting gait.GSD's cannot walk or run correctly if their nails are too long. Dogs whose nails are excessively long can also be hurt hurt due to slips and falls.

* If left alone too long, overly long nails can grow into the bottom of the foot and dewclaws, if present, can grow into the leg if neglected long enough. These types of ingrown nail problems are very common (especially on the dewclaws). Ingrown nails can often become infected and are very painful for the dog.

Clipping Your Dogs Nails - How do I 
know when the nails are too long?

Keep this one idea in mind concerning how your dogs nails grow and you should do fine when trimming them in the future. When the dogs toe nails grow, the quick inside the dogs nail grows as well. If the nail is very long, the quick becomes very long also.

Cutting overly long nails to the correct length in one step would easily cut into the quick, causing pain to your dog.

The best idea for clipping your dogs nails is to cut the long nails slowly, a little bit at a time over the course of several days or weeks using sharp Dog Nail Clippers.The quick inside the dogs nails will regress a little bit each time the dog's nail is clipped if you follow this procedure. Using this process, the long nails can be shorted with little pain or trauma to the dog, but it does take time.

If you hear a clicking sound when your dog walks around, then the nails are too long.

Don't forget the dewclaws if your dog has them either. Dewclaws, located on the inside of the paw, need to be included in your dog's sharp nail trimming routine each session as well.

A good idea is to make nail inspection and nail trimming an important part of your dogs routine grooming procedure at least two or three times a month. If you regularly trim your German Shepherds nails you should have no problem overall.

Some dogs work regularly on rough surfaces and are able to wear down their nails, but overall most dogs will need some extra help from you. Even if you don't actually trim the dog's nails each time, regular inspection of your dog's feet and nails will help assure you that your dogs feet stay healthy.

Clipping Your Dogs Nails
What exactly is the Quick?

What exactly is the quick? The quick grows along with the nail - it is the living part of the nail that has blood vessels running throughout it inside the dogs nail. Because of this, if your dogs nails are over grown you will not be able to clip the nails to the desired length without cutting into the quick in one step.

If the nails are overly long, you will need to trim the tips of your dogs nails often, a little bit at a time until you get them cut back to a normal length. Over time the quick will shorten as you clip the nails bit by bit. If your GSD has light colored nails you will be able to see the quick much easier inside the nail.

If your dog has dark colored nails you will not be able to see the quick inside as easily. To avoid cutting into the quick you'll want to start by trimming small pieces, a little at a time, off each nail, over a period of several days or weeks using sharp Nail Trimmers.

Cutting into the quick during the dog nail trimming procedure is very painful for your German Shepherd and will easily result in bleeding. Cutting into the quick of the nails could also lead to an infection so take your time and spread the process out over days if necessary to keep from injuring your dog.

Clipping Your Dogs Nails - 
What tools do I need?

Be sure that you're using sharp Nail Trimmers when clipping your dogs nails. It is very important to choose a nail trimmer that is the right size for your dog’s nails and one that fits your hand properly.

The style of dog nail clipper that you choose is a matter of personal preference. Two common types of nail trimmers include the Guillotine Nail Trimmer and the plier style Clipper.

Make sure that you keep your nail trimmer sharp so that it makes a fast clean cut. A dull clipper will do nothing but hurt your dog and split the nail. 

A pet nail file is also a good thing to have on hand as well as some form of styptic powder (and plenty of dog treats to reward good behavior). Dog treats are also a good way to distract a dog's attention away from a bleeding nail in case of an accident.

Plier nail clippers work a lot like shrub pruning shears. The two blades cut through the nail as the handles are squeezed together.

This type of nail trimmer works great on thick nails. These nail trimmers don’t have blades that must be replaced but they do have to be sharpened when they become dull to maintain a nice clean cut.

Guillotine nail trimmers require that the dog’s nail be inserted through a hole in the top of the trimmer. When you squeeze the handle the blade comes down and cuts through the nail. The blade that must be changed frequently to maintain a nice clean cut.

Clipping Your Dogs Nails - 
When should I start?

If you have a small puppy you should start trimming your dogs nails within a few days or weeks of when you bring your new puppy home.

If you have an adult GSD the answer is pretty much the same – start clipping your dogs nails right away. If you get the puppy used to the procedure early on it probably will not take too long for it to adjust to the whole nail trimming routine.Another good idea for clipping your dogs nails:handling your puppys or dogs feet everyday will also get them used to being touched, helping to prepare it for future dog training, grooming and veterinary sessions.All nail trimming will be much easier in the future if your puppy doesn't mind having his feet handled. Patience is very important here. Concerning adult dogs, you may need to spend a lot more time getting him used to the nail trimming procedure if he doesn't have a lot of practice with it.

Clipping Your Dogs Nails - 
How to cut a GSD's nails

* If nail trimming is completely new to you, don't be afraid to ask your veterinarian or a professional dog groomer to show you the correct way to trim your dogs nails.

* Start small, one toe at a time, and always use a sharp clipping tool.

* When starting out clipping your dogs nails, clip one nail a day until you can do them all at one session.

* Work in bright light and be always be aware of where the quick is. 

* When clipping your dogs nails, if you see the black spot inside the nail, clip no further.

* Give your dog lots of praise and a few treats when each successful nail cutting session is over.

I’ve cut my GSD’s nail too short! 
Now what do I do?

First of all, do not panic. Stay calm and upbeat, do not baby your dog too much, and try to distract your German Shepherd with dog treats.
One good way to stop the bleeding is to take a pinch of Styptic Powder and press it against the bleeding nail. The nail will stop bleeding on it's own in about 5 to 10 minutes.

When trimming your German Shepherds nails, other products to use in place of the styptic powder are: styptic pads, flour, cornstarch, a bar of soap or Styptic Powder.

Now, give your dog lots of treats while you wait. Don't be too tough on yourself, even professional dog groomers occasionally cut into the quick.


Make sure you learn the process of properly clipping your dogs nails, train your GSD with positive feedback, praise and lot's of treats during this process, use only the best SHARP tools for trimming, and show patience throughout the entire dog nail trimming procedure, and you will both learn to enjoy the time you spend together - even when clipping your dogs nails.

Return from Clipping your dogs nails to brushing a German Shepherd teeth 

When you feel dog tired at night, it may be because you've growled all day long." - Unknown

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