By: Abbey Stackhouse, Assistant at ZimmVet

Nail trims on your dog or cat can seem like a scary task at first, but there are plenty of things that could make the experience better for you and your pet. The first step is knowing how to trim their nails in the first place.

Start by getting a pet nail trimmer. There are different size trimmers depending on your pet size. Cats have thin nails so a human nail trimmer can be used for cats. Make sure you keep the blade sharp, as it makes it the easiest and most painless way to trim their nails.

Second, start slowly and pull their legs closely to you so you can feel and see their nail clearly. Start with one paw at a time, trimming one nail at a time. The key to this is looking at the nail and determining where you should first cut it. The nail has something called a ‘quick’ in it, this is what supplies the blood to the nail. You want to make sure you aren’t cutting it too short and hitting that quick when trimming. There are many helpful diagrams on the internet that can show you better where you should be trimming.

Lastly, cut the nail quickly and smoothly and move on to the next nail. It is a lot easier to trim your pet’s nails when there is some sort of distraction. My personal favorite is swiping some peanut butter on my dog’s nose, or some spray cheese on a cat’s nose to take their mind off of the nail trim for a few seconds. I also like using a Kong or some type of treat toy as a distraction as well when trimming nails. When you are done trimming the nails on all four paws, give your pet a nice treat and a ton of praise to make them feel good and hopefully make it easier the next time you have to trim their nails. If you need help learning how to safely trim nails make an appointment at your veterinarian.