Conquering Nail Trimming – Phase 1

Everyone has (at least!) one irrational fear.  It might be heights, or spiders, or clowns.  For my dog (and now for me), it’s getting her nails trimmed.

I feel like I have a pretty firm grasp on what goes on inside a canine cranium…as firm of a grasp as any two-legged creature can, anyway.  So why-oh-why can I not comprehend why my sweet dog detest getting her nails cut the way she does?  She doesn’t mind going to the vet, getting a shot, taking a bath, etc.  I know this isn’t an uncommon problem – it’s just one that I cannot understand.

After a few attempts at an at-home mani/pedi, I decided to let the vet have a go at it.  The second time we went in, Buffy became so irrationally frantic, I decided I could not put her through this trauma again.  It was time to do my research, get the right tools and techniques, and become a master dog-nail-trimmer-er!

Phase 1 – The Tools

Ok, so borrowing my mom’s old, dull nail clippers (in retrospect) probably was not the wisest move when I did my first nail trim.  Now, I’m on the quest to find the perfect clippers.

My options are:

Guillotine Style 

These are the kind I’ve always used and always seen people use.  The nail slips into a little hoop at the end of the trimmer.  When the handles are pressed together, a blade passes across the hoop and (like a guillotine) cuts the nail.

It seems that these are easy to use, and work on most dogs regardless of size.  The downside seems to be that the blade dulls easily.  Also, it does not always cut cleanly and can split or break the nail.

“Miller’s Forge” Style

These trimmers look like scissors….except the blades are short and have semi-circular indentations.  Supposedly stronger than the guillotine style, these are better for larger dogs.

These are a good option for larger dogs, but some people have trouble using them.  You never have to replace the blade which is good (although I imagine it would eventually dull.)  General feedback on these is good!  Large Dog” Nail Trimmers are the same as Miller’s Forge trimmers, but for large dogs.  (Duh!)

Nail Grinders (PediPaws) 

Motorized tool that rounds and smooths the nail (grinds) rather than cuts.  PediPaws made this a popular do-it-yourself method of trimming nails.

From personal experience and everyone I have talked too – this is a great idea in theory but just doesn’t work.  It all boils down to the motor being too loud.  Trying to put a noisy, motorized, foreign object so near to your dog is just no good….not to mention the unfamiliar sensation of the nail actually being ground.

Please help me in choosing the right grooming tool!  While I want to make sure Buffy’s nails look fabulous, I’m more concerned about her having a positive experience.  I would love to hear exactly which style and brand you use…and be sure to take the poll below!

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5 thoughts on “Conquering Nail Trimming – Phase 1

  1. I have 3 doxies. They all act like you are cutting off their entire toe when they go to the vet to get their nails trimmed. My little male screams bloody murder, upsetting other dogs int he waiting room. All this just drama just for a little nail trim. I tried doing it myself with a bowl full of cheese squares in front of him for treats, he still screams. I tried the grinder thing, no way.

    I gave up and he just has to go to the vet every 3-4 weeks for a trim. I let the vet tech take him in the back where they all try to hold him still so she can clip him quickly. Then I give him treats in the car on the way home.

    It’s crazy!

  2. I tried trimming my boys’ nails once. They both hated it. Somehow, since then they have started chewing their nails (even their dew claws), so I haven’t had to use a nail clipper again. Before though, it was a nightmare because they are both giants.

  3. I would rather my biped did it than have it done at the vet or by a groomer! Both have been too enthusiastic and made me bleed and it hurt, so I became a little bit nervous about it. My biped started by cutting a tiny amount from one claw every day. I would get a treat and lots of fuss, until I became quite relaxed about it.

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