How to Clip Dog Nails When a Dog is Scared?

How to Clip Dog Nails When a Dog is Scared

Clipping dog nails can turn out to be a pain for most dog owners. Yours isn’t the only dog that is afraid of nail clippers; many of them become enraged and distressed by the experience and will flee if they sense even a hint of a dog clipper.

But what if your dog won’t let you cut his nails?

What to do if your dog won’t let you cut his nails?

Clipping your dog’s nails regularly is vital as this not only helps in keeping the nails clean but also stops the nails from growing, resulting in distress and discomfort to your companion. And, overgrown nails on your dog may hurt you as well.

However, the fear of nail cutting seldom disappears by itself and can get more intense as time passes. You should gradually train your dog so that when you clip his nails, he doesn’t react negatively. Nail cutting should be a relaxed and pleasant experience for the dog.

1. Make paw handling a habit for your dog

When your dog is calm, gently massage his shoulder and work your way down to his paws. Use a calming sound when softly rubbing his claws to keep him quiet. Then concentrate on the fingers, gently squeezing each one. 

After that, apply gentle pressure on the nail. If your dog becomes frightened or retracts his paw, take a break and resume only once he has calmed down. Treats can be used in addition to verbal rewards, but they are not a replacement for training. Stop both when the dog pulls his paw back, but don’t scold him. Repeat this method several times a day.

2. Take special care of the hair around the nails

Dogs, on the whole, have hair growth around each nail. Some pet owners have the practice of clipping pet nails while holding some loose hair and/or removing the hair with the dog nail clippers by yanking at it. It can, as you might think, produce intense pain (dog paws are very sensitive). Before clipping, remove any loose hair with your fingers. Take care not to yank at the hair.

3. Try to remove the dread of the dog clipper

The presence of a dog clipper can often be enough to scare dogs. It’s crucial to get your dog accustomed to looking at the dog clipper calmly in a relaxed manner. Keep a close eye on your dog and occasionally hold it when the dog is relaxed, such as time to eat or play. If your dog is not displaying distressful behavior, you can start by gently touching the clipper near the paw.

4. Calm the dog to cut nails

Before you attempt to clip your dog’s nails, make sure he is calm and comfortable. You can accomplish this by making some extra effort during his playtime. If your dog is already scared, the worst thing you can do is try to restrain or overpower him or treat him aggressively. 

When your dog is sitting calmly or lying down for a nap, try clipping his nails. If you restrain a dog to clip his nails by trying to hold his paws forcefully, it will just make him more afraid.

5. Trim the nails after a bath

Trimming your dog’s nails at the same time as washing them will make things easy for you and your dog. Bathing your dog first, on the other hand, will soften its nails and make it easy to cut them without applying too much pressure. Furthermore, massaging at the time of the bath is likely to relax and comfort him.

6. Be reassuring and patient when clipping

When cutting the dog’s nails, many dog owners make the mistake of persisting even when the dog exhibits fear and discomfort. It will just add to your dog’s anxiety and you are making the matters worse.

Recognize that your dog will need time to overcome the fear. Patience is essential for establishing trust and creating a comfortable environment. Cut a couple of nails at a time and pause when your dog gets agitated. Given time, your dog will eventually learn to relax in the presence of the clipper. 

7. Make a nail-clipping routine

If confidence is one of the most critical factors, then establishing a routine is another. The dogs are quick learners. With just a few repetitions, they memorize sounds, feelings, and experiences. You can take advantage of it. Just make sure that your dog associates nail clipping with something pleasant.

8. Clip dog nails by yourself

Except if your dog feels really comfortable with a particular groomer or veterinarian, it is best to trim your dog’s nails by yourself at home, more so if he is fearful. You can try DIY dog grooming at home. The presence of a stranger can exacerbate their fear. If your dog is still nervous about nail clipping, sedate him before nail clipping.


Cutting dog nails is never an easy process, but it can turn out to be nearly impossible and quite dramatic if your dog is nervous. To make it easier for both of you and to avoid getting hurt, don’t cut too much and teach your dog to be comfortable in the presence of nail clippers. 

If nothing works, bring down your dog’s anxiety with natural soothing drugs and calming remedies. There is nothing wrong if you sedate a dog for nail clipping.

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