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Preparing Your Dog for a Less Stressful Nail Clipping

Preparing Your Dog for a Less Stressful Nail Clipping

Pets that visit a veterinary clinic are exposed to a less familiar environment. This causes stress in some dogs and they may express certain signs of stress such as impatience, hyperactivity, aggression, etc. Here are some tips to make your dog's pedicure much more pleasant:


Bring your Dog's Favourite Treat

It is more difficult to please a dog with treats in an unfamiliar environment. Try to discover your dog's favourite treat by regularly offering several choices at home. Then, bring us some of his favourite treats!


Arrange Transportation

The stress your dog feels can start as soon as the trip to the veterinary clinic begins. Try to make the transport pleasant, for example by walking to the clinic with your dog. Reward him throughout the trip.


Desensitize the Paws

This step is the most important of all. You simply need to gently handle your dog's paws on a daily basis. Start at the shoulders and hips, then slowly work your way down to the fingertips/toes, all the way to the nails. Reward him during these exercises and be sure to respect your dog's boundaries while making it an enjoyable experience. If the dog withdraws its paw, it means that you are going too fast. At the end of these exercises, you should be able to touch all of your dog's fingers and toes and even apply light pressure to them.


Make Regular Appointments

Long nails can be painful for dogs, who are essentially walking on their knuckles. If you have your dog's nails trimmed more regularly, you reduce the chances of pain and the sources of stress. As well, regular appointments prevent the need for cutting all nails at once, thus reducing the duration of visits and handling.


The “Give the Paw!” Command

Dogs love to learn tricks. The “give the paw!” command may help in some cases to cut the nails of the front paws in a very pleasant way.



Some products sold in veterinary clinics are designed to help reduce stress in dogs. Calming pheromones are available as a spray, wall diffuser or even as a collar.


Don’t hesitate to talk to your veterinarian about treatment options for stress management. Medication is commonly used in anticipation of a visit to a veterinary clinic, daycare, or grooming salon to reduce your dog's stress.