You’ve probably spent time ensuring your doxie’s coat is kept shiny and that they’re the best dressed at the dog park. One piece of their grooming routine that isn’t quite as easy? Cutting your dachshund’s nails. While cutting our own (human) nails may seem incredibly banal, for your pup, it can be stressful and scary. By taking the time to get them comfortable with your at-home nail salon, you’ll be setting yourself up for much happier paws.
Set the mood
Find a moment when your pup is particularly at ease to cut their nails. Whether that’s after a walk, a favorite treat, or a snuggle session on the couch, your dachshund will be more likely to give the nail clippers a shot when they’re already feeling calm. You’ll want to sit your dachshund on your lap, where you can securely hold them in place and prevent wriggling away, too.
Use the right equipment
The nail clippers in your bathroom cabinet aren’t going to cut it. Many recommend scissor-like nail clippers, which can also be the most user-friendly, since you can use them from multiple angles. Another option — preferable for pups that really hate having their nails clipped — is nail grinders. Though they don’t sound very gentle, they essentially sand your dachshund’s nails down instead of cutting them. Regardless of which tool you use, make sure the blades, or sanding band in the case of the grinders, are sharp.
Short, but not too short
Cutting your dachshund’s nails is relatively painless for your pup, unless you accidentally cut the quick. If you’re not familiar with the quick yet, it’s a vein and a nerve that runs down the base of the nail. Unfortunately, the darker your dachshund’s nails are, the harder it is to see the quick, so air on the conservative side. Cutting it accidentally causes bleeding, and while your pup will certainly recover, it’s painful. To avoid the quick, cut or grind each nail at about a 45-degree angle to the point where you can see just some white inside the nail with a tiny black dot in the center, which is your warning that you’ll hit the quick if you go much further While the amount of nail that needs to be cut will depend on how long your pup’s nails are, cutting 1 to 5 millimeters each time you clip their nails is a good baseline rule of thumb. The end goal is for your dachshund’s nails to be short enough that they don’t touch the ground when standing, according to the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation, but still long enough that they would provide some traction when digging or climbing uphill.
Start them young
If you get your pup used to nail clippers when they’re just a puppy, it’ll be much easier to cut their nails throughout their life. Just as positive reinforcement helps with easing them into car rides, the same can be said for the nail clippers. Before you even introduce them to the clippers, praise your doxie for letting you touch their paws. Once they’re comfortable letting you handle their paws, bring out the clippers and reward your dachshund with treats just for being around the nail clippers. The more positive association with anything related to cutting their nails, the better. When they’re completely chill around the clippers (and mostly excited about the treats), you can move on to starting to cut their nails.
It’s also important to note that dachshund’s nails grow faster when they’re puppies, so when they’re young, you may need to cut their nails as frequently as once a week. As they grow, and spend more time on hard surfaces like concrete and pavement which have some natural trimming effects, you can reduce clippings to every couple of weeks. If you hit a point where you can hear your dachshund’s nails making a high heel type noise as they prance through your house, you’re overdue for a clipping.
You can always take your pup to the groomer or vet to get their nails trimmed if you’re too nervous to do it yourself. But, if you take the time to get your doxie comfortable around the clippers and keep their nails healthy by cutting them regularly, you’ll be puppy manicurist of the year!