If you are a new pet parent, trimming a dog’s nails is probably something new to you. However, nail clipping should definitely be a part of your dog grooming routine.
If you are doing this for the first time, let us help you with your request, how to sedate a dog for nail clipping. The nail clipping process is something you should thoroughly plan, step by step, in order to make this experience as easy as it can be. Why?
Because your pooch needs to be prepared for his nail clipping as he will probably resist it. There is a chance that your favorite friend will even try to bite you to stop the nail clipping from happening.
When your dog sees you pulling out your nail clippers, be sure that he will not be peaceful and sit still. That’s why you should probably use some sedatives before the nail clipping process starts, to calm him so you can do your job under calm conditions.
However, if you are worried about health problems that may occur when using meds and sedatives, we’ve listed some alternative nail clipping methods that you can check out and try too.
Even though dogs are considered truly happy animals, they won’t be happy about something they don’t like. Be sure that nail clipping is something they do not look forward to.
Now, let’s check out some tips and tricks on how to sedate a dog for nail clipping for those of you that own an anxious dog when it comes to this challenging grooming exercise.
What Is The Best Way To Sedate A Dog?
A grooming task that many dog owners forget about is definitely nail clipping. However, just because lots of owners forget about it, that doesn’t mean it isn’t important. On the contrary, it is necessary because dogs’ nails often get out of control.
Luckily, nail clipping does not require anesthesia, as more complex procedures would, for example, you would definitely need anesthesia for pitbull ear cropping.
Unclipped nails can cause irritation, injury, and even infection. Delaying the nail trimming process will not make things easier. So, know that clipping your dog’s nails is not just for aesthetic purposes, but it is also important for your dog’s health.
On one side, there are the dogs that are not scared of this process, and it just annoys them a little bit, but on the other side, we have dogs that are terrified as soon as you mention nail clipping in front of them .
It’s important that you teach your dog that nail clipping is something they have to get used to, because it is something that you are going to do routinely for the rest of their lives. Teach them that they have nothing to be scared of with this grooming task, that the clipping does not hurt them, and that they don’t need to cause so much drama.
No one said it’s going to be easy, but we know it will be worth it! We’ve prepared some methods that you can use before the nail trimming process starts ,and most importantly, some methods that both you and your dog can agree on.
This may take some time, but it’s well worth the work. The goal here is to get your dog so comfortable with the process that they will just sit still and hold out their paw.
Let’s learn some tips and tricks on how to sedate a dog for nail clipping!
We will start with a natural sedative solution called aromatherapy. We know that when we go for a massage, you can sense nice smells that are used to calm our nerves and muscles in the treatment room.
You can also use this technique on your dog, as aromatherapy will relax your dog and help him to fall asleep. If you have lavender oil in your kitchen cabinet, great! With the lavender oil, massage your dog so he relaxes. Put some lavender oil on your fingers and massage the back of its head and down the base of his spine.
While you massage him, cortisol will not be produced by his body and this will reduce the stress your dog feels. After you have massaged your dog, make sure that you observe when he is calm enough, then you will be ready for your task, pick up your nail clippers, nail grinder, or nail file.
To calm your dog you can use supplements, such as melatonin, which will sedate him before you start nail clipping.
Melatonin is a hormone that comes from the pineal gland, it works like a sleeping hormone and helps an animal to go into a deep sleep at night. Its levels can vary in the winter, depending on the number of hours that are daylight.
If you want your dog to feel like his mom is around him, you should definitely use products that have pheromone in them, because this hormone can have a motherly scent to your dog, and what can keep your dog reassured and calm better than the smell of his mother?
When nursing, all mammals produce pheromones. A puppy’s mother releases the hormone and it has a calming effect and keeps the puppy feeling safe and sound.
Where can you find pheromones in products? You can find it in a Comfort zone diffuser, an Adaptil spray and collar, and a Sentry calming collar. These products are very easy to use. You should just put the collar on your dog’s neck, then connect the diffusers to a wall and slowly release the content that will calm your dog.
Another natural way of sedating your pet for nail clipping is to use herbal pills and oils that are especially made for dogs. A few examples of these products are Valerian tablets, Dorwest Herbs, and Scullcap.
This herbal method is good because herbs are great for relieving fatigue from travel, restlessness, and anxiety. Herbal medicines can control the effects of hyperactivity and epilepsy in dogs, so I think that using this method for sedating your dog could be the right choice.
Prepare a chamomile tea, in which you will soak your dog’s favorite treat. Then you can give it to him to eat. If you want a more relaxing effect, you can make a chamomile tea with catnip, hot water, and you can also add a small amount of honey.
6. Sedation With Prescription Drugs
Some sedatives are only accessible as prescription drugs, so in order to get them, you’ll need to contact and see your vet.
There are a few prescription drugs available that will calm your dog to the extreme or induce sleep in your dog.
Acepromazine is a strong drug that is used to calm down dogs before and after their surgical procedures. It should only be used if it’s supervised by a professional.
Some dog owners use it to calm their dog before nail clipping.
However, you must be aware that Acepromazine may have some side-effects. These could be low blood pressure or an allergic reaction and it can’t be used with other medications. The good thing about it, is that it is not as addictive as Diazepam.
Diazepam is a common name for Valium. Diazepam is a controlled substance, is profoundly regulated, and is not FDA-approved to be used by dogs. But, veterinarians have the ability and knowledge to prescribe it, as it can be used for many problems, including stress.
If your dog really can’t come to terms with the fact that his nails need to be trimmed, diazepam may be a good choice. However, you will need to consult with your vet as he is the only one that can approve its use.
However, there could be potential side effects when using Diazepam. It is very strong and doesn’t cooperate with other medications. Also, it can be very addictive because dogs can develop an addiction to Valium. But, on the plus side, veterinarians have methods to prevent addiction from happening.
How Can I Sedate My Dog Over The Counter?
If you would like to sedate your dog with over-the-counter drugs, luckily for you, we have some of them listed here. These are some of the sedatives that can help you with your original question: How to sedate a dog for nail clipping?
Sedatives like these will block the central nervous system, which will result in your dog being completely calm and relaxed. You can avoid spending a lot of money on a groomer or vet. You could sedate them yourself using this method and then clip your dog’s nails while they are sedated.
Concerning the dosage, be aware that you need to use the correct dose appropriate for your dog’s size, keeping in mind that small dogs don’t need as large a dose as large dogs.
Now, let’s see:
• Natural sedation methods: Herbs such as valerian, rosemary, California poppy, and chamomile will work as natural relaxants.
• Calming bites: Most calming bites are made with natural ingredients that will help with your dog’s stress.
• Melatonin supplements: These supplements will help in the regulation of body rhythm, which will lead to a calmness in your dog.
• Benadryl or diphenhydramine HCL: An antihistamine that is extremely helpful with allergies. However, they are an unusual anti-anxiety therapy too.
Regardless of this information, I must inform you that Benadryl can cause potential side effects, like cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and in the worst cases, glaucoma.
What To Do If My Dog Won’t Let Me Cut His Nails?
Let’s see what else you can do to calm and relax your dog before their trimming session.
Use The Appropriate Tools
You need to get the right tools for nail clipping, as cheap tools are probably going to cause harm to your dog and pinch their nails.
Do not save on grooming tools as you will need them very often, invest in top-quality nail clippers that are sharp. You can also buy a grinder so you can be more precise, these are good if you want to round off the nails. They might be more pleasant for your dog because there is no sudden cut with them.
Be ready to give your dog some time to sniff around the object and see that it isn’t dangerous for them. I’m saying this because grinders are loud, so they might scare your dog away and you might have problems catching him again.
Tire Your Dog Out
Let’s burn some calories! As funny as it sounds, this is a highly effective way to succeed in nail trimming without your dog stressing as much.
Just before the trimming session, go for a run, let your dog be your jogging buddy, after that, play with them for a while and voila!
You will have a tired dog that has no choice but to be still while you’re doing the harder part of the exercise. After you’re done, they’ll see that nail clipping is not a big deal at all.
With positive reinforcement, you can’t go wrong. Who likes to be yelled at? No one, including your dog. You can’t make him stay still if you yell at him to stay still.
You must bring positivity into the grooming process, so they can associate positive things with nail trimming sessions.
So next time you’re clipping your dog’s nails, you need to be calm in order to ensure your dog is calm. This means that you need to talk calmly to your dog. After you finish one nail, give him some words of praise, and after you’ve finished with the whole process, reward him and give him plenty of love so he knows he did great!
Soon enough, your dog and you will have no trouble with this grooming task.
Regular Trimming Is A Must
If you want to get your dog used to nail trimming, you need to trim your dog’s nails frequently. If you only do the nail clipping once in a while, your dog will not be comfortable with it, I can tell you that firsthand. It is ideal if you can do it every couple of weeks.
If you start to trim your dog’s nails often, he will have more opportunities to overcome all the torments that clipping used to cause him. The benefit of regular trimming is that the nails will be in good shape, and the quick that is short, will minimize the risk of irritation and pain to your dog.
My advice is that every now and then you walk your dog on rough and hard surfaces, like the sidewalk or concrete pavements in order to let the scratchy ground “polish” their nails. This way, you will have less work to do with your dog’s nails and the next clipping session you will do will be easier and faster.
Nail Clipping Process
You can try doing your dog’s nail clipping session while the dog is doing his sleeping session. However, be prepared, because a dog’s feet are just as sensitive when they’re asleep, as they are when the dog is awake.
When you’re starting the nail clipping process, use nail clippers or scissors that have sharp stainless steel blades. If you decide to use nail grinders or nail trimmers, be careful not to hurt your pet.
As far as position is concerned, you can put your dog in your lap or you can hold him, it’s important that the position is comfortable for the dog. Someone could also give you a hand by holding him while you’re trimming his nails.
Once you have comfortably positioned your dog, spot the cutting range that is the safest, use the tool you decided on and cut the nail bit by bit. And, we cannot stress to you enough how important it is that you reward your dog after you’ve cut each nail. This is crucial for a dog because he will be calmer and you will be providing positive reinforcement to him by doing this.
When you see two black dots on the nail, you need to stop clipping. Avoid reaching the quick, which is the very soft inner part of the nail and will cause pain to your dog if you cut it.
We know that accidents can happen to anyone, and that sometimes you might reach the dog’s nail quick and accidently cut it. But, don’t be afraid if you see that the quick is bleeding. You should put ice cubes on the wounded nail, or put some pressure on the tip of the nail.
When you decide that it’s time for nail clipping, ensure you show patience and understanding to your pup. And next time, when you see the black dots, that’s where you need to stop cutting the nail.
RELATED: Can I Walk My Dog After Cutting The Quick? Here’s What You Should Do
Alternative Nail Clipping Methods
• Dremel tools – use these instead of nail clippers to cut the nail.
• Clip time when it’s sleep time – use a clipper that makes no sound.
• Buy sandpaper and put it on the ground – let the dog scratch at it while showing him how to do it. Watch him to be sure that he is not hurting himself.
• Use a collar stand – many groomers use a collar stand when they trim dogs’ nails, you can too, get yourself a collar stand that you can attach to a wall or hook to a floor-based stand.
• Invest in a rough mat – these are designed to wear down long nails, so your dog can scratch on it While doing this, he will do his own trimming and filing without even noticing.
• Buy a good nail grinder – a nail grinder consists of rotary barrels that serve like sandpaper, however, you should look for the best nail grinder possible.
• Set up a sling – when in a collar stand, dogs still have a lot of space to wiggle around, so you could use a sling as it provides more control.
• Buy a body wrap – with these you can wrap up your dog’s body, this will slow down your dog’s heart rate, and they will feel comfortable and safe.
• Treat training – after every nail is cut, give your dog a treat. They will look forward to another treat, so they will probably stay still while you do their next nail.
• Reward your dog – after you have finished the nail clipping process, praise your dog because he’s been so good during the treatment. Later on, he will associate trimming with a positive experience and you won’t have any problems the next time you clip his nails.
To Wrap Up
If you don’t trust yourself with any of the above listed methods for how to sedate your dog for nail clipping, you can always go to the groomers or your vet and let them do it. Make sure to bring your dog’s favorite toys to help him reduce his anxiety levels.
Bear in mind that nail clipping is more important than choosing the best bernedoodle haircut. And you should definitely not overlook this grooming task.
The easiest and most effective way to calmly nail clip is to sedate your dog. However, you should always try to use natural methods, as this is a far healthier option. Natural sedation has a calming effect on a dog and, another plus is that you don’t have to worry about side-effects.
Nonetheless, you have every right to talk about all your options with your vet.
Good luck with your next nail clipping session!
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