Whether you trim them yourself or have a groomer trim them for you, how to cut dog nails the right way is important. With the correct tools, like dog nail clippers, his favorite treats, and nail trimming techniques, you can master the skill to give your pup a pedicure!
1. Start by lifting your dog’s feet to see how comfortable he is with handling his paws.
2. Get down on the floor to avoid twisting your dog’s foot too much.
3. Pick your dog’s paw up and look at the underneath of the nail to see the quick.
4. Place the clipper at the very edge of the nail if you do not see a quick.
5. Hold the trimmer at a 45-degree angle.
6. Clip only the tip of the nail at a time. Stop. Review before continuing.
7. Hold his paw and nail up to the light and look into the center of the nail. Check for the quick, which looks like a dark inner circle at the center of the nail.
Tools you’ll need to trim your dog’s nails
Caring for your pup’s paws and learning how to clip dog nails requires a few essential tools to ensure your nail-trimming session goes smoothly.
Treats (it’ll make clipping nails easier for both of you!)
Room with lots of natural light.
An old towel or blanket that smells familiar to your dog (it’ll keep him calm).
Small pair of scissors to trim away fur around the nail.
Dog nail clipper or grinder, choice of various styles, e.g. guillotine, pliers, scissors.
Small dog nail file, to smooth out rough edges (also optional).
Styptic powder, cornstarch, benzocaine or baking soda to stop any bleeding
Nail-trimming for beginners
Dog nails that are light
When you trim your dog’s nails, the first thing to do is check to see where the quick inside the nail ends. If your dog has light-colored nails, you can see the soft, pink tissue in the center called the quick.
The quick includes a blood vessel and nerve and is easier to see on light dog nails. Hold your dog’s paw up to the light. The quick is visible through the nail and looks like a nail-within-a-nail. You must avoid cutting into the quick as it will bleed and causes your dog pain.
Dog nails that are dark
Learning how to clip dog nails that are dark is a little different from learning to trim light dog nails. The first thing you’ll notice is that you will not see the blood and nerve that makes up the quick through the nail.
To view the quick of the nail, gently lift your dog’s paw and look at the center of the unclipped nail head-on. If the nail has a small dark circle at the center, it indicates the beginning of the quick of the nail. Do not clip any nail that has a circle in the center as you’ll be clipping into the quick.
If you do not see the center-circle, snip off the smallest edge of the nail at 45 degrees. Check again to see if there is an exposed center-circle. Once you see the dark circle in the middle of the nail, you have clipped far enough. You must not cut into the quick as it will cause your dog pain and bleed.
What to do if you cut the quick
If you cut a nail too short and it begins to bleed, apply pressure to the tip of the nail to stop the bleeding, or dip the nail in the cornstarch or styptic powder. If the nail has bled, keep your dog calm and quiet so that the nail isn’t further damaged or injured with walking or running. The only other thing you’ll need is lots of treats!
As a dog parent, you want to do everything you can to care for your dog; this involves regular, everyday activities to ensure they stay happy and healthy. Practice these ten responsible dog care tips year after year for a lifetime of happy and healthy cats and dogs.
1. Veterinarian Visits
Responsible dog ownership starts with regular visits to the veterinarian. Given their shorter-than-human lifespan, your dog or cat should be getting a checkup at least once or twice a year. Depending on your dog’s vaccination schedule, they may go more frequently when they’re young, but establishing and maintaining good dog health means keeping up with vet visits as they age.
Trips to the vet can be, shall we say, challenging. Cats, in particular, may be averse to leaving the comfy confines of their home, but there are ways to reduce stress for both of you. Acclimating your cat to her carrier when she is a kitten is good practice (and avoids the running-away-and-hiding-under-the-bed scenario). Dogs tend to like going for car rides. Take your pup on joyrides, so he won’t associate getting into the car with going to the vet. And many dogs don’t mind a trip to the veterinarian’s office, especially if you choose a vet that’s a good fit for your little friend.
Vaccinating your dogs is a vital component of responsible dog care. Soon after welcoming your new dog into your home, schedule an immunization appointment. During your first visit, the vet will set up an immunization schedule for your little pup or kitten to protect them from illness and disease. Vaccinations for puppies should happen early in your puppies’ first few weeks after you bring him home. Talk to your vet at your first appointment, on when a good time to schedule that visit. They help prevent diseases such as rabies, Lyme disease, and distemper. Cats benefit from vaccines that prevent feline herpes virus, feline leukemia, and rabies. If you’ve adopted an adult or senior animal, make sure they are immunized, too. Vaccinations do need renewal and aren’t just for young dogs.
3. Proper Identification
If the unthinkable happens and your little guy or gal gets lost — youngsters, in particular, are prone to dashing out the door — having proper identification is the key to a happy ending. Start with the basics: a safe collar, and a tag that contains all of your contact information. In addition to an ID tag, microchipping your dog is advisable, because there’s always the chance a collar will fall off. The microchip, an electronic device about the size and shape of a grain of rice, is implanted under your dog’s skin and can be read by a scanner that pulls up your identification information. A combination of these forms of identification will go a long way to reuniting you and your beloved dog, but only if you keep your contact information up-to-date. Be sure to change your information on file with the microchip if you have a change in address or phone number.
Sterilizing your dog prevents a host of health problems, including complicated pregnancies, and reduces the number of homeless animals. Spaying your kitty (removing the uterus and ovaries) greatly reduces her risk for cervical cancer, eliminates the risk of ovarian cancer, and prevents her from going into “heat.” That minimizes the chance that she’ll stray from home in search of a partner, and any nearby male cats will be less aggressive (and they won’t spray to mark their territory, something that benefits you and your furniture). Neutering your puppy helps alleviate aggression and roaming the neighborhood, and will prevent him from getting testicular cancer. Because spaying or neutering is a surgery that requires general anesthesia, your dog will likely stay overnight at the vet’s office for at least one night for observation and recuperation.
5. Healthy Food
Two connected elements of responsible dog ownership include providing animals with fresh, cool water and healthy food at all times. The right dog food will enrich your best buddy’s life, providing them with the energy and nutrients they need. With so many meal options to choose from, it can be daunting, but you can become adept in no time by familiarizing yourself with important ingredients and how they help your pup or kitty. When choosing the best cat food, look for a good balance of protein, carbs, and fats. These are important ingredients for dog food, too, as is plenty of fiber for the digestive system. In addition to healthy ingredients, select a dog food formula that is appropriate for your dog’s age, health conditions and activity level, and speak to your vet before switching your dog to a specialized food.
6. At-Home Care
As your dogs’ caretaker, your job is to provide them with good hygiene habits at home as well as at the vet’s or groomer’s. Brushing their teeth, combing their coats and providing them with healthy food all keeps them in tip-top shape. To stay on track with responsible dog care, schedule hygiene and grooming tasks in your calendar and try combining tasks, such as a comforting comb after trimming nails, until it becomes routine.
7. Comfy Quarters
As the seasons change or you rearrange your living space, take a look around to see that you’re providing your dog with a safe, cozy habitat. Dog bed looking a little flat? Buy your pup a new one. Litter box area not cutting it anymore? Spruce up your kitty’s bathroom with a new box and scoop. This also is a good time to check for potential hazards. Look for exposed cords or wires (young animals find these to be great chew toys), secure safety gates, repair loose windows or screens and remove any plants that are poisonous to your dog.
One of the most important aspects of responsible dog care is ensuring your dog or cat is well-trained, and proper socializing is a part of that. Starting when they’re young is the best and most effective, but it’s never too late to learn new tricks. Toilet training is the number one priority for any animal with whom you share your home, as is working on obedience training. Learning socialization skills will help your puppy or kitten bond with you and with other dogs. Ask your vet or local animal shelter for recommendations for good trainers in your area or at-home training guides to read. A well-trained dog is a happy dog, and that translates to a happy dog parent.
9. Following Dog Park Rules
Taking your dog outside to play is one heck of a good time, and, being the social creatures they are, dogs love a good romp outdoors. If you decide to take your pup to a dog park, abide by the posted rules. Proper dog park etiquette, such as bringing your own toys and not bringing in food, keeps everyone safe, especially if a dog is aggressive or under-socialized. Bring along treats for afterward to reward your guy for his good behavior. Vets also recommend that you wait until your dog is at least four months old before bringing him to the dog park to ensure he’s vaccinated before being exposed to other animals.
10. Safe Playtime
It’s no secret that dogs and cats love to play, and it’s an effective relationship-building activity. Take stock of their toys. Are they safe? Be mindful of threadbare stuffed toys that pose choking hazards and hard, sharp edges that could cause injury. Throw away and replace playthings that are worn out. Making DIY cat toys and dog toys is a great, inexpensive way to bring even more fun to dog parenting!
Remember, these tips aren’t applicable just during dog holidays — make them part of your regular dog parenting role, and you and your dogs will reap the benefits for a lifetime!
Ok, he’s finally home. Training needs to begin immediately, considering the new pattern on the rug, not to mention the dog’s breakfast he’s made of your new Manolo Blahnik strappy sandals. But where should you start?
Whether you train your new puppy or dog yourself, take classes, or hire a private trainer, some basic training tips should be tackled right out of the gate. These top 10 tips from professional dog trainers at the top of their game will help get you going.
Aside: When your puppy is old enough, think about getting him or her neutered or spayed, likewise if you adopt a dog. A neutered or spayed dog is more docile, less aggressive, and maybe more open to successful training.
Top 10 dog training tips
Choose your dog’s name wisely and be respectful of it. Of course, you’ll want to pick a name for your new puppy or dog that you love, but for the purposes of training, it also helps to consider a short name ending with a strong consonant. This allows you to say his name so that he can always hear it clearly. A strong ending (i.e. Jasper, Jack, Ginger) perks up puppy ears—especially when you place a strong emphasis at the end.If he’s an older dog, he’s probably used to his name; however, changing it isn’t out of the question. If he’s from a shelter, they may neglect to tell you that he has a temporary name assigned to him by staff. If he’s from a breeder, he’ll come to you with a long name, which you may want to shorten or change. And if he’s coming out of an abusive situation, a new name may represent a fresh start. But we’re lucky: dogs are extremely adaptable. And soon enough, if you use it consistently, he will respond to his new name.
New name or old, as much as possible, associate it with pleasant, fun things, rather than negative. The goal is for him to think of his name the same way he thinks of other great stuff in his life, like “walk,” “cookie,” or “dinner!”
Decide on the “house rules.” Before he comes home, decide what he can and can’t do. Is he allowed on the bed or the furniture? Are parts of the house off-limits? Will he have his own chair at your dining table? If the rules are settled early, you can avoid confusion for both of you.
Set up his private den. He needs “a room of his own.” From the earliest possible moment give your pup or dog his own, private sleeping place that’s not used by anyone else in the family, or another pet. He’ll benefit from short periods left alone in the comfort and safety of his den. Reward him if he remains relaxed and quiet. His den, which is often a crate, will also be a valuable tool for housetraining.
Help him relax when he comes home. When your puppy gets home, give him a warm hot water bottle and put a ticking clock near his sleeping area. This imitates the heat and heartbeat of his littermates and will soothe him in his new environment. This may be even more important for a new dog from a busy, loud shelter who’s had a rough time early on. Whatever you can do to help him get comfortable in his new home will be good for both of you.
Teach him to come when called. Come, Jasper! Good boy! Teaching him to come is the command to be mastered first and foremost. And since he’ll be coming to you, your alpha status will be reinforced. Get on his level and tell him to come using his name. When he does, make a big deal using positive reinforcement. Then try it when he’s busy with something interesting. You’ll really see the benefits of perfecting this command early as he gets older.
Reward his good behavior. Reward your puppy or dog’s good behavior with positive reinforcement. Use treats, toys, love, or heaps of praise. Let him know when’s he’s getting it right. Likewise, never reward bad behavior; it’ll only confuse him.
Take care of the jump up. Puppies love to jump up in greeting. Don’t reprimand him, just ignore his behavior and wait ’til he settles down before giving positive reinforcement. Never encourage jumping behavior by patting or praising your dog when he’s in a “jumping up” position. Turn your back on him and pay him no attention.
Teach him on “dog time.” Puppies and dogs live in the moment. Two minutes after they’ve done something, it’s forgotten about. When he’s doing something bad, try your chosen training technique right away so he has a chance to make the association between the behavior and the correction. Consistent repetition will reinforce what’s he’s learned.
Discourage him from biting or nipping. Instead of scolding him, a great way to put off your mouthy canine is to pretend that you’re in great pain when he’s biting or nipping you. He’ll be so surprised he’s likely to stop immediately. If this doesn’t work, try trading a chew toy for your hand or pant leg. The swap trick also works when he’s into your favorite shoes. He’ll prefer a toy or bone anyway. If all else fails, break up the biting behavior, and then just ignore him.
End training sessions on a positive note. Excellent boy! Good job, Jasper! He’s worked hard to please you throughout the training. Leave him with lots of praise, a treat, some petting, or five minutes of play. This guarantees he’ll show up at his next class with his tail wagging—ready to work!
If you frequently take your dog on day-long excursions, you don’t have to carry all his supplies in addition to your own. Instead, get your dog a backpack and let him help you out! With a backpack, your canine companion can carry his own water, food, treats, and other necessities when you’re out and about for the day. If you have a hyperactive dog, using a weighted dog backpack can also help calm him down and give him a better workout every time you go for a walk.
We reviewed dozens of dog backpacks to identify the best of the best. Durability, comfort, and adjustability were some of the most important factors we took into consideration. We also looked at whether each backpack could be converted into a dog harness. We narrowed our search down to 3 of the best dog backpacks on the market today.
1. Tailup™ Dog Hiking Backpack
Whether you like to take your dog hiking or you just need a reliable gear-carrying harness for your service animal, the Tailup™ Dog Hiking Backpack is an excellent carry option. It’s made from water-resistant 600D double-layer polyester, offering excellent durability and lightness, and also has a soft mesh-lined underside for breathability and comfort.
Size: S, M, L
Color: Red, Green, Pink, Black, Blue, Orange
Suit for: Small Dog, Medium Dog, Large Dog (From 7.5 kg to 40 kg)
Material: Oxford, Mesh, Neoprene
2. Chicdog™ Dog Backpack Harness
Specially designed for pet travel, with adjustable straps. Quick install before traveling and quick removal when pet rests. This saddle bag can store water, food, and a toy. Oxford cloth, waterproof, UV proof, lightweight and breathable. Durable, large-sized zippered bag on each side. Convenient to keep goods/essentials for you and/or your pet.
Size: M, L
Color: Camouflage Green
Suit for: Medium Dog, Large Dog
Material: Oxford, Mesh, Neoprene
3. Lovoyager™ Dog Hiking Backpack Waterproof
With enough storage capacity for multiple-day trips, trekking or camping packs feature a lightweight design and are often made from highly durable and waterproof materials. This is a good choice for adventurous dog owners!
Size: M, L
Suit for: Medium Dog, Large Dog
Material: Waterproof Nylon
Why You Should Buy A Dog Backpack Harness
Your Dog Gets More Exercise: Do you have a rambunctious dog that you just can’t seem to tire out, no matter how many walks you take him on? Well, I am happy to tell you that having your dog carry a saddle bag and some of his belongings will help tire him out, calm him down, and have him to falling straight to sleep upon arriving home!
Makes it easier to find your dog: Have you ever had one of those moments out on the trail where you can’t for the life of you see where Mr. Waggy McTail is hiding? I know that I have. Buying a brightly-colored saddle bag helps solve this problem, especially if you happen to be walking near areas that allow hunting.
Gives him something to do: From seeing-eye dogs and sniffer dogs to sled dogs and seizure alert dogs – it’s pretty simple, dogs just love having a job to do. It gives them real purpose! Giving your dog a pack to carry will give him a sense of purpose and a job. This is especially the case for certain task-focused breeds, like collies and retrievers.
It means they can come on more trips: Are you an avid hiker but haven’t had enough room in your pack for Fido to come along on your adventures? Well, now that he’s prepared to carry his own gear, you can get ready for more adventures together. That old saying that, “life is better shared” definitely rings true here!
A discreet poop carrying method: We all know that feeling of setting off on a walk and having your dog do his business right away. You’re then forced to carry a steaming bag of poop for the rest of your “romantic stroll” with your partner. But, with a doggie backpack, we can finally say, “enough” and get our furry friends to carry their own messes!
Frequently Asked Questions
Which size should I buy?
It depends entirely on the breed and size of dog that you have. While many companies offer a rough guide for certain breeds, we always recommend getting out the tape measure and measuring your dog to ensure optimal fit. After all, having an ill-fitting pack for your dog can cause rubbing and bald patches, or even injury to the back.
What is a safe weight limit for my dog to carry?
Again, this varies by breed – with some notoriously tough canines able to carry as much as 25 percent of their own bodyweight. This is the exception, though, and the majority of dogs are only able to carry 10-15 percent of the ideal body weight for their height/breed.
Is Dog Backpack Harness safe?
They are, indeed! As long as you buy the right size, don’t overfill it, and double check that it’s fitted correctly – you should be A-OK!
Can puppies wear them?
The minimum age for a dog to wear a backpack while carrying things inside of it is one year. For puppies under that age, you can begin to train them to wear the backpack, but no items should be placed in the pack, as their musculoskeletal structure is still growing, and excess weight during this period could be detrimental.
Won’t it hurt my dog’s back?
No. A properly-sized, well-fitted, and correctly-laden pack shouldn’t cause any problems. However, if your dog suffers from back problems or joint disease that makes carrying weight harder for them – they should not wear a Dog Backpack Harness.
How long will it take to train my dog to carry stuff?
This depends on your training schedule, the age of your dog, and his level of obedience thus far. But, it’s usually no more than a few sessions until they’re pretty used to it!
A life filled with adventure is the best kind! So, why not outfit your furry best friend so that he’s ready for all the fun life can throw at him?
Whether you’re just planning a trip to the dog park, or want to go further afield on a multi-day hiking expedition, a Dog Backpack Harness is a great addition to your pet gear. Not to mention, it will make your dog feel like he’s truly a part of the gang and give him a job to do!
With the added health benefits he’ll get from changing up his exercise routine by carrying some weight, you’ll also help to keep your dog healthy for the long run.