Tips and Tricks About Brushing, Bathing & Clipping Your Dogs Nails

Dog Care Grooming

Grooming your Dog is not only important for maintaining their health but it’s important for monitoring their bodies condition allowing you to notice if anything needs increased monitoring or veterinary attention. Below are some genral tips for you, and remember don't hesitate to ask your vet for any clarifications or advice.

  • Start as early as possible! Gently handle your pups paws, ears, and tail and praise them when they let you do so. Getting them comfortable with handling different parts of their body will make grooming a lot easier.

  • Start very slowly, and increase how much you do as your dog accepts it. You may only be able to clip one nail your first session…or maybe none at all! But be persistent and have lots of regular sessions in the beggining.

  • Don’t push your dog too far. A bad experience with grooming tools and overwhelming your dog will definitely set you back. Be sure to build trust and allow your dog to learn at their own pace.

  • Keep it positive and fun. Have lots of treats on hand and reward your dog when they behave how you want them too. Sitting nicely, accepting the tools are in front of them, and allowing you to touch them with your grooming tools with minimal or a postive reaction are all very deserving of a reward!

      No matter the type of fur your dog has you should brush it every couple of days. This will help keep your pup matt free and managing shedding. Additionally brushing also distributes your dogs natural oils and removes dead skin and debris keeping them comfortable and happy.

      Steps - Learning to Love the Brush:

        1. Start by letting your dog see and smell the brush and give them a small pat

        2. Keep the brush in front or beside them and reward and praise them. We want them to think the brush is good!  

        3. Once your dog is calm with the brush around them, begin brushing your dogs fur very slowly and reward them (lots of praise and a nice treat!).

        4. Keep your sessions very short and increase how much you brush them as they become more relaxed with the process.

        5. If your dog tries to run away to avoid interaction with the brush, give them a second and approach them with the tool. Allow them to inspect the tool again and praise them. End the session here and try again later!

        6. End on a good note! Give lots of praise and some treats when the session is all over to positively reinforce the experience and make it more pleasant and happy for your dog. 

        Extra Information About Brushing

        • Once your dog is comfortable having their fur brushed in the direction of their hair growth, occasionally brush in the opposite direction to view their skin and make sure it’s healthy and there are no fleas or dirt.

        • If your dog seems particularly uncomfortable, consider the type of brush you're using and the amount of pressure you're applying. I find a lot of people are quite rough with their dogs skin in an effort to get all the lose fur out.


          Bathing your dog can be quite the experience with water and fur in every direction; and lots of learning “the hard way.” Here are some info and tips to help you get ready for the ride that is…B-A-T-H time and ease into a nice routine for both indoor or outdoor bathing.  

          General Bathing Tips

          • A lot of people bath their dogs too much. Dogs should be bathed every couple of months or when they need it to remove filth and debris from their coat…we all know some dogs love mud that bit too much!

          • Ensure your dog has a suitable shampoo, low/unscented and gentle products are good to start off with when you're first starting out and learning about your dogs skin.

          • Apply the shampoo directly to your hands rather than to your dogs skin to avoid skin issues and then from there lather up your dogs already wet coat.

          Outdoor Bathing

          • Bathing your dog outside can be much more ideal to avoid lifting, slippery tiles ...and an escapee wetting all the house furniture.

          • Use the garden hose on low pressure and make sure you always test the temperature. If it's too hot you may need to run it for a while. It it’s too cold and the weather is cooler, you may want to use a few buckets of warm water instead

          Indoor Bathing

          • If you are bathing your dog indoors apply a non slip mats to the floor of the tub and next to the tub; this will help your dog feel more secure by providing a stable surface and reduce risk of falls/ slips

          • Ensure water runs down the drain rather than filling the bath up for safety

          • Use low water pressure and test the water temperature.

          • Get a few containers/ Ladles ready or a shower head and don't forget to close that bathroom door in advanced.


            Nail trimming can be super stressful when you’re first starting out and you can opt for a groomer or your local vet to clip them if you’re too worried. However it is doable and completely necessary to prevent breaks, tears, overgrown/ ingrown nails, soreness and posture problems.
            It’s also great to atleast start the process of training to make it easier for pet professionals to interact with and clip your dogs nails…you will be glad you did in the long run!

            General Tips and Info About Trimming Nails

            • As young as possible try and get your dog used to their paws being handled and touched. Look around their paw pads and hold their paw in place. Reward them when they are compliant and comfortable with this.

            • Ensure you inspect your dogs nails regularly. Pay particular attention to the dew claw. Dew claws are not in contact with the ground. This digit (toe) is small and much more prone to damage and becoming overgrown due to never being worn down

            • Some dogs may not need their nails trimmed regularly at all allowing very long periods of time between trims, but this is only usually the case for dogs that get regular outdoor exercise on hard surfaces such as concrete.

            • The Quick

              • Nail trimming needs to be done very carefully as it’s very easy to hurt your dog if you trim the ‘quick’
              • The Quick is where the nerves and blood vessels are located and if trimmed will start to bleed and be very painful.

            How Often Should I Trim My Dogs Nails?

            • Since your dogs nails grow in a curve their toes will begin to splay if their nails are not trimmed.

            • Nails should be trimmed about every two weeks (though all dogs are different).

            •  If you can hear your dogs nails click when they walk they very likely need to be trimmed 

            • If your dogs nails are quite overgrown - It may take multiple sessions of trimming before your dogs nails are reduced in length enough to stop their toes from splaying.

            Getting started with Clipping Nails

            • Pick a comfortable nail clipper that feels easy to grip and use. Be aware of where exactly the blade cuts and ensure you can see this clearly

            • Have cotton pads or gauze ready (ideally even styptic powder) in case you clip the quick and apply them for as long as ur dog will allow with moderate pressure to stop bleeding.

            Steps - Being Comfortable Around the Clippers:

            1. Let your dog see, smell and hear the noise of the nail clippers and give them a small pat keeping this experience for them very positive.

            2. Keep the clippers in front or beside them and reward and praise them. We want them to have a positive association with the clippers.

            3. Touch your clippers to your dogs foot. When they keep their foot in place reward and praise them.

            4. Then begin to hold your dogs paw and touch the clipper to their held paw. When they begin to become comfortable with this praise and reward them big time!

            5. If this is as far as your dog lets you get in your first session thats totally okay, just have lots of regular sessions until they become more comfortable.

            6. Clip off the very tip of the nail avoiding the quick. 

                  • For clear nails you are able to see the quick as a thin red line that runs through the nail

                  • For dark nails cut a very small amount off and look at the nail tip straight after each cut. When you start seeing a distinct pale oval in the tip with a darker centre, you’re near the vein and should stop cutting.


                      Important Info About Clipping Nails

                      • Importantly, ensure you are waiting 1-2 weeks in between cuts to allow the quick or blood supply to recede.
                      • This is really important as just because your dogs nails are overgrown, does not mean you can cut them to an ideal size in one session.

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                      References/ Helpful Links 

                      Bathing and Brushing
                      Clipping Nails
                      Clipping Nails, Brushing and Bathing
                      Clipping Nails

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