top of page

Nails Nails Nails

A trio of techniques 

Dog cartoon doing her nails

Ready to give at home nails a try? With a little up front work, you can give your dog a manicure at home - no trip to the groomer or vet required.

We will look at three ways to do nails:

  1. Standard Trimming

  2. Grinding

  3. Scratch Boards

If you need or want help with at home manicures, reach out. We are here for you. 


Standard Trimming

This is the most common way to trim a dog's nails. The key to success is to familiarize your dog with each component of the nail trim -- handling the paws, touching the nails, the clipping sounds, and the nail clippers should be introduced separately.

Griding a dog's nails

This video from Fear Free Happy Homes gives a quick overview of breaking down the steps for both standard trimming and for using a grinder.

I like to break the nail trimming steps down into very small increments to be sure your dog is comfortable at each step.  Click here to download Wiggle Butt's Nail Trimming Plan. There are some abbreviations in this plan, so reach out if you're having trouble with it. 



Grinding a dog's nails makes them smooth

Some dogs who have had a bad experience with standard nail trimming respond very well to grinding if never having experienced it before.  The key here is the slow and careful introduction to each of the components of grinding. The Fear Free video in the previous section includes a quick overview.

Keys to making this work include pairing each component of the grinding with the yummiest of treats.  Show the grinder, give the treat, hide the grinder - no more treats. We want to develop a positive emotional response to the grinder -- the dog will think "oh there's that thing that means cheese!"

Our favorite grinder is a cordless Dremel - it is affordable and the speed is adjustable in 5 levels enabling you to start slowly and build over time. Click here for a more grinder options.

The best way to get your dog used to a grinder is to use the plan from the Standard Trimming method above, but replace the clippers with the grinder. 


Scratch Board

Scratch boards can be the best friend for dogs with nail troubles. Boards can keep nails trim while you are working through a standard trimming or grinding plan. Scratch boards may also be your single go-to solution.

Here is a link to me making a scratch board.

Click here for a supplies list.

Here is a link to a video of our resident, Chewie, giving himself a scratch board manicure.

Click the link below the picture of the scratch board to read about how Bonnie, a trainer in Ireland, trained her dog to use a board to help her dog. 

When making your board, think creatively. Use a lower grit (40-very coarse or 60-coarse) on one side to make some quick progress. Use 100 grit, a finer grain, on the other side of your board to make the nails smooth and polished. 

Using a scratch board for your dog's nails

We are here for you if you are having trouble. Reach out!

bottom of page