How to restrain a large dog for nail clipping

How To Restrain A Large Dog For Nail Clipping | Step-By-Step

Nail clipping is an important dog grooming practice but the process can quickly become frustrating because so many dogs will usually take to their heels, hide away or worst of all become aggressive which is why I have put this article together to serve as a step by step guide on how to restrain a large dog for nail clipping so that the process can become an easy-peasy activity for dog owners like myself.

Dogs’ nails grow constantly just like humans’, and it can become too long such that it will cause the dog discomfort in walking if left unattended to, which is why it needs to be trimmed regularly.

However, we can’t ignore the fact that most dogs don’t like the process of nail clipping and in fact, it can turn into a scratching contest if you don’t properly restrain the dog.

Most dogs that shows displeasure in nail clipping do this mostly as a result of past experience. For example, if the dog’s nail had been clipped too short sometime in the past, and it had to go through some sort of pain.

Hence, it is important to gain an understanding of dog grooming restraint techniques in order to avoid hurting your dog or getting yourself injured.

So, does your dog take to its heels or becomes aggressive when he notices it’s times for nail clipping?

Below is step by step how to restrain a large dog for nail clippingKeep reading!

1. How To Restrain A Large Dog For Nail Clipping

Generally, most dogs do not like nail care activities and they will usually struggle during nail clipping while some dogs can even become aggressive to express their displeasure.

A dog that is displeased with nail clipping activities and as a result of this becomes aggressive can bite if given the opportunity.

Hence, the need to know how to properly restrain your dog during nail clipping so that you will avoid getting scratched or bitten while at the same time you are being careful not to injure the dog.

Listed out below are the two best dog grooming restraint techniques on how to restrain a large dog for nail clipping:

First Technique

  • Step 1: To start with, place the dog on a table so that he can be at your chest level to make the process easier.
  • Step 2: Stand right beside the dog with your chest pressing lightly against the dog’s upper body.
  • Step 3: Fold one arm over the dog’s neck so that you can quickly gain control of his head should in case he gets aggressive and attempts to bite you.
  • Step 4: Next, use your second hand to hold the dog underneath his under-arm so that you will be able to manage his movements without causing him pain. Alternatively, you can have your hand under the dog and lay hold of him in the front hips area around his stomach, that is if you have someone to assist you with trimming the nails while you hold the dog in place.
  • Step 5: If you will be doing the work alone, you will have to use the same hand held around the dog’s neck to hold his paws up while you use the other hand to hold the tool you will be using to do the trimming.
  • Step 6: Using your selected tool, be it a file, guillotine clipper, dremel, or scissors clipper, start trimming the dog’s nail but be careful not to put the dog through pain by trimming the nails too short.

Second Technique:

This second technique is best for dogs that can’t sit without moving around during grooming. Best example for this, is trimming a pup’s nails. puppy may growl, or move around as an indication of fear of getting his nails clipped before he gets used to nail clipping activity.

  • Step 1: In this second method, you are going to lay the dog on his side so that the dog’s toenails can be more accessible and it will be difficult for the dog to run off.
  • Step 2: Standing right behind the dog, lay the arm that’s nearest to the dog’s head on his neck and lay hold of his base front leg.
  • Step 3: Place your second arm on the dog’s back, right in front of the thighs and grab his paws. With this, you will be able to hold both paws together in one hand and it will be a lot easier to set them apart with a finger in-between, which means that you can avoid being scratched by the dog’s toenails if he moves.
  • Step 4: Lastly, start trimming the dog’s toenails carefully and without applying force so as to avoid cutting too deep.

Important Tips About Nail Clipping

  1. Use positive reinforcement: Never yell or scream at your dog if  he is not cooperating during nail grooming activities because if you do that, you will be giving the dog a wrong impression about nail grooming activities which is the last thing you would want to do. Remain calm and praise the dog after trimming a nail. You can offer the dog some treat after completing the nail clipping.
  2. Use appropriate nail clipping tools: Use an appropriate nail clipping tool such as a scissors clippers. Most importantly, make sure that you use a sharp tool so as to avoid putting the dog through unnecessary pain that a blunt tool can cause.
  3. Wear the dog out: Take your dog out and put him through some exercise to wear him out before the nail grooming activity. Doing this will reduce his energy level and he will have less energy to resist.
  4. Keep up with trimming the dog’s nail frequently: The dog will quickly overcome its fears and get used to nail grooming if you keep up with trimming the dog’s nails frequently.

In all these, bear in mind that you can be open to getting clawed or worst of all get bitten if you don’t restrain the dog proper before starting to trim its toenails.

Thus, ensure that you’ve had the dog under control before proceeding to trimming the nails so as to avoid getting scratched or bitten if the dog becomes aggressive.

Better still, you can put the dog on a muzzle for safety from bites.

If you’re unable to do this on your own, then it is best that you employ the service of a professional groomer.

Now that we know how to restrain a large dog for nail clipping, let’s inch further to discuss sedating a dog for nail clipping, if it’s necessary or not… Keep reading!

2. Sedating A Dog For Nail Clipping

Nail trimming is an important dog grooming practice that can’t be overlooked but as we mentioned at the beginning of this article, some dogs do not like the process of nail trimming and will struggle vigorously to avoid it, that’s when the idea of sedating a dog for nail clipping comes into play.

Generally speaking, sedating a dog for for nail clipping is not ideal and should only be considered a last resort for dogs that express maximal aggression and anxiety during nail clipping.

Below is everything you need to know about sedating a dog for nail clipping…

Sedating a dog for nail clipping

Is Sedation Really Necessary For Nail Clipping?

Sedation can be totally necessary in some cases whereby the dog is perceived to be at risk of getting itself or the groomer injured.

For example, sedation might be necessary for an extremely vicious and aggressive dog that often struggles with nail clipping.

Such a dog can injure itself trying to run off or at worst claw or bite the groomer.

Ofttimes, sedation is the absolute solution.

Nonetheless, always consult your veterinarian before administering a sedative to your dog because sedating your dog isn’t something that you should do on your own, considering that it can result into an unrepairable harm for the dog if not done correctly.

Medications that can be used to sedate a dog for nail clipping:

Listed below are some of the medications that can be used to induce a dog to sleep or put your pooch to a maximal state of calmness:

  1. Acepromazine: Acepromazine is a drug that is commonly used to calm a dog after and before a surgical operation. Acepromazine is a suitable medication that can be used to calm a dog for nail clipping but it has some potential aftereffects and could also result into allergic reactions and as such should only be administered to the dog by a veterinarian.
  2. Antihistamine: Antihistamine also known as diphenhydramine is a medication that is basically used to treat allergic reactions but with a positive aftereffect of drowsiness which makes it an optional medication to sedate a dog for nail clipping. Consult your vet to ascertain that this drug is safe for your dog as well as the proper dosage so as to avoid over dosage.
  3. Pheromone sprays: Pheromone sprays are effective for calming a dog and you can get one from the local pet store.
  4. Casein supplements: Casein supplements helps to calm a dog and it is also useful for reducing anxiety as well as to fend off acute emotions, and this makes it suitable to calm a dog for nail clipping.

Note: Try out natural methods of dog grooming restraint techniques before resorting to sedating your dog for nail clipping. Most importantly, ensure to consult your veterinarian for advice as to whether sedation will be safe for your dog as well as recommendation of drugs that you can use to that effect.

3. How To Restrain A Dog With A Towel

Another comfortable grooming restraint technique that dogs rarely resist for is the use of a towel.

This restraint technique works best for medium sized or short muzzled dogs.

Below is how to restrain a dog with a towel…!

How to restrain a dog with a towel

How to restrain a dog for nail clipping using a towel:

To start with, have the dog leashed and standing on a firm table surface.

Next, hold the thick towel at both ends and twist it.

Then, holding the towel like a letter “U”, gently wrap it around the dog’s neck and tie the knot so that it will not fall off.

4. How To Immobilize A Dog To Trim Nails

A dog that struggles or can’t stay put during nail clipping can get injured in the process.

That’s why we will be discussing at this point how to immobilize a dog to trim nails, so that you will know how to prevent your dog from moving around during nail clipping.

How to immobilize a dog to trim nails

How to immobilize a dog for nail clipping:

  • First and foremost, hold the dog close to your body by wrapping one hand round about his neck.
  • Wrap the other hand round about the dog’s stomach right in front of the thighs and hold up the paw in position for trimming or keep him in place by holding him under the arm.
  • Do not apply too much force than needed on the dog because if you apply too much pressure the dog may fight back by scratching you with its claws.

5. Aggressive Dog Nail Trimming

Nail trimming is probably one of the most dreaded dog grooming tasks, and it can become even more difficult with an aggressive dog.

Below is aggressive dog nail trimming technique that will help you if you have an aggressive dog that struggles frantically to avoid nail trimming…

Aggressive dog nail trimming

Tips for aggressive dog nail trimming:

First, you should play with the dog’s leg often so that you can get him to trust you to touch his feet.

Try massaging or playing with the dog’s leg for a space of one week. Remember to always praise the dog with a word such as “good boy” and offer him a treat after allowing you to hold his feet without growling or making an attempt to bite you.

If you are successful with practicing to hold the dog’s paws for the space of the one week, then you can make an attempt to trim one nail but ensure you get the dog occupied with some toys and treats while you hold his paws to trim one nail.

Gradually proceed to trimming the nails one at a time following the same procedure.

Also, you can try out different positions to see which your dog is more comfortable with.

Conclusion: How to restrain a large dog for nail clipping

Familiarizing a dog with grooming restraint techniques from tender age is very important and it helps a lot in minimizing that you have to struggle with your dog for nail clipping.

Hopefully, clipping your dog’s nails will be an easy-peasy activity with the tips stated above.

What’s been your experience with restraining a dog for nail clipping? Leave a comment below!

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