Nail trims for your pet don’t need to be stressful thanks to this trainer’s four simple tips

Cat getting nails trimmed
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If there's one job that almost every pet parent hates, it's nail trims. Not only do most dogs and cats hate getting their nails cut, many of us fear we'll cut down too far and end up hurting our fur friend. 

But with the cost of living crisis in full swing around the world, learning how to clip a dog's nails or undertake cat nail clipping like a pro is a skill that will allow you to say goodbye to those costly trips to the groomers. 

With that in mind, registered vet technician and certified cat behavior consultant, Tabitha Kucera, has shared a helpful post to Instagram where she reveals her top four tips for taking the stress out of nail trims. Let's take a look...

1. Be patient and prepared: Kucera says it's important to be patient and calm when working with your pet. "Do not rush, there is no need to cut all nails at the same time, go at a pace your animal is comfortable with. Breaking down the nail trim process into several components and working on each individually makes for faster and more pleasant progress."

Before starting your pet's nail trim, make sure you have the right tools for the job. Kucera recommends scissor-style trimmers with a comfortable handle and a rubber coating to avoid them slipping when you're holding them. Check out our guides to the best dog nail clippers and the best cat nail clippers for a range of great options.

2. Allow your pet to maintain their chosen position: Some animals like lying on their side when having their nails trimmed while others prefer to be held while standing up. Find the position that works best for your pet. "I avoid stretching out legs, which can cause discomfort," says Kucera. "Providing a non-slip surface for cats and dogs to stand on, like a yoga mat, can help them feel more comfortable, especially if they have mobility issues or arthritis."

3. When touching, use a touch gradient: "Start with the least sensitive area first and once you have made contact, glide your hand from one body part to the next (neck to rear leg) instead of abruptly grabbing the leg and pulling the leg up or back," advises Kucera.

4. Pair it with something your animal enjoys: Kucera says that it's a good idea to offer your pet food or another distraction, such as a toy, before, during, and after any nail trimming session. Make sure that whatever you're giving your pet is something that they view as a reward as this will take the stress out of the nail trim and help them view it as a positive experience. 

Kathryn Williams
Freelance writer

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.