Many pet Greyhound
owners are nervous of clipping their dogs' nails (for
some reason, with Greyhounds everyone calls claws nails!). However
it's quite easy once you know a couple of key tips...
1. When to clip
If your dog gets a lot of walking on hard surfaces, the nails may not
need clipping at all, or only the front paws may need clipping. Otherwise
you'll need to trim them, perhaps once a month or so.
It's OK for your dog to audibly click-click with their claws as
they walk on hard surfaces, but when they're standing still there
should be a slight gap between each nail and the ground. You can
check this by trying to slide a piece of paper under them.
Some dogs have the doggy equivalent of "flat feet" and
will never wear their nails down to the right length whatever walking
they do, and the test with a piece of paper doesn't apply. If you're
not sure, ask at your vet's - veterinary nurses are often expert
and will quickly tell you the best length, and many run clinics to
These nails in the photo are OK, they are worn down rather than
cut, but about the maximum length you should allow.
2. How to clip
Black nails are harder to clip than white ones because you can't
see the quick (which is a pinkish shape inside the nail). The quick
keeps growing with the nail, down towards the end of the nail,
so if you let the nail grow too long you can't cut it right back
without cutting into the quick. Cutting the quick is painful and
causes bleeding. So the thing is to clip little and
Use a pair of proper dog claw clippers, nice and sharp. Cut more
or less vertically (relative to the nail's normal position when
the dog is standing), and cut off just a millimetre or so at a
time, so that it's the tip of the nail
that you're cutting through, not the whole thing.
Hold the nail firmly so it doesn't move, then cut FAST. This is
the other crucial aspect - you need to really commit to
the cut and close the clipper handles with speed and power, rather
than squeezing. If you bring the pressure on gradually by squeezing,
the claw will compress and the quick will be squashed, bringing
an early squeak from your dog and putting both of you off the whole
3. After step 1
This photo shows the nail after the first snip off the tip...
Repeat to take another millimetre or so off, then quit while you're
ahead. If you hurt your Greyhound it will all become more difficult
next time, and you'll be tempted to put it off as well. With the
tip cut back, the remaining nail end will wear down much faster
and the quick will recede ready for next time.
forget the Dew claws on the indside of the front legs, if they
get too long they'll be more likely to catch in things.
If you have a dog who's had bad experiences in the past, he may
get very anxious as you get ready. It rarely happens but if it
seems so bad you're unsure whether he might snap at you out of
fear, use your muzzle to start with. After a few pain-free sessions
he'll start to relax.
Another way to help if your Greyhound is yelping in anticipation
of pain, is to have someone lift him up while you trim his nails.
For some reason, if they're being lifted Greyhounds generally don't