How To Trim Your Miniature Schnauzer’s Nails At Home

As your dog’s nails grow long and curve towards the ground, not only will they start to resemble eagle talons, they’ll also start to put your dog at risk for injury and long-term health issues. 

When your dog’s nails are long enough to reach the ground, they painfully push back into your dog’s toes with every step. Your dog may start to shift their weight back onto their paw pads. This awkward change in posture can lead to muscle strain and joint pain over time. 

Learn to trim your Miniature Schnauzer’s nails at home to keep those paws neat and healthy. 

What You’ll Need To Trim Your Miniature Schnauzer’s Nails

You can use nail clippers or a nail grinder to keep your dog’s nails trimmed.

Only use dog nail clippers to trim your dog’s nails, not clippers you’d use on yourself, as your dog’s nails are thicker and harder than a human’s. Cat nail clippers can sometimes work on small dogs. 

Nail clippers for dogs need to be sharp to create a clean cut. Too dull, and they’ll crush or even split the nail. Your clippers may need to be sharpened or replaced every few months.

Nail grinders may take longer to master than clippers, but they’re generally safer to use. With a nail grinder, you gradually wear away at the nail, rather than clipping off large chunks, so it’s easier to avoid cutting the quick. 

A cordless grinder is preferred because it is easier to maneuver and will do less damage if your dog’s hair gets caught in the belt.

If your dog has fluffy paws, you can place a nylon stocking over their paw and poke their nails through it to help keep fur out the way.

How To Trim Your Miniature Schnauzer’s Nails

Hold your Miniature Schnauzer in your lap and give them a nice massage to get them relaxed. You can wrap them in a soft blanket to help keep them comfy; it can also be used to help you get your dog into different positions that allow you to access each paw.

Examine your dog’s nails. A Miniature Schnauzer may have black nails, clear pink nails, or a mixture of both. Most people find it easier to trim pink nails because you can see the pink “quick” or blood vessel running through the nail. If you hit the dog’s quick, their nail will bleed, so it’s very important that you trim the nail until it’s just slightly longer than the quick. 

For black nails, you’ll have to guess where the quick ends. You can shine a flashlight under the nail to see the quick. 

When a dog’s nails become overgrown, the quick can get longer too. When this happens, you’ll have to trim just a little bit every few days. As the nail gets shorter, the quick will recede. 

To trim your dog’s nails with a nail grinder, hold the toe firmly to help absorb the vibration from the machine, and grind against the nail so the bit is spinning away from the nail.

The nail grinder gets hot very quickly because of the friction it creates. You’ll only want to press it against the nail for about half a second at a time. You can actually try the grinder on your own nails to see how quickly it heats up. 

Help! My Miniature Schnauzer Won’t Let Me Clip Their Nails

Ideally, you will start trimming your dog’s nails while they are still a puppy so they will be accustomed to it. However, it is still possible to teach your dog to tolerate, even enjoy nail trims, regardless of their age. 

If your Miniature Schnauzer becomes aggressive when you try to trim their nails, you’ll have a lot of work to do. You may need to work with a trainer or a veterinary behaviorist to avoid injuring yourself or your dog. If you still want to attempt trimming on your own, have your dog wear a muzzle. A basket-style muzzle allows your dog to pant and accept treats, and unlike a cloth muzzle, your dog can wear it for an extended period of time.

Whether your dog is nervous or aggressive when you’re working on their nails, you’ll need to approach it the same way: with lots of positive reinforcement and absolutely no punishment.

The sounds of your tools, the sensation of having their nails trimmed, and the feeling of having their paws handled are just some of the reasons your dog may act up when you try to trim. You’ll need to desensitize your dog to these things so nail trimming won’t be so scary.

The key to desensitizing your dog is using lots of treats, verbal praise, and massages. Nail trimming should be a fun, yummy, relaxing time for your dog. Remember to go slowly, even if that means taking a week to work on getting your dog used to the sound of the grinder. 

Miniature Schnauzers are very sensitive and pick up your energy, so if you’re nervous about trimming, holding your breath, or getting frustrated, they won’t be able to relax either. Stay relaxed, take breaks, and remember to have fun!

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