Have you seen that viral video of a woman clipping her dog’s nails? I’m talking about the one where she wrapped her head in cellophane and smeared peanut butter on top to distract her dog with something tasty. I must admit, the video caught my attention and certainly made me laugh. It’s pure entertainment for dog lovers, and it’s quickly becoming a trend that other pet parents are trying. I get it: This nail clipping technique seems like a genius hack. But, in reality, it’s a really bad idea.
Before I get into why, in case you missed the original video and have no idea what I’m talking about, here it is:
The Big Problem …
Underneath a dog’s nails is something called a quick, which provides blood supply to the nail. When busting out the clippers to give our dog a nail trim, it’s essential we don’t cut the quick. If we do, we will immediately see blood gush out of the nail and hear our dog yelp in pain. I cannot stress enough how sensitive this part is.
Here’s the thing: Accidents happen, even for professional groomers who trim nails on a daily basis. With this technique, your face is right next to your dog’s mouth. So, if your dog aggressively reacts to pain then you could wind up getting bitten in the face.
I know a lot of pet parents will say: “But my dog would never bite me!” And, sure, that may be true. But, when a dog is in pain, his defenses go up. A quick lunge forward and bite isn’t uncommon.
Does Your Dog Naturally Stress Over Nail Trims?
If you’re considering attempting this method, it’s likely because your dog doesn’t like getting his nails trimmed in the first place. A lot of dogs wiggle, kick, and growl when the nail clippers come their way. They hate the whole experience!
Say the peanut butter on your head did actually distract your pooch. What happens when he finishes the tasty snack? You won’t know there’s no more peanut butter on your head, and the only thing left for your dog to do is focus on the nail trim and respond to the discomfort in his usual manner. Only, unlike usual, your face will be right next to his!
In the above scenario, you won’t see any warnings or vital signs from your dog, alerting you to back away … because your head will be down. Dogs communicate through body language, we just need to pay attention.
What To Do Instead
Instead of trying this ‘peanut butter on the head’ hack, I recommend working with your dog to get him comfortable with nail trims. You need to be patient and do this slowly.
Depending on your pup’s level of disdain for nail trims, you may want to just clip one nail a day, followed up by a tasty reward and lots of praise. Over time, the goal is to get your dog used to the whole experience. Check out the tips in this video for inspo:
Another idea: You may want to try a dremel vs traditional clippers. While my Chihuahua is cool as a cucumber during nail trims, my toy Poodle is very afraid of the clippers. I suspect her old groomer cut the quick once. Surprisingly, she doesn’t mind the dremel at all. Every dog is different, but it may be worth a try!