Home Care Long Puppy Nails: How to Trim a Labrador’s Nails

Long Puppy Nails: How to Trim a Labrador’s Nails

by Allison Marie
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“I have two Labrador Retriever puppies that are both 9 weeks old, and their nails are getting long. How to trim my Labrador puppy nails?

“I just brought home a new Labrador puppy for the first time. When to trim my Lab puppies’ nails?”

If you are a pet owner who has been in scenarios similar to those mentioned above and didn’t know how to trim Lab puppy nails, this article will provide you with the answers you need to know what to do the next time around.

This is especially important when you consider that some Labrador Retriever puppies go their whole lives without their owners needing to trim their puppies’ claws, while other Labradors are not so lucky.

So, check out the best way to trim a puppy’s nails in the following sections below.

Why is it important to trim your Lab puppy’s nails regularly?

Just like with humans, it is important that pet owners know how to trim Labrador nails on a regular basis.

Trimming Lab puppy nails is an important aspect of Labrador grooming that helps your dog stay healthy and fit.

Otherwise, if you let your Labrador Retriever pup’s nails grow long without cutting them frequently, it could be uncomfortable for your puppy.

In the long run, it could cause breakage of their nails, tearing of their nails, inflammation, or even real pain.

How do I know that my Labrador’s nails need trimming already?

There’s a reason why Labs need to have neat and short nails.

Long and untrimmed canine nails can result in your Labrador Retriever’s toes splaying slightly.

So, if you see the toes of your dog spreading out and apart, it’s an obvious sign that you learn how to cut Labrador puppy’s nails.

Another sign that it’s time for you to start trimming Labrador Retriever nails is when their nails click when they walk on hard flooring.

Aside from that, if you see your Lab’s nails scratching on the ground or extending beyond their pad, it’s also a sign that you have to shorten their claws.

Otherwise, if you leave their nails as they are, walking can become painful for your Labrador.

Still, if you are concerned about how often to trim Lab puppy nails, bear in mind that you can only trim the nails of your Labrador Retriever pup once every 3-4 weeks.

This is especially applicable to puppies that spend all their time indoors on carpeted floors.

Can you trim your Labrador’s nails yourself?

You can cut your Labrador Retriever’s nails yourself, but we recommend that you let an expert show you first how to trim a Labrador puppy’s nails.

Of course, you can cut your Labrador Retriever’s nails yourself.

However, we also recommend getting an expert first to demonstrate how to trim your Labrador puppy’s nails before you start on your own.

This way, you can avoid or lessen mistakes, and your canine companion won’t have to suffer through the pain of having their nails trimmed erroneously.

Which nail clippers must you buy for a Labrador?

The answer to this depends on which style you and your Lab are most comfortable with.

If you are going to use nail clippers, there are two different styles, such as the scissor type you get from stainless steel cutters and the guillotine type from claw clippers like this one.

On the other hand, if your Labrador Retriever is not comfortable with nail clippers, there are also other tools available to trim your dog’s nails.

Important tips to trimming Labrador nails

Here are some important tips to help you learn how to trim Labrador Retriever puppy nails:

1) Get them used to it.

Many Labrador puppies run away when you try to cut their nails mainly because it is an unfamiliar feeling.

They are not used to sitting still and getting their nails clipped, so they will try to escape.

To avoid this, you can try to touch their paws a few times a day to get them used to it.

You can pet, hold, and pick up their paws so they will learn that nothing bad will happen when you touch them.

2) Reward them well.

One of the best tips to trim a Labrador puppy’s nail is to reward them.

Labradors are highly motivated by food, so giving them treats while you cut their nails can teach them to stay put.

It will also encourage them to like getting their nails cut if you give them a treat after cutting their nails.

You can also say words of praise while you cut their nails. You can have another person pet them and say “good dog” while you cut their nails.

This way, they will understand that they are not being punished.

3) Let them walk on hard surfaces.

You can let your Labrador puppy keep their nails trim by letting them walk on hard surfaces.

They can walk on places like concrete whenever they walk outside to “file” their nails.

You can also get a scratch board to encourage your dog to do their own nails.

You can train them to drag their nails against the scratch board so they can shorten their nails.

Keep in mind that this tip will not replace clipping your dog’s nails.

It can help keep them round and trim, but it may not be enough to keep them from being long.

4) Create a schedule.

You can create a schedule for your Lab puppy to follow. Many Lab puppies do not like getting their nail cuts because it happens very rarely.

You can make and follow a schedule for when you are going to cut your puppy’s nails.

Most people recommend that you cut your puppy’s nails once every 3-4 weeks.

It may take some time, but your puppy will slowly adjust to the idea of having their nails cut.

It will be just like giving them a bath or brushing their fur.

5) Use a dremel tool.

One of the best tips to trim a Labrador puppy’s nails is to use a dremel tool.

This is an especially helpful tool if your puppy pulls their foot away or twitches whenever you try to cut their nails.

A dremel tool is a power tool that has an abrasive head. The abrasive head looks and feels like a nail file, which is what you will use to file down their nails.

It is easy to use for many pet owners, and it helps pet owners feel less scared when they shorten their dog’s nails.

Have your puppy sit on your lap or lie down on the floor. Make sure you can easily pick up their paws.

Gently hold and lift up one paw and move the dremel tool around their nails to shorten them.

Make sure you move around to avoid grinding the nail down to the quick.

You do not need to put a lot of pressure on your dog’s nails since the dremel tool can file them down with ease.

Just be gentle and slow with it because it can take a few minutes to file down one nail.

Some dogs may not like the noise or vibrations of the dremel tool. Luckily, they just need to get used to it.

You can hold the dremel tool near them to get them used to the sound. You can also try to file one nail so that they can get used to the vibrations.

Repeat this a few times a day for several days until they no longer act as if the tool bothers them.

6) Follow the color.

For most dogs with light colored nails, you can pick up their paws and look under the nail.

The small dark center in the middle is usually the quick of the nail, which you should avoid cutting.

If your dog’s nails are dark, you need to be more careful. Trim around 1/16th of an inch of the nail if you are not sure.

You can also ask a groomer or veterinarian to help you learn where the quick is.

The quicks of some dog’s nails are very close to the tip. If that is the case, you are better off using a nail file, dremel tool, or scratching board to file down your dog’s nails. 

If your dog has darker nails, you will want to be more careful. You can ask a veterinarian or groomer to show you where they estimate the quick is.

You can also take note of how far they cut your dog’s nail so you can do it on your own.

7) Make them comfortable.

Make sure not to let your puppy feel like you are restraining them.

If your puppy feels like you are forcing them into a situation, they may cry and run away.

If your Lab puppy is small enough to fit on your lap, let them sit there and pet them for a while.

When you grab their paw to cut their nails, make sure you do it gently and slowly.

You can also say lots of kind words to them so they know they are not in danger.

If your Lab puppy is bigger, you can let them lie down near you. Make sure they feel comfortable. You can do the same tips as mentioned earlier to help them feel calm.

To conclude

It can be tough to learn how to trim a Labrador puppy’s nails at first. However, there are several measures you can take to know how to do it.

You can try any of the pieces of advice we have mentioned above to know what to do the next time you have to trim your Labrador Retriever pup’s nails.

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