Key Takeaway: To calm a dog to trim its nails, there are natural ingredients which may work, such as chamomile, ashwagandha, tryptophan, and hemp extract.
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Regular trimming of your dog's nails is essential to keep them in good health, but it can be a stressful experience, especially for your pup!
Fortunately, there are some things you can give your dog to calm him down before you cut his nails. From prescription drugs to natural remedies, we explore all of the best options in this blog.
TRY THIS FIRST: EXERCISE AND REWARD-BASED TRAINING
Before giving your dog any medications, take them for a long walk. Tiring them out with exercise will always be the healthiest option, and you might even find that it's all that's needed to get them calm enough to cut their nails.
It's natural for your dog to be apprehensive the first time you trim its nails. Take your time, and if you can successfully clip even one nail, reward them with a treat. Reward-based training will make the process positive for your dog. It might take a long time with many pauses at first. Eventually, they won't mind getting their nails trimmed at all.
If you've tried all of this and still feel like a little extra help is needed, you might consider giving the following to your dog to calm them down before you cut their nails.
If you can give your dog something natural to calm them, that will generally be safer than over-the-counter or prescription medication.
The following is a list of calming ingredients which you can purchase in stores or online. If that sounds like too much trouble, we have already combined them in our vet-approved CBD calming chews for dogs.
- Chamomile – You might have had chamomile tea; the good news is it has the same calming effects for dogs as it does for humans.
- Ashwagandha – An ancient herb often used as a stress relief aid.
- Tryptophan – This is the reason you feel tired after eating turkey on thanksgiving.
- Hemp Extract – CBD works with your dog's endocannabinoid system, which has been linked to stress relief, sleep, and much more. For an even more concentrated dose of CBD, you can try our CBD oil for anxious dogs, either on its own or in combination with the chews.
Benadryl is often given to dogs as a calming aid, but even though it's safe for humans, it can be dangerous and even fatal if incorrectly given to dogs. Both the dosage and type of Benadryl you give to your dog are critical. We cover both of these in more detail in our blog on Benadryl for dogs.
If you've tried absolutely everything else and are still having no success with your pup's nail trimming, the following is a list of prescription medications you can get from your vet. We consider these somewhat of a last resort, as while they will very likely sedate your dog, they also come with a higher risk of negative side effects.
They should only ever be given to your dog under the guidance of a veterinarian, as an overdose could lead to serious health issues or even death.
- Benzodiazepines (Valium, Xanax, and other doggie downers)
- Injectable Sedatives
There are several things you can give your dog to calm them down before cutting their nails. We suggest you start with exercise and then explore the natural options. If those don't work out, you can always call an experienced groomer or take your pup to the vet.
If you aren't comfortable cutting your dogs' nails, then it's probably best for everybody involved to take them to a professional. Most groomers will charge a relatively small fee to trim your dog's nails, and in all but the most extreme situations, they will be able to take care of it.
However, if your dog is extremely aggressive, you may have to take them to the veterinarian to be sedated.
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I'm Chris; I started Relievet to help my dog Biscuit deal with her mobility issues naturally. Relievet is a family-owned business composed of a team of passionate pet parents that includes a Doctor of Pharmacy, a dog trainer, a writer, a psychologist, and more. We make natural products that help dogs maintain balance and deal with the issues they face, and we do our best to educate people on natural pet health. Beyond that, we are conducting research in hopes of improving the lives of many more animals.
In a world of giant corporations, we favor the personal approach. Reach out to us any time, whether just to tell us your pet's story or for your vet to consult with James, our in-house Pharmacist; we would love to hear from you.
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However, only your vet can diagnose and recommend treatment for your pet's health issues, and you shouldn't ever stop, change, or add to their medication without your vet's guidance. If they have questions regarding our products, reach out to us, and we will be happy to help.
What to do if my dog won't let me cut his nails? ›
Either treat your dog yourself with something special like licks of peanut butter from a spoon, or have someone else feed her treats. Work down the leg toward the paw as long as your pooch remains relaxed. Once you are able to touch her paw area while she stays relaxed, progress toward holding her paw in your hand.Can I sedate my dog to clip his nails? ›
Ask for a sedated nail trim.
Unless there is a medical reason not to sedate your dog, your vet should be able to do a sedated trim. Being sedated should make the nail trim process less traumatic for your pup.
Benadryl is often given to dogs as a calming aid, but even though it's safe for humans, it can be dangerous and even fatal if incorrectly given to dogs.How much Benadryl can I give my dog to cut his nails? ›
Benadryl Dose for Dogs
Plumb's Veterinary Drug Handbook recommends giving a standard dosage of 25 milligrams for a 25-pound dog two to three times per day. As a general rule of thumb, use 1 milligram per pound of your dog's body weight. For example, a 50-pound dog would be given two 25 milligram tablets.
Acepromazine causes sedation. It's commonly given as an injection as part of anesthesia (one of a combination of drugs) for surgery. The drug may also be sent home as an oral medication and given to a dog 20-60 minutes before events like grooming, a vet visit, or car travel.Can I sedate my dog with Benadryl? ›
While Benadryl may have a mild sedative effect on some dogs, veterinarians typically do not recommend it as a primary sedation method for travel. Instead, discussing options for safe and effective sedation with your veterinarian would be best.What is a natural sedative for a dog? ›
L-theanine and L-tryptophan supplements are also commonly recommended by veterinarians to help with mild to moderate anxiety, says Dr. Coates. Zylkene, a derivative of a milk protein, can aid in calming your pet naturally. It is often used effectively in senior dogs with new, age-related anxiety.What can I give my dog to relax him? ›
Possible oral sedative combinations include:
- acepromazine and Telazol powder (an anesthetic)
- acepromazine and diazepam (an anti-anxiety drug)
- diazepam and butorphanol (an opioid pain reliever)
- phenobarbital and diazepam.
Desensitization to Nail Clipping
Keep the nail clippers in your dog's sight and work your way up to petting your dog while holding the clippers and then gently touching the clippers on your dog. This will help them learn that the clippers pose no threat.
Can I use Benadryl for grooming? Can you give a dog Benadryl for this? Yes, but some say the anxiety may not completely go away. If your dog freaks out when you take him to the groomer, Benadryl is one thing you can try.
Is there an over the counter sedative for dogs? ›
Therefore, melatonin is offered as an over-the-counter recommendation for the dog with hospital associated aggression and anxiety (Table 1). Table 1: Dosing and timeline of administration for sedative agents.Does Benadryl stop pain in dogs? ›
Benadryl doesn't relieve dog pain, so you should talk to your vet about other treatment options.Do I need to take my dog to the vet if I cut his nail too short? ›
Important disclaimer: If your dog's nail does not stop bleeding in 10 minutes OR if your dog has completely or partially torn off a toenail (resulting from an injury), please seek veterinary care.How long does it take for Benadryl to work in dogs? ›
If using Benadryl as a mild sedative for motion sickness or any sort of thunderstorm or travel anxiety, it's best to think ahead so you can plan out when you give it to your doggo. It will usually take 30 minutes for Benadryl to take full effect, and you want your pup calm and anxious-free.How much Benadryl should I give my dog to sedate him? ›
Benadryl dosage for dogs
The usual dosage is about 1 mg per pound, two to three times daily. Veterinarians often recommend that people start with a half dose to see how much it sedates the dog the first time.
Benadryl: This mild antihistamine sedative helps calm your pet when it is nervous about clipping its nails. Melatonin supplements: Help regulate body rhythm and help calm down your dog. Natural sedation methods: Herbs like California poppy, chamomile, rosemary, or valerian are natural relaxants.How do groomers calm dogs down? ›
Some groomers use calming aids in their salons. They'll infuse the space with calming pheromones in the air or essential oils through a diffuser. Perhaps they'll use certain shampoos with soothing ingredients, like lavender.
Melatonin is commonly advocated as a mild and safe sedative for dogs.Can I give my dog human melatonin? ›
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), melatonin is a safe supplement to give to your dog. Melatonin has little risk for harmful side effects .Can I give my dog 10 mg of melatonin? ›
Melatonin Dosage for Dogs
General recommendations are to give 1 to 6 milligrams orally every eight to 24 hours.
What over-the-counter medicine can I give my dog for anxiety? ›
Over-the-counter medications are a viable option for treating dog anxiety. Some of the best OTC anti-anxiety medications include Benadryl, Dramamine, and Melatonin. Many of the OTC medications for anxious dogs are for humans but most of them are safe for use in dogs.How long can a dog go without cutting nails? ›
Dogs need their nails clipped on a regular basis, approximately every 3-4 weeks; however, it is common for owners to wait too long in between trimmings which can lead to a number of health issues for the animal. For cats, a routine claw trimming every 10-14 days will keep your pet healthy.Is it neglect to not cut your dog's nails? ›
In short, keeping your dog's nails trimmed is important for their health and well-being. It not only helps them walk and run more comfortably but can also prevent painful nail beds and infections. Be sure to trim your pup's nails regularly – we recommend every 4 to 6 weeks to keep them looking (and feeling) great!Does it hurt dogs to not cut their nails? ›
Not only does keeping your dog's nails short reduce the chances of painful nail injuries, but it also helps keep their feet and joints healthier. Dogs with overgrown nails develop unnatural gaits that can damage the muscles in the foot and put added strain on their joints.How much is a sedated nail trim? ›
The cost of sedation at the groomer can cost anywhere from $45-$100, depending on your dog's weight.Does walking your dog shorten their nails? ›
Taking your dog for regular walks, including on hard surfaces such as pavements, will help to shorten their claws, but may not be enough to keep them as short as they should be.Does it hurt a dog if their nails are too long? ›
It is therefore important to keep your dog's claws well trimmed at the correct length. If they get too long it can put pain and pressure on the toes and paws, which will ultimately put strain on the legs. Long claws are also prone to splitting and infection.How do you cut an aggressive dog's nails? ›
Place the nail clipper over each nail. Hold your dog firmly but gently and reassure him, provide a treat or distraction. Start squeezing clippers near the toes to make a clipping sound but do not actually clip the nail. Place the clipper on your dog's nail, but near the end, far away from the quick, and clip the nail.How do wild dogs trim their nails? ›
In the wild, wolves and coyotes keep their nails short through digging and running after prey for hours. Since your dog is likely not running around in the wilderness all day, you may need to walk them on concrete to help keep their nails at a reasonable length.Why does my dog try to bite me when I try to cut his nails? ›
Some dogs get aggressive during nail trims because they are fearful, anxious, or stressed. Many people enjoy getting their nails done at a salon but the same is not true for many dogs.
How long is too long for dog nails? ›
With your furry friend standing in front of you with their front legs under their shoulders, check their nails. Are they touching the ground? If so, then they're too long. And if you hear your dog's nails clicking or see them turn sideways, it's time for a trim.How often should you trim a dogs nails? ›
The amount of time between nail trims depends on how quickly your dog's nails grow and how quickly they are worn down. The average dog should have his nails clipped every three to four weeks, but it should be done as often as needed to keep the nail from touching the ground when your dog is standing.What can I give my dog as a tranquilizer? ›
Acepromazine is the most commonly prescribed oral sedative for dogs. It is a member of the phenothiazine class of sedatives and works primarily by blocking dopamine receptors within the brain, thereby depressing certain brain functions.Why is my dog so scared of getting her nails trimmed? ›
Adult dogs may be fearful of the clippers and the sound they make, especially if they had a previous bad experience (having the nail trimmed too short or “quicked”). Desensitizing older dogs to nail trimming takes patience. The process cannot be rushed.Can I give my dog melatonin? ›
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), melatonin is a safe supplement to give to your dog. Melatonin has little risk for harmful side effects . The most common side effect is lethargy upon waking the next morning.