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11 Simple Tips On How To Cut And Trim Your Chihuahua’s Nails

How to cut Chihuahua nails

Want to be able to cut and trim your Chihuahua’s nails? You’ve come to the right place!

This article will show you:

  • How to cut your Chihuahua’s nails safely.
  • When is the time to cut and trim your Chi’s nails.
  • Why it’s necessary to cut your Chis’ nails (7 dangers of long nails).
  • And more…

How to cut Chihuahua nails?

Cut your Chihuahua’s nails by trimming bit by bit and by avoiding the quick. This is easy when the nails are white but difficult when the nails are black. As a rule of thumb, cut the nails a little bit at a time. Avoid cutting the quick as it will hurt your Chihuahua.

My Chihuahua won’t let me cut her nails, what now?

If your Chihuahua won’t let you cut her nails, consider tiring them out or distracting them with treats. If they’re tired from exercise, they won’t have the energy to make a fuss. In addition, using treats to distract them while having their nails cut does the trick.

Why long nails are not okay

Chihuahuas are small and don’t weigh a lot. Thus, they don’t naturally wear their nails down while doing activities.

In addition, dogs are digitigrades. This means they walk on their toes. The length of their nails can affect how dogs stand and support their body.

That said, their nails should be at a healthy length. If not, it could present a lot of problems for your Chihuahua.

In particular, long nails:

  • Cause your Chihuahua pain.
  • Lead to abnormal walking or limping.
  • Worsen pain associated with arthritis.
  • Lead to growth deformities of your Chi’s toes.
  • Make it difficult for your Chihuahua to get traction on slick floors.
  • Curl into the paw pad. This could be uncomfortable for your Chihuahua.
  • Dig into the paw pad. If this happens repeatedly, it can break the skin. This, in turn, could lead to infections.

Long nails also lead to injuries. 

This study showed that long nails are one of the factors contributing to digit injuries. Particularly for dogs that are training or joining agility competitions.

And when there’s infection or injury, you’ve got to spend on vet check-ups and treatments.

How often to cut and trim your Chihuahua’s nails

How Often To Cut And Trim Your Chihuahuas Nails

Nail trimming is an important part of every dog’s grooming.

With short nails, your Chihuahua can walk or run comfortably. 

How often to cut your Chihuahua’s nails depends on lifestyle and activity level. Some dogs have nails that grow faster than other dogs’ nails.

In addition, some dogs are very active. Their day to day life involves walking or running on pavements. 

Thus, their nails are worn down regularly.

For these dogs, nail trimming can be less frequent. Probably once in a month or 2 months.

For dogs that do their activities on grass or dirt, they need nail cutting twice a week. Or once a month, depending on their nails’ growth.

But if your dog’s nails are in decent shape, they just need monthly nail trims.

ASPCA recommends trimming when your dog’s nails touch the ground when they walk. Or when their nails snag on carpets or fabrics.

What to do with very long nails? You have to clip them each week. 

But don’t cut the nails too short. You run the risk of cutting the quick. 

If you keep cutting and trimming the nails, the quick recedes. This allows you to cut the nails even shorter. Go to tip #6 for more details about the quick.

Note: Puppies need frequent nail cutting. Compared to adults, puppies’ nails grow at a faster rate. Trim their nails a few times every week.

11 simple tips on how to cut and trim your Chihuahua’s nails

#1: Look for signs that you need to cut or trim nails

Don’t wait until your Chihuahua is limping before realizing they need a nail cut.

When you’re giving them a bath, check their nails. You can easily determine if the nails are long already.

Or when you hear the tippity-tap of their nails against the floor, then the nails are long.

Sometimes a dog would bite at their paws if their nails make them uncomfortable.

#2: Start early on

This is similar to training. You’ve got to do it starting when they’re puppies. 

That way, your puppy will have plenty of time to be comfortable with the routine.

Even if it’s just trimming, do it on a regular basis. Allow them to get accustomed to nail cutting and trimming.

And since this becomes a part of their routine, they’ll get used to it easier.

What happens if they’re not used to it? They get stressed. Or aggressive, just like this Chihuahua:

Another benefit of doing this early on is this:

Your Chihuahua learns to tolerate having their feet touched. 

Most dogs hate being touched on their paws. You’ll notice that when you touch a foot, they’ll immediately pull it back.

#3: Invest in high-quality tools

The right nail clippers make all the difference.

And when I say ‘right,’ it has to be a specific clipper for dogs.

Nail clippers come in types and sizes. Get one that’s appropriate for your Chihuahua’s size.

Choose between scissor-style and guillotine

The scissor-style works like a pair of scissors. Squeeze the handle and the two blades will cut the nail.

The guillotine style, on the other hand, has only one crescent-shaped blade. It cuts the nail by pushing it against a ring.

Now both of these have their own pros and cons. 

For instance, the scissor-style will hold the nail securely so that clipping is easier to do. The guillotine is good because there are two blades that cut the nail.

Some pet owners use nail grinders instead of nail clippers. They find it easier to use on their dogs.

Grinders are also best to smooth the nails out after the trim.

If you’re unsure which to use, ask your vet. Or a professional who works in your local pet store.

Warning: Do not use human nail clippers on your Chihuahua. Human nail clippers are meant for flat and thin nails. Whereas a dog’s nails are thick and long. Using human nail clippers on them will hurt your dog. Also, keep the blades sharp and clean. This will make nail cutting easier and faster.

#4: Choose the suitable time to cut the nails

Choose the suitable time to cut your Chihuahuas nails

You can cut your Chihuahua’s nails anytime.

But I find that right after exercising or taking a bath is suitable for nail cutting.

When your Chi takes a bath, their nails soften a little bit in warm water. It makes nail cutting easier. Just like when we cut our own nails. 

You can also cut their nails after their exercise. They are tired and won’t have too much energy left to resist. Who knows? They might actually let you do it.

#5: Get comfortable

Nail clipping can be stressful for some dogs.

The least you can do is make them comfortable throughout the process.

That said, find a place where you and your Chihuahua will be comfortable. A couch should be fine.

It should also be somewhere with adequate lighting. It’s important that you see where the quick is. You want to avoid cutting the quick and hurting your Chihuahua.

Warning: Do not physically restrain your Chihuahua while cutting their nails. It will stress them out. You might accidentally cut where you shouldn’t if your dog is flailing their paws. If you can’t cut their nails, it’s okay to leave it to the vet or groomer.

#6: Stay away from the ‘quick’ 

Before you do any trimming, inspect your Chihuahua’s nail first.

You should be able to locate where the ‘quick’ is.

All dogs’ nails have the quick. You can easily see this part if your Chihuahua’s nails are white. 

The quick is the pink part and it contains the blood vessels and nerves.

What if the nails are black?

This is more challenging because you can’t see the quick in a black nail.

I wish there’s an easier way to cut a black nail without hitting the quick. But you’ll have to do with trimming bit by bit. Even if it takes 4 or 5 clippings.

Here’s an idea. When cutting, look at the cross section of your dog’s nail. 

When you see a black spot in the center, you’re almost at the quick. So stop cutting.

Now that you’ve located the quick, you want to avoid cutting it.

Note: As a rule of thumb, cut the nail at least 2mm (0.2 cm) from the quick.

Omg, I cut the quick!

If you cut the quick, it will be very painful for your Chihuahua. That’s why it’s useful to have styptic powder, such as Kwik-Stop, on hand. 

This powder’s job is to stop the bleeding.

No Kwik-Stop around the house? Use flour or cornstarch. 

Get a pinch of flour or cornstarch and pack it on the nail to stop the bleeding.

#7: Cut the nails

Do you hear your Chihuahua’s approach? Do you hear the clicks when they walk across a hard surface?

That means their nails are long.

If you want to know how short is short, have your Chihuahua stand. Their nails should be just above the floor.

Anything longer than that and it’s time for some trimming!

Hold your Chihuahua against you. With your non-dominant hand, hold their paw. Gently. Do not squeeze their toes as it’s going to hurt.

Use your dominant hand to hold the clippers.

If you’re using the scissor-type, place the nail between the blades. Squeeze the handles for a clean cut.

If you’re using the guillotine type, hold it in such a way that the part with the blade is in the palm of your hand. Insert the nail in the hole then quickly cut the nail.

If you want a demonstration of how to do it, this video should help:

Note: For black nails where you can’t see the quick, cut just the hook of the nail. This is far enough from the quick.

#8: Don’t forget the dewclaw

A dew claw is a dog’s fifth nail.

You can find it below the wrist, on the inside of the leg.

Did you know that some dogs have dew claws in the front only? Other dogs have dew claws on all legs.

Perhaps you’ve heard about arguments regarding surgically removing dew claws. There are breeders who remove these after a dog’s birth. That’s because they believe dew claws are vestigial, or have no purpose.

Others argue that dew claws have a purpose, such as for gripping objects.

But one thing remains true: dew claws need to be trimmed as well. These are pointier than other nails because these do not touch the ground. As such, these are not worn down.

As a result, dew claws can catch on things, leading to injuries. Trim the dew claws as you would other nails.

#9: Stop when your Chihuahua is uncomfortable

At the first sign of discomfort, stop the nail cutting. 

There’s always a time the following day to resume. Remember, you have to make this a good experience for your dog. 

So it’s a bad idea to force your Chihuahua.  

Trust me. If you force them, it will be more difficult the next time you cut their nails.

#10: Reward your Chihuahua

Did you know that using food rewards is the most effective way to train dogs?

That’s according to many studies. These studies worked on the premise that giving food rewards is based on positive reinforcement. You reinforce a behavior by rewarding it.

This study proved that positive reinforcement is more effective compared to other methods.

So when cutting your Chihuahua’s nails, use high-value treats. They’ll associate nail cutting with something very pleasant.

Give them these treats when they behave during the nail cutting. You can also shower them with praises. 

They’re being a good boy/girl and they deserve to be rewarded.

Note: Make nail cutting a positive experience for your Chihuahua.

#11: Make nail cutting your ‘quality time’

Many Chihuahuas hate getting their nails cut.

It always ends in whining, crying or being aggressive.

But it doesn’t have to be that way with your pooch. If you introduce nail cutting at an early age, they can actually get to love it. Or tolerate it at least.

So make a nail cutting session your own quality time together! Don’t be shy about giving them praises, kisses and treats.

That’s the first step to get them to like nail cutting.