Grooming Pet Care

My Dog Won’t Let Me Cut His Nails! What Can I Do? (How to Sedate a Dog?)

My Dog Won't Let Me Cut His Nails-min
Written by Robert Lewis

Have your dog’s long nails damaged your furniture, beddings, or hardwood floors? Have you been scratched by your furry friend while playing together? Just like your nails, your dog’s claws are continually growing. Excessively long nails can also be painful for your dog as they are more prone to symptoms such as chipping, tearing, splitting, and breaking. Long nails hamper your dog’s ability to walk or run well since they dig into the paws’ soft tissues, causing pain during movement.

Even worse, your dog may break or fracture a nail, leading to a secondary wound infection. Tragically, the foot might even get deformed. Therefore, clipping your pet’s nails is more than a cosmetic chore. It is vital!

Why Dogs Don’t Let You Cut Their Nails

“My dog won’t let me cut his nails. What can I do?” These are words that you’ll often hear from newbie fur parents. Fortunately, you’re not alone in this situation. Many dog owners experience the same reluctance. Below are some of the many reasons why your pet will not let you go near their feet.

  • Abuse

Abuse is a traumatic experience common in rescue dogs. Such prior experience with brutish people can make them get scared of close contact. They will automatically feel like you’re forcefully restraining them as they were before. However, you can overcome this obstacle by building up trust and rapport.

  •  Past experiences

A dog’s memory is remarkable! If your dog refuses to let you trim their nails, they’ve likely had a prior excruciating experience. The situation becomes worse if an injury occurred during a clipping. The sight of nail clippers will make them anxious and skittish.

  •  First experience

Your pet probably won’t let you cut their nails as this is their first experience. Dogs don’t know what you want to do to them when you hold a metal clipper and then grab their nails. Their fight or flight instinct is bound to kick in, and they will attempt to get away from you.

  •  Scared of nail clippers

Nail clippers are not a friendly object at first sight. Other tools used to trim their nails, such as nail grinders, are also scary. Dogs can’t comprehend what these strange objects are. A clipper is a sharp metal and doesn’t look like a bone or toy to your pet, so directing the nail clipper straight to their nails may seem threatening to them.

  • Nail cutting is completely weird and uncomfortable

Imagine a family member randomly approaching you and lifting your hand to check out your nails. It would be uncomfortable. Your furry friend experiences the same reaction. When dogs don’t know what will happen to them next, they will likely run away. This behavior could be why your dog keeps avoiding nail cutting sessions or becomes aggressive when you try to do it.

  • What if my dog doesn’t let me near their feet?

“My dog doesn’t let me trim his nails. What do I do?” If these words resonate with you, then this article is here to help you out. Although some dog owners choose to give up, that isn’t what your loyal friend needs. Try positive reinforcement with your dogs to accustom them to nail trimming. However, if your pet still bolts despite all attempts, you should consider sedation to avoid causing them any injuries.

How to Sedate

“Is it bad to sedate my dog for his nail clipping sessions? What can I give my dog to calm him down to cut his nails?” If these are some of the questions troubling you, you’ll be happy to know that we have the answers for you. Sedation refers to putting a creature in a calm and tranquil state using prescription drugs. Dogs that are poorly trained and poorly socialized will often have trouble with nail trimming. Sedation helps them relax, so you can easily restrain them during the clipping session. 

  • What sedative should I use?

Is it safe to sedate your dog by yourself? Yes, it is! However, you’ll require an expert’s input! You could use potent prescription drugs, over-the-counter products, or all-natural solutions. Some popular sedatives include Benadryl, Melatonin, Valium, acepromazine (PromAce), and dexmedetomidine system (CNS). Of course, these drugs are at the vet’s recommendation. They work by blocking some signals from reaching the central nervous system creating a calming effect.

As an alternative, you can use Sileo, a gel applied to the dog’s cheek or gums. It treats anxiety and phobias in dogs. There are also natural alternatives for sedation to ensure fewer side-effects. Casein supplements are a great alternative to drug-based products. They reduce anxiety, promote calmness, thus helping you avoid any extreme reactions. Aromatherapy, particularly lavender oil, is also quite useful. Just rub a bit on their back, and they will soon settle down. 

  • The sedation process

You must be wondering how to sedate a dog for nail clipping, especially because it’s your first time. So, what is the best way to sedate your dog? The first step to figuring how to calm your dog is to wear them out with some exercise. The point is to get your pup exhausted and calm. The next step is what to give your dog to cover up the taste of the drug. Once you’re back home, administer the sedative mixed with your pet’s favorite food. If you’re wondering what to do if your dog avoids consuming the pill, the solution is tricking them into swallowing it. It is essential to practice using gentle movements to avoid hurting them.

What Nail Trimming Tools Are Available?

You can use numerous tools to make nail trimming an enjoyable activity, or at the very least, tolerable for your pup.

  • Scissor clippers

Safari trimmers are stainless steel cutters with long-lasting sharp edges and non-slip grip. However, they are best suited for medium to large breeds only. So, if your dog is tiny, you’ll have to consider other alternatives. They have a safety stop to prevent injury but advise you to apply baby oil to make the quick of the dog’s nail visible. If your pet’s nails are very long, cut off a small amount and wait a week before cutting again.

  • Guillotine clippers

Guillotine nail clippers are the perfect size to clip nails of smaller dogs. Tiny dogs have much thinner nails than their larger counterparts. Most guillotine clippers aren’t powerful enough to cut a large dog’s thicker nails. With guillotine clippers, a single blade comes down and slices off the end of your dog’s nail. These clippers are easier to handle and great for people with hand pain or arthritis.

  • Nail Grinder

LuckyTail grinder is the best solution you’ll find on the market.
luckytail claw grinding device
It’s suitable for all breeds of dogs, no matter the size. LuckyTail is whisper-quiet; you’d almost think you’ve not turned it on yet. It produces approximately 30 to 50 decibels, which is barely discernible to the human ear. These low vibrations ensure your pet stays calm and relaxed during trimming sessions. LuckyTail also comes equipped with ultra-light vibration as well, which guarantees your dog won’t feel any significant level of discomfort. LuckyTail is rechargeable, saving you unnecessary trips to the store just for batteries.

Moreover, LuckyTail utilizes USB charging technology, so you need not worry about replacing your cables. It has two speed modes and three-way grinding that ensures your pet has smooth and short nails. Furthermore, LuckyTail features a detachable grinding wheel that makes it so easy to clean. It’s also small enough to fit within your palms comfortably. Its ergonomic design makes it comfortable for you to hold. If you’re wondering, “Can I afford it?” Yes, you can! You can get one for $39.95, which honestly is quite a steal for such a high-end product! 


Just like grooming, your dog’s nails need to be clipped from time to time. For dogs that are unresponsive to training, sedation offers a safe and less stressful option. Not only will you protect your dog from any harm, but you’ll also spare your delicate skin from injuries. No matter your dog’s breed and size, sedating them is definitely worth the effort. So the next time someone asks, “Can you sedate your dog for nail trimming sessions?” refer them to what you’ve learned.

About the author

Robert Lewis

Hi, I’m Robert. I live with two Golden Retrievers and a Labradoodle. Four-legged canines have always been by my side. I’m a pet enthusiast at heart & blog writer by job title. Combining my passion with my job is the most rewarding experience I could ever ask for. My goal is to give buyer advice and share insights about various pet products/services with you.

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