Imagine: your dog’s nails are at a great length. There is minimal clicking and tapping as they walk across the house at two o’clock in the morning to get a drink. They don’t scratch holes in your blankets while rooting around for that perfect, comfortable spot. They don’t draw blood when greeting you to say hi after a long day of work.

Now, imagine achieving those nails, stress free. For both of you.

First, let’s lay down a little basic nail knowledge.

Keeping your dog’s nails trimmed and well-maintained is about more than protecting your home and loved ones from talon-like claws – it is an important part of keeping your dog’s physical health maintained as well!

Take a look at this pup’s before and after.

With long nails, her toes are forced to splay out a bit, she loses some of the natural arch in her toe, the nails themselves push her toes apart, she can struggle to maintain traction on slippery floors (putting her at risk of injury), increasing pressure on her joints, and throwing off her gait.

We don’t need our pet dogs to have nubs for nails, but we should be ensuring their feet have full range of motion!

The two biggest roadblocks our clients have for keeping those nails neat and trim?

  1. Discomfort and anxiety for the human
  2. Discomfort and anxiety for the dog
Photo courtesy of Jenn Bennett,
Grooming at Adventure Unleashed
Teaching your dog how to DIY trim their own nails turns an otherwise stressful event in to just another fun trick your dog can show off at parties.

Okay, well, maybe we wouldn’t go that far, but it becomes just another fun trick!

They aren’t stressed, you aren’t stressed, they have choice in what is done to them, with out manhandling, without risk of injury for either party, but with the same ultimate outcome: trimmed nails.

DIY Nail File Board

What You’ll Need:

  • 4″ diameter PVC pipe

  • 2′ x 2′ plywood board

  • Anti-Slip Stair Tread Tape (80 grit)
  • Gorilla Tape or Duct Tape

  • Scissors
  • Jigsaw or Hacksaw, if using PVC pipe option
NOTE: You do not need both of these options – feel free to pick one format! The curved nail file can do a better job at getting all of the nails one uniform length, while the flat board will get your dog’s center two nails somewhat shorter than the outer two. Just something to consider!
Flat Nail Board

Step 1

Cut 6-7 strips of the 4″ wide stair tread to fit the width of the plywood board.

Step 2

Peel off the backing of the stair tread and carefully place on to the plywood. Repeat with each strip, ensuring they are closing but do not overlap.

Step 3

To protect your hands and flooring while holding the board for your dog, put a piece of heavy duty Gorilla Tape or similar around all sides.
Curved Nail File

Step 1

Split PVC pipe in to two halves, carefully cutting lengthwise with a jigsaw or hacksaw.

Step 2

Repeat Steps 2 & 3 from the Flat Nail Board directions. Cover the INSIDE of one half, and the OUTSIDE of the other half.
Want to learn how to teach your dog to file their own nails?

Join us for a virtual workshop and get live instruction and demonstrations!

Saturday, March 6th at 11:00 am
Saturday, March 13th at 11:00 am