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How Can I Sedate My Dog to Cut His Nails? 4 Proven Methods

Nail clipping is a necessary part of any dog grooming routine.

When a canine’s nails get too long, they could get caught on carpets and holes in the floor. Dogs may also experience discomfort while walking due to their overgrown nails.

Unfortunately, some dogs are not fond of getting their nails clipped and that may cause them to get restless.

Read on to learn more about the different ways of sedating a dog so you can trim its nails safely.

 

How Can I Sedate My Dog to Cut His Nails?

You can sedate your dog prior to cutting its nails with OTC drugs such as melatonin and diphenhydramine. Some vets may also prescribe acepromazine and diazepam. Pet owners can also use pheromone sprays, make dogs more receptive to nail trimming using treats, or walk them before cutting their nails.

How Can I Sedate My Dog to Cut His Nails?
How Can I Sedate My Dog to Cut His Nails?

 

1. Using Over-the-Counter (OTC) Drugs to Sedate a Dog

Dogs may be known for fiercely defending their owners, but even they may tremble in the presence of certain things.

For instance, your loyal hound may tense up whenever they see you pull out the nail clippers, especially if they have prior experience of having their nails cut too short.

Though nail clipping is an important part of their grooming, some dogs tense up whenever they see the nail clippers
Though nail clipping is an important part of their grooming, some dogs tense up whenever they see the nail clippers

Nail clipping is an aspect of grooming that some dogs simply do not like. Even if they’ve experienced it multiple times already, they may still get restless during the nail-clipping session.

You may have thought of sedating your pet to make the nail-clipping session easier, but how do you go about doing that?

One option involves using some over-the-counter drugs.

Melatonin is one particular over-the-counter drug that may be useful in that regard. According to this article from the American Kennel Club, there’s evidence suggesting that melatonin can be used to treat dogs suffering from separation anxiety, stress, and certain phobias.

Melatonin can also work well when you use it to prepare a dog for nail trimming.

One way to sedate your dog to clip his nails is to give him an OTC drug like melatonin
One way to sedate your dog to clip his nails is to give him an OTC drug like melatonin

Although melatonin is an over-the-counter drug, you should still check with your veterinarian before using it as a sedative.

Aside from telling you if melatonin is safe for your dog, the veterinarian can also mention the appropriate dosage.

The over-the-counter drug diphenhydramine, commonly referred to by the brand name Benadryl, can also be used to calm dogs down.

Diphenhydramine is mainly used to treat allergies, but it can also be effective as a sedative.

Similar to melatonin, you want your veterinarian to clear the diphenhydramine as a potential sedative before you use it on your pet.

 

2. Using Prescription Drugs to Calm Down Your Dog

The case of anxiety your dog experiences whenever it’s time to cut their nails may not be something that can be treated using over-the-counter drugs. You may need something more potent.

Two specific types of prescription medication that can be used for sedating dogs are acepromazine and diazepam.

Diazepam is one prescription drug that veterinarians can give for your dog to sedate him before clipping his nails
Diazepam is one prescription drug that veterinarians can give for your dog to sedate him before clipping his nails

Acepromazine and diazepam are highly effective sedatives, but they also present some potentially serious side effects.

Diazepam may not interact well with other forms of medication your pet is taking while acepromazine can exacerbate chronic conditions.

Despite how effective they are at sedation, the aforementioned prescription drugs should only be used as a last resort for sedating dogs. Your veterinarian will likely see things that way as well and suggest other options to try out first.

 

3. Using a Pheromone Spray to Keep Your Dog Calm

If you aren’t too keen on the idea of using drugs to sedate your dog prior to nail trimming, there are other options you can consider.

Pheromone sprays are worth trying if you need to keep your dog calm.

The aforementioned sprays mimic the properties of pheromones to induce calm behavior in dogs.

Most of the time, these sprays are used to alleviate separation anxiety or to keep dogs calm during thunderstorms and fireworks shows.

Hence, there’s no reason why you can’t try applying a pheromone spray if you need to sedate your pet before trimming their nails.

Unlike the drugs we’ve mentioned in this article, there are no side effects to using dog pheromone sprays.

Spray the product onto your dog’s favorite pillow, toy, or blanket and give it to them before the trimming session.

If the pheromone spray works as intended, you can now trim your dog’s nails without much trouble.

 

4. Other Ways to Keep a Dog Calm Before Nail Clipping

There are other ways to put your dog in the right mindset ahead of their nail-clipping session.

For instance, you can use treats in coaxing your dog to cooperate.

Set down a bag of treats before starting to trim your dog’s nails. Give them a treat before you start clipping so they can focus on the food instead of what you’re doing.

One other way to prepare your dog for a nail-clipping session is to give him treats
One other way to prepare your dog for a nail-clipping session is to give him treats

With your dog’s mind focused on the treat, they may stop stressing about the nail clippers. Just avoid going overboard with the treats.

You can also go for a long walk with your pet before you clip their nails. Take a longer walk than usual so your dog expends as much energy as it can.

By the time you get back home, your dog will be tired.

Take your dog for a longer walk than usual so he will be able to expend his energy before a nail-clipping session
Take your dog for a longer walk than usual so he will be able to expend his energy before a nail-clipping session

Even if they are spooked by the sight of the nail clippers, they may not put up much resistance. Trimming their nails by now should be easier.

Read about if you can use liquid bandages on your dog next.

 

Frequently Asked Questions about How to Sedate a Dog Before Cutting Their Nails

 

Can You Use a Nail Grinder to Groom Your Dog?

You can try using a nail grinder if your canine’s afraid of the nail clippers. Nail grinders can be loud, but your dog may be more receptive to the way they work.

 

Can You Clip a Dog’s Nails while It Is Sleeping?

Trimming your dog’s nails while they are sleeping is possible, but you need to be extra careful. Go slow while trimming so you can react in time if your dog suddenly wakes up.


 

Conclusion on How Can I Sedate My Dog to Cut His Nails

Use over-the-counter drugs such as melatonin and diphenhydramine to sedate your dog before cutting its nails. Get a prescription from a veterinarian to try other forms of medication including acepromazine and diazepam. A pheromone spray and some treats can also help your dog calm down. If you have the time, you can also take your dog for a long walk so they will be tired by the time you go to cut their nails.