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If you are already a dog owner, you probably know that dogs require maintenance! Some of these things are expected like vet visits, daily walks, and playtime. Other things can come as a bit of a shock for first-time pet owners! Nail trims are something that can come as a surprise since it’s probably not the first thing you consider when it comes to down ownership. But it can get costly depending on your dog!
So, how much does it cost to get dog nails trimmed?
The average cost of a dog nail trim is usually between 12$ and 30$. This cost can vary depending on where you’re getting the nail trim done and how cooperative your dog is. Nail trims can also be done at home with practice and the purchase of a few tools.
Keep reading to find out why when and how to trim your dog’s nails. We will also talk about the costs of supplies and prices for a nail trim from a veterinarian or a dog groomer so you can make the best decision for your furry friend.
Why Do Dogs Need Nail Trims?
Unfortunately, nail trims are necessary for the health of almost all dogs!
Back in the day, dogs spent more time outside on rough terrain. Dogs would climb and run over rocky ridges, dirt, and gravel. This rough terrain was actually beneficial to a dog’s nails. It would act as a natural nail file and keep the nails at a proper length.
Now, most dogs only spend a fraction of their time running over rough surfaces and don’t naturally wear down their nails. Sure, a walk will help a little but it won’t get nails to the appropriate length. Like humans, most dogs need regular nail trims to keep their nails from growing too long.
Since dogs don’t wear down their own nails, they need nail trims to keep themselves healthy and safe. Long nails are a hazard to their health. Additionally, long nails have the potential to scratch floors, carpets, and even owners!
Can Overgrown Nails Hurt Dogs?
If you don’t think your dog’s long nails are hurting them, think again.
Overgrown nails can cause acute or chronic pain for their owners. Long nails can actually change the posture of a dog and cause issues with their hips, shoulders, and backs. According to the American Kennel Club, some of these side effects of overgrown nails can be permanent.
Long nails are also more likely to get snagged or stuck on fabrics, like carpet. If nails are left untrimmed, they will actually start to grow around and back into the dog’s paw. This can result in painful sores and ulcers which can get easily infected.
Are all dogs at risk of overgrown nails, or only certain breeds?
Do All Dogs Need Nail Trims?
Almost all dogs will need nail trims at some point in their lives.
Small dogs almost always need regular nail trims. Larger dogs usually do as well. But, if you have a large dog that spends most of their day outside, it’s possible that they are wearing down their nails naturally. If this is the case you need to keep an eye on your dog’s feet and make sure that the nails stay short.
Outside of that very specific set of circumstances, all dogs need nail trims! The frequency of these nail trims does vary between breeds and even individuals.
How Often Should Dogs Get Nail Trims?
Just like humans, dog nails grow at different speeds.
Because of this, it’s hard to put an exact number on how long to go between trims! A better metric to use as an example is to judge the need for a trim based on the length of the nail. A good rule of thumb is that a dog’s nails are ready for a trim when they just start to touch the floor as they’re standing.
So, this means that once you start to hear your dog’s nails tap tapping on the floor, it’s time for a trim!
Does Size Of Dog Matter?
For many dogs, the time between trims will be around 3 – 4 weeks. Even though it might be counterintuitive, smaller dogs actually need more frequent nail trims than larger dogs. Even though they have smaller nails they’re still at a disadvantage here. Larger dogs tend to naturally wear down their own nails a little bit when they walk on rough surfaces due to their size and weight. Unfortunately, a small dog like a chihuahua doesn’t weigh enough to benefit from this effect.
Either way both small and large dogs will need regular nail trims!
3 Ways To Trim Your Dog’s Nails (And The Cost Of Each)
So, now that we’ve established that all dogs need nail trims, how do we do it? And how much will it cost?
Well, there are three options for how to get your dog’s nails trimmed. You can trim them yourself, at home, you can get them trimmed at the vet, or you can get them trimmed at a groomer. We’re going to go over the pros and cons of each method and make sure to do a price comparison at the end of this section.
Trim Them At Home (Free)
Have you ever trimmed your dog’s nails at home? Maybe you tried and it didn’t go well!
Trimming your dog’s nail at home takes some patience time and practice on both ends, but the results can be rewarding!
The pros of trimming your dog’s nails at home are low costs and low stress for your dog. The cons of trimming your dog’s nails at home are the potential of injuring them.
So, how do you trim a dog’s nails? Let’s talk anatomy first!
How Are Dog Nails Different From Human Nails?
A dog’s nail is made up of keratin,m just like a human’s. Dog nails are much thicker, curved, and can be different colors. Dog nails also have a quick inside them which supplies the nail with blood and nutrients to stay healthy. In the photo below from Animal Trust, you can see a diagram explaining the quick.
In this diagram, you can see that the cut line is above the quick. You want to avoid hitting the quick when giving a nail trim.
How Do You Trim A Dog’s Nail?
If your dog has clear or white nails, you’re in luck. You should be able to see a pink or red area in your dog’s nail. That’s the quick and is your guideline to avoid. If your dog has brown or black nails, you’re going to have to trim a little bit at a time with a slightly different technique.
For all dog nails, you want to get either nail clippers or a nail Dremel. Many dogs prefer a nail Dremel because the sensation is not as abrupt as that of nail clippers. Some dogs prefer clippers because they don’t like the sound of the dremmel. You might need to experiment with your pup to find out! Luckily, you can find affordable sets on amazon that include files and clippers. You can find the price of my favorite set on Amazon by clicking here.
This video explains the steps you need to take to trim your dog’s nails.
If you do hit the quick, don’t panic. You can hold a clean rag or paper towel to your dog’s nail until the bleeding stops. Hopefully, you can avoid hitting the quick again now that you know where it is. Hitting a quick can be painful for a dog, so if you’re not sure it’s always a good idea to just cut a small part of the nail off at a time.
P.S. if you find that your dog is trying to eat their nail trimmings, don’t worry. This is actually normal and we explain it all in our article here.
If this process seems a little overwhelming, luckily, you can find plenty of help online. To keep your pet from stressful monthly vet visits, you can try to learn how to trim their nails like a pro. This course will help teach you everything you need to know, including what to do if you hit a quick and how to work with an unwilling pet. Click here to learn more!
So, let’s talk about our other nail trimming options.
Get Them Trimmed At The Vet ($12 to $30)
Are you taking your dog to the vet regularly for some reason? Do you live super close to your veterinarian? In these cases, it might be worth it to get your dog’s nails trimmed at the vet!
Will The Vet Cut My Dogs Nails?
Yes, veterinary offices offer nail trims as a service. Sometimes a nail trim can only be scheduled as an add-on service and a veterinarian might not accept your dog just for a nail trim appointment. This depends on the vet hospital’s policies and business!
The pros of taking your dog to the vet are that a professional is going to take care of your dog, and it will probably be faster than doing it at home. The cons are that it can be costly and your dog might get stressed when making trips to the vet.
At a vet office, the cost for a trim can range anywhere from $12-$30 and more depending on your dog’s attitude, size, and health status.
Do Dogs Need To Be Sedated For Nail Trims?
Most dogs won’t be sedated for nail trims! However, as a veterinary technician, I can tell you that sometimes sedation is easier for both the staff and the animal. For extremely aggressive or anxious dogs, sedation reduces the risk of injury all around. It also makes a more pleasant experience for your dog, and they will be less afraid of a nail trim next time.
It’s important to note that sedation will cost you extra and this cost is widely variable between different vet hospitals.
Do Certain Breeds Cost More?
Luckily, your dog won’t be charged based on their breed. However, if y our dog is a problem patient or needs sedation, there will definitely be an upcharge for time and supplies. For example, a large, aggressive, Great Pyrenees will cost more for a nail trim than a relaxed pitbull. Not only because the Great Pyrenees will have extra toenails to cut, but the aggression and the size will make it a lot harder to handle.
Get Them Trimmed At A Groomer ($10 to $15)
The last option you have for your dog’s nail trimming needs is with a groomer.
Believe it or not, groomers are probably more adept at nail trims than vets are. That’s because while vet offices have plenty of other things that they do each day, groomers specialize in things like nail trims.
The pros of a groomer are that they are quick and you can get the nail trim done with regular grooming. The cons of a groomer are that they can be expensive compared to cutting your dog’s nails at home. Plus, some dogs really hate the groomer and become depressed after a visit. If you have a dog like that, read more about it here!
One big bonus is that most groomers with allow you to bring your dog in just for a nail trim. Additionally, many groomers offer nail filing services for dogs who don’t love nail clippers.
Petco, one of the largest groomers in the U.S. charges $10 for a nail trim and $15 for a nail trim and file.
How Much Does Dog Nail Trimming For An Entire Year?
I hope you feel like an empowered nail trimming expert now! Let’s compare the costs of each of our three options.
For one year of nail trims (every 4 weeks) here is what every method will cost you:
- At Home – $30.00 (cost of clippers or Dremel)
- Veterinary Office – $260.00
- Groomer – $140.00
If you are going based on the price the most budget-friendly option is definitely trimming them yourself! Even after taking a course on nail trimming, you will still come out far below regular vet or groomer appointments. Whatever you do, I trust that you will make the best decision for you and your dog!