Fear Free Nail Trimming

Your Guide to Fear Free Nail Trims.

Ideally, fear free nail trims should begin as a puppy or kitten.  However, it is never too late to start making nail trims a fear free event.  Generally, it is easier to start with a puppy or kitten because they start with a clean slate, i.e. they have not already had a fearful experience.   The training is the same for both groups of animals, it will just take longer and take more patience with a pet that has had a negative experience.

Begin by finding a yummy treat that your pet loves and cutting the treat into many tiny pieces.  Then start playing with your pet’s feet.  Touching them, rubbing them and holding them.  If your pet is frightened of this make sure that you are feeding treats while you are touching.  Remove the treats when you are no longer playing with your pet’s toes.  Once they are good with this, move to gently pinching your pet’s toes and making clicking sounds while feeding the treats.  After they are good with this, and yes it may take days to weeks to move to the next step, begin by trimming a single nail while feeding a treat and praising your pet.  The goal will be to trim a nail or two without your pet noticing that you are trimming the nails.  If your pet starts to struggle, stop, take away the treats, give them a break and start over later.  Eventually you will to move up to being able to trim all the nails in one sitting.  If at any point you are unable to progress due to fear, anxiety or stress, contact your veterinarian for help or medications to make this less stressful.

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