How Do I Sedate My Dog To Cut His Nails? {Complete Guide}

You may have heard someone say that sedation is the best choice if you have had trouble trimming your pet’s nails. That is true! The idea of sedating their dogs intimidates some people. However, this is the best way to ensure a smooth grooming session with your dog.

Not every dog is comfortable sitting straight in one place for an extended period. It is impossible to imagine they’d sit through the entire time while you chop their nails.

Some dogs can get scared at the sight of a cutter used on their paws. Think of it like trying to cut an infant’s nails; their hands and fingers are never steady. Similarly, dogs are constantly moving or trying to explore what is happening through their mouth out of curiosity.

No wonder your furry friend needs to get their nails cut the most of your family members!

Why Do I Need To Cut My Dog’s Nails?

Why Do I Need To Cut My Dog's Nails?

Dog parents often witness their dogs dragging their nails on the ground. Unfortunately, many pet owners overlook this critical stage in the grooming process. However, it is crucial for dogs not just from a vanity point of view but also in terms of hygiene.

Sedation is the only option if your dog is too large, firm, or stubborn to be restrained with a collar. However, doing this puts a great deal of strain on the dog and the veterinarian or the one trying to cut the dog’s nails.

Giving him a medication that eliminates his fear and anxiety and enables him to remain calm so the nails aren’t clipped too short is much better for everyone involved!

1. Susceptible to Injuries

Having nails that are too long might lead to a variety of problems in the long run. For example, you may have noticed that dog nails grow curvedly. If the nails are neglected for a long time, they will eventually turn back and dig into the footpad.

This not only hurts your dog, but it also makes injuries more likely. The nail can be pulled out of its socket with just one nick.

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2. Growing Bacteria

Apart from this, there is always the fear of growing bacteria beneath long nails, which can cause serious infections in the near future. In addition, the chance of a toe bone infection exists. In severe cases, dogs’ toes may need to be severed!

3. Growing Blood Vessels

Your dog’s blood vessels and nerves grow due to improper nail care. There is a pinkish bundle of blood vessels called “quick,” and the nerves under it are susceptible. In case it is cut, it is challenging to stop the bleeding. Additionally, it is vulnerable to infection, and “quick” cuts can be deadly.

Also Read: How To Groom A Dog At Home?

How Do I Sedate My Dog to Cut His Nails?

How Do I Sedate My Dog to Cut His Nails?

If you do not want to pay a groomer or your veterinarian to cut your dog’s nails, you can easily invest in some tools and do it at home. In addition, you can consider sedating your dog by using medicated drugs. Your dog doesn’t need to be frightened or anxious during nail clipping. Medications to the central nervous system make the dog feel at ease and relaxed.

(Warning: Use the appropriate dosage based on the size of your dog. For instance, a large dog will require more than a little toy dog.)

1. Benadryl

Benadryl (diphenhydramine HCL), an anti-anxiety drug commonly used by individuals, is an antihistamine diphenhydramine HCLD Sentry allergy relief.

If your pet is anxious about clipping its nails, this moderate antihistamine sedative can come to your rescue. Although it’s not meant to be used regularly, it will help your dog’s nail-trimming session go more smoothly. The Merck Veterinary Manual advises using 2-4 mg of Benadryl per kilogram of body weight.

2. Diazepam

Diazepam is the brand name used for Valium. This chemical is tightly controlled and regulated. Technically, the FDA has not cleared it for use with dogs. Only veterinarians can prescribe it. It is for several ailments, including stress, anxiety, and depression.

It’s a practical choice for terrified dogs. But as usual, consult your vet before making any significant choices and also discuss the right amount of dosage for your pet.

There are several side effects of diazepam.

First, it interacts poorly with many other drugs and is highly potent. Therefore, any medication you administer to your dog may cause unfavorable side effects if the dog is currently on any other medication.

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Second, diazepam abuse is a substantial risk as they can get addicted to Valium.

3. Supplements

Supplement for cats and small dogs prepared from the plant Vetoquinol Zylkene to support good behavior.

Casein supplements are a far better choice than prescribed medications. This is because they naturally include canine milk proteins. In addition, many dietary supplements are sold under different brand names.

4. Herbs

Many herbal supplements, liquid drops, and sprays are available in the market that reduces anxiety, namely Dorwest and Scullcap. These herbs are typically used in culinary preparation.

You can mix these herbs in any food that is their favorite and offer them as a reward or as a regular part of their diet. Make sure your veterinarian provides the all-clear before following any product instructions.

5. Aromatherapy

Perhaps the best and the safest kind of therapy. Your dog will feel calm and sleep better with aromatherapy. To calm your dog down, massage it with some lavender oil. Then, use your hands carefully to massage the dog’s head’s back.

Do not forget to massage the spine’s base. Your dog will feel less stressed due to massage since it reduces cortisol production.

How Do I Cut My Dog’s Nails: Step-By-Step

  • To avoid scaring your pet, proceed slowly.
  • Grab your dog by the neck and turn it over on its side.
  • To allow you to move your dog’s feet freely, firmly grasp all four of its hind legs.
  • You should avoid attempting to do both yourself because it could harm you and your dog. It would be best if you could have someone to help you clip your dog’s nails.
  • Be very cautious when trimming the nails. You can also postpone the session if there is no one to offer assistance.
  • Meanwhile, you can gather his favorite toys or snacks and put them nearby because they help the dog calm down.

There is Any Alternative to Avoid Sedating My Dog?

There is Any Alternative to Avoid Sedating My Dog?

Yes. There is an alternative to avoid sedating your pet. However, it may not work for dogs who have an aggressive temperament. Suppose your dog has appropriately behaved in the past during his nail cutting session but gets slightly uncomfortable at the start of a new session each time. In that case, you can try to give him a concoction to calm them down organically.

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In a cup, combine one teaspoon each of skullcap, catnip, and German chamomile. Pour heated water (approximately 120 ml) over the mixture-filled cup. Let it sit for a while before adding three tablespoons of honey. Give the dog the mixture after keeping it for 24 hours.

This magical portion ought to do its work!

Things to Keep in Mind While Sedating Dog

  • Have someone grasp your dog’s forefoot and keep his head steady. Have someone else hold the body and the hind feet firmly in place.
  • Accidents can happen during the trimming procedure if your dog flicks or if there are any unexpected movements.
  • Do stress or panic if you cut his skin a little bit. He will probably start barking in discomfort, but he will soon recover.
  • If your dog behaves well during the grooming session and doesn’t cry, do not forget to reward him. Every time you successfully clip a nail, throw him a treat.
  • Keep in mind that while taking medications to sedate your dog, they function by preventing specific signals from reaching the central nervous system. This tends to have a soothing effect, helping the dog to relax and calm down. Sedatives are potent drugs, so ask a professional for the appropriate prescription.
  • It is best to introduce nail cutting sessions in the early years of your dog’s life so they are habituated to this activity. Also, when dogs are young, their nails tend to be softer and easier to cut, and they won’t feel as traumatized in getting used to this procedure.
  • Be attentive to your dog’s reaction, and if you notice any heart or blood pressure problems, you should immediately seek medical assistance for your dog.


You shouldn’t just decide to clip your dog’s nails at the last minute. Humans can trim their nails, but animals must prepare psychologically. If you do not do things correctly, your pet can fight you when you try to train them. Your dog might even bite you if you do not trim his nails. It might seem easy, but dogs are easily distracted and won’t stay still when you pull out the nail clippers, making it challenging.