Let’s just get this out of the way. If your Weim’s nails are touching the ground, they are too long!
And long nails are bad because:
- They can tear off more easily which can be very painful.
- They force your dog to alter way they stand which can cause leg or spine issues.
- It’s annoying to hear the clicking when they walk on hard surfaces.
- It looks gross!
Many Weimaraners owners hate the chore of nail trimming because their Weimaraners hate it! (Perhaps in some cases, it could be the other way around. Many Weimaraners hate nail trimming because their owners do! Yes, your attitude about this does matter!)
Your Weim may have had a bad and/or painful experience with nail trimming in the past. Or, he may dislike, or is not used to, his feet being touched. He may also dislike staying still or behind held down. Nail care should not be a painful experience nor should it be a wrestling match with your Weimaraner!
The First Step
This is where the trouble often starts. If your Weimaraner has never had any nail care before, do not just start cutting away! Take some time to see if he is okay with your touching his feet first. A lot of dogs do not naturally like this. Get him used to his feet being handled before you start anything!
My Weim is Afraid/Fights Me
If your Weimaraner suddenly turns into a squirmy, uncontrollable beast when those clippers come out, then no wonder the nail trims rarely happen! I’ve done the “hold-em-down and get it done” method before, and it’s not fun. It also requires a helper. And even with a helper I have had a young Weimaraner puppy knock my helper’s front tooth right out requiring a thousand dollar crown.
To avoid that kind of scenario, it pays to go slowly and exercise some patience. After your Weim is happy with you touching his feet, slowly introduce the clippers or dremel or whatever tool you are using. Treats are usually used to make a positive association with the whole ordeal, but remember, for some Weims, attention and petting is just as good or even better than food!
If you push forward too fast and your Weim starts to show some fear, then back up to the previous step that he was able to handle. Only move on if your dog is comfortable. You may need to start with your tool simply touching his toe nail at first. Or you may be able to clip or dremel one toe. You may need to take a break before moving on. Every dog is different, but do not power through the whole process, your Weim is going to dictate the process, not you.
Join the Nail Maintenance for Dogs group on Facebook. There are curated posts and links in the files section. It’s a gold mine in there!
How to Cut Your Weimaraner’s Nails
I use the alternate cut method which is described here along with a diagram. Using this method encourages your dog’s quick to recede. You don’t just cut across, you also cut the top and sides, angling back. When your dogs’ nails are cut or ground this way, the quick hits the ground when he walks, and the quick recedes.
So, in the below-right image, you would dremel off all of the light brown area, angling back. The nail won’t be blunt across but will be in a pointy shape. I prefer the blunt look, but it’s important to dremel the nail to a point if you are trying to make the quick recede so you can get the nail shorter next time.
Cut or Grind?
I prefer grinding nails down with a rotary tool far more that using dog nail clippers because of the precision it offers. I can get closer to the quick without “quicking” my dogs, causing them to bleed. If nails are super long, I’ll cut them first and then use a rotary tool.
I own a 15 year old rotary tool from a local hardware store that I bought for about $40, but the crème de la crème in my opinion is the Dremel 8220. It’s cordless, and it is a lot quieter and with enough power to get through the chore quickly.
What about Black/Fast-Growing/(Fill-In-the-Blank) Nails?
Blue Weimaraners have black nails! And so do some gray Weimaraners from certain lines. You cannot see the quick as well as with a darker nail which is challenging for some people.
The key with dark nails is to look for the horseshoe white fleshy area and dremel right around that area. Sometimes it’s actually a little easier to see the horseshoe because of the contrast between the black nail and the white horseshoe.
I personally believe that some dogs’ nails just grow fast and/or the quicks just don’t recede. I included both a “good” (left) and “bad” (right) photo in the collage above. Both dogs are on the same “nail schedule.”
It really does not matter what color the nail is, how they grow or the type of nail any individual dog has. Basically, all the same rules apply. They are fine if they aren’t touching the ground.
Believe it or not, your Weimaraner can learn to enjoy nail day!
I prefer to dremel my dogs’ nails weekly. For most dogs trimming the nails once or twice a month is usually adequate to keep the nails reasonable (not touching the ground). However, the more frequently you trim, the less time each session takes, and I believe that a big part of Weimaraners disliking their nails being done isn’t so much the procedure itself but the length of time they need to hold still.
You will find that once you start making progress, you and your Weim will really start to enjoy this time together!