How To Sedate A Dog To Cut Their Nails Naturally

How To Sedate A Dog To Cut Their Nails Naturally

Cutting your canine’s nails is a very important grooming task. If you ignore it, the grown nails can cause irritation, infection, and injury to your canine. Additionally, the longer you wait for trimming, the more difficult the procedure becomes. For many canines, nail cutting is very annoying. They do not like it. However, they get used to it.

On the other hand, for some canines, it is a horrifying experience. In such cases, you should know how to sedate a dog to cut its nails naturally.

Should You Sedate Your Dog Before Trimming Their Nails?

I know it sounds weird to sedate your canine. The term “sedate” is only used when canines go to sleep for big surgeries. However, you can still use this term for nail trimming.

Pros of sedation

  • The most important benefit of sedation is it makes your canine and you safer
  • Canines who go in self-defence mode while nail trimming will not be able to attack you
  • You can easily hold your canine’s paws anytime and in any position to trim his nails quietly
  • There are better results when you sedate your canine
  • If your canine reacts violently to nail trimming, you will get relief when you sedate your canine

How To Sedate A Dog To Cut Their Nails Naturally

How To Sedate A Dog To Cut Their Nails Naturally?


This is the natural sedative solution for your canine. It is the same with humans, when we smell something nice, it calms our nerves. Hence, you can use aromatherapy with your canine. It will relax your canine and help him fall asleep.

For instance, you can use lavender oil to massage your canine to relax him. Take some lavender oil and massage the back of your canine’s head and spine.

During the process, there will be no production of cortisol and this will reduce the stress your canine feels. After this, ensure that you wait until he is calm. Once you are sure about it, start trimming your canine’s nails.

Use Pheromones Laced Products

Every mammal has pheromones when it is nursing. In canines, the pup’s mom releases the same hormone. This hormone creates a calming effect and tells the puppies that their mom is here.

Examples of pheromones; aced products include comfort zone diffuser, Adaptil collar & spray, Sentry calming collar, etc. You can easily use them just by placing the collar on your canine’s neck. Connect the diffuser to any wall and it will start its work.


To calm your pooch you can use supplements like melatonin. It will sedate your canine before the nail-trimming procedure. Melatonin comes from the pineal gland. Moreover, it works as a sleeping hormone in animals. Also, it provides a deep sleep to the animal.


Herbal oils and pills can help you sedate your canine while nail cutting. There are various oils and pills available in the market that are specially made for dogs. Some of them include Skullcap, Dorwest Herbs, and Valerian tablets.

Herbs also help your canine relieve anxiety, stress, restlessness, and travel fatigue. Moreover, they can also control hyperactivity and epilepsy in canines.

Prepare Your Concoctions

Mix 1 spoon of skullcap, catnip, and German Chamomile in a bowl and keep it aside. Now heat 120ml of water and pour it into the bowl of the mixture. Add 3 spoonfuls of honey to it. Store the mix for 24 hours and start giving it to your dog.

Give Benadryl

Benadryl in dogs is often used as an anti-anxiety treatment. It is not for daily use. However, it can help ease your canine’s anxiety when you are cutting his nails.

The Merck Veterinary Manual advises that canines take 2-4 mg of Benadryl per kg of their weight. Do not give a time-release Benadryl capsule or alcohol-containing liquid version to your canine.

It can have side effects like:

  • Rapid breathing
  • Dry mouth
  • Increase heart-rate


It is a common name for Valium. Moreover, it is not FDA-approved to be used by canines. However, many vets have the knowledge and ability to prescribe it for fighting stress in dogs.

If your canine cannot agree to cut nails, you can use diazepam. But, you will have to consult your vet before using it on your canine.

This is because there can be some side effects of using diazepam. It does not cooperate with other medicine and is very strong. Additionally, it can be addictive because canines can develop an addiction to valium.

Buy a Body Wrap

A body wrap is also known as a pressure or anxiety wrap. It is a tight jacket that wraps around your canine’s body. It eventually slows down the canine’s heart rate and makes him feel safe.

Alternative nail clipping methods for canines

  1. Take a piece of sandpaper and place it on the ground. Now, let your canine scratch it. However, be careful and keep an eye on your canine.
  2. Take rough mats and allow your canine to scratch them. In this way, your canine’s nails will automatically get filed.
  3. Replace your regular nail clippers with a Dremel tool that will trim your canine’s nails.
  4. Try to cut your canine’s nails when he is sleeping. However, be cautious when you are doing this.

Tips for Calming Your Dog Before Clipping

Sedating must be the last option to sedate your canine while cutting his nails. Moreover, you are going to do this his entire life. Therefore, you must teach your canine that cutting nails is not a big thing.

Here are some tips for calming your dog before clipping-

Positive Reinforcement

You can do positive reinforcement on your canine to sit still. However, you are not getting results unless you make the nail cutting process a positive experience.

  • Never yell at your canine
  • Take a deep breath and do anything to stay calm.
  • Talk to your canine very calmly
  • Praise your canine
  • Give a lot of love
  • Provides his favourite treats

Tire him out

This is an old trick that can help you a lot. Before cutting your canine’s nails, go for a long run. Play with your canine and tire him out. If he is tired, he will be less likely to resist nail cutting.

I know it is a bit trickster to do, but it is very effective. When your canine is tired, he does not have any choice but to lie down.

Trim the nails frequently

If you trim your canine’s nails less frequently, getting him comfortable will take years. You must trim your canine’s nails every 2 weeks. This will provide opportunities and exposure for him to face and conquer his fears. Additionally, it makes sure that the nails stay in good form.

Use the appropriate tools for clipping

You must use the right tools for clipping the nails. Inexpensive tools will pinch the nails and can cause harm. Moreover, you can also use a grinder for precision.

Whatever you use, give your canine time to get comfortable with it. The grinder is loud and it could make your canine more anxious.

Final words

In conclusion, I would say that sedation has the potential to help your canine get through the nail-cutting process. However, it is also not the only option for you. Consult your vet before trying any sedation on your canine. It will help you to be sure about your canine’s health.

I hope you enjoyed the article. I will be back soon with more interesting and informative pieces of writing. Till then, stay connected. Thank you.

Frequently asked questions

What do I do if my dog won’t let me cut his nails?

You can treat your canine with a spoonful of peanut butter, give them his favourite treats, or a toy to play with. Keep your canine relaxed as much as you can. Keep touching his paws to make him comfortable. Once he allows you to touch his paws while he stays relaxed, start holding his paw in your hand.

Can I give Benadryl to my dog to cut her nails?

Benadryl is used for canines as a calming medicine. However, it can be dangerous for canines and in some cases can become fatal if not given correctly.

How do you cut my dog’s nails when she hates them?

Clip 1 toenail and give her a treat if she stays calm. Moreover, you can also try to trim another nail, however, stop yourself when your canine becomes uncomfortable. You can gradually trim 2-3 nails at once. Then you can start trimming all the nails at once.