"Some work better on cats than others, and some are better for larger dogs with thicker nails," said Eckman. "Others claim to 'find the quick' so you don't cause the nail to bleed, but I don't think these work very well."
Letting your pet become acclimated to nail clipping at an early age can also help the process go more smoothly. Once they become comfortable with you holding their paws as kittens or puppies, gradually start clipping one or two nails a day, and follow up with lots of positive rewards for their cooperation. Giving them their favorite treats or even a long tummy scratch should do the trick.
Even with the most painless technique and gradual of introductions, there are pets that seem unable to get over their terror of nail clipping. If your cat or dog falls under this category, it may be helpful to seek help from an assistant to hold down and calm them while you do the deed. If that backfires and your pet is still too stressed, then talk to your veterinarian about strategies to help make nail trims less stressful, Eckman said.
Pet Talk is a service of the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences at Texas A&M University.