Trimming a Chihuahua's Nails, or any dog's nails for that matter is not an easy task. Dogs in general do not particularly like their paws to be handled as it is a sensitive area. A dog that is uncomfortable with getting their nails trimmed will squirm, thrust, yelp, bite, and wiggle and make trimming their nails extremely difficult and unpleasant. Nevertheless, it is necessary to have your dogs nails trimmed before they get too long and interfere with your dogs ability to walk properly.
Long toe-nails can also cause discomfort for your Chihuahua, and worse case scenario, they can get snagged on something and do severe damage to your Chihuahua's feet. A large amount of Chihuahua owners elect to have their dogs taken to a professional groomer to have their nails trimmed, but this can be expensive. With the help of this guide and some practice, the difficulties of trimming your dog's toe-nails yourself can be overcome.
If possible, start trimming your dogs nails as early in their life as you can to get them used to the routine. This is the easiest and the most sure-fire method, so long as you don't hurt them too often along the way.
Select a trimmer that cuts cleanly, and as quietly as possible so that they are not hurt by the cut or startled by the clipping sound. There are only 3 types of dog nail clippers; guillotine style, scissor style, and pliers style. Some also have a safety stop which only allows a small portion of the nail to be cut so that you do not cut the quick. I wish I could say that one style is better than the other, but it really comes down to personal preference (I personally don't like the guillotine style because it takes longer to get into position, and some of my Chihuahuas are intimidated when it's placed over their nails). Chihuahua toe-nails are are small so you have to be more precise than with a big dog, so make sure that you select a style that you are comfortable with.
Examine you dog's nails before you begin and look for where the quick starts. The quick is a small vein that runs through the middle of the dog's nails. Some dogs will have black toe-nails so you may not be able to tell where the quick starts. It is important to only trim a little bit at a time so that you do not cut to the quick, as it will bleed and is quite painful for your Chihuahua if cut. Have some Kwik-Stop Styptic Powder on hand to stop the bleeding just in case.
The best time to clip your dog's nails is when they are relaxed, or immediately after a bath when their nails are soft from the warm water.
Some websites recommend having another person present to help hold down your Chihuahua while you trim their nails. Unless this second person is someone your Chihuahua knows and trusts, I would not recommend it. Having someone your dog does not trust holding them down may frighten them and make the whole experience a bad one. In which case, trimming their nails will only get harder and harder.
Hold the Chihuahua in a comfortable position to where you have easy access to their paws. For their front paws, I find it easiest to hold them under one arm while sitting down, and clip with the other arm. For the hind legs (if your dog is not comfortable on their back in your arms) it is sometimes easier to place them on a table and lift their hind leg up so that their paw is facing the ceiling and you are looking down at it.
For starters, just try and clip a few nails in one session (or as many as they are comfortable with), and thoroughly praise them for their cooperation. Wait a couple of hours, or even until the next day, and then clip another paw. Slowly building their trust and familiarity with the routine will greatly increase your chances of having a willing participant in the nail trimming process.
Can you use Human finger-nail or toe-nail clippers to cut your dogs nails? Technically yes, but it is strongly advised against. Human finger-nail clippers have more of a pinching and crushing action than a cutting one, and are quite frequently very dull. While this technique works good enough for our thin, flat nails. It will not work well on a dogs thick and round nails.