some people swear that a product called rescue rememdy works really well to take the edge off nervous animals. it doesnt have a sedative effect but it just takes the edge off.
depending on how bad he is for nail cuts, this may or may not work. some dogs totally flip out when their paws are touched in which case i doubt this would work well. it isnt terribly expensive to buy it and at least try.
if not, you could always have your vets office do it for you.
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.