Dog Care: Trimming Dog Nails

Trimming Your Dog’s Nails

While nail trimming is part of a good grooming routine, many dog owners are afraid to trim their dog’s nails. It makes both the person and the dog anxious and therefore, people often skip this crucial grooming task.


Skipping this task can be dangerous for the dog. When the dog’s nails get too long, it can cause painful breakages, irregular gait and in a worst case scenario curl back into the dog’s paw.


2 Keys to Successful Trimming

Follow two key strategies and you can make nail trimming a pleasant experience for you and your dog.

  1. Associate Dog Nail Trimmers with Fun
  2. Trim the Dog’s Nails Slow and Easy

Associate Dog Nail Trimmers with Fun

Most dogs find the whole nail trimming experience unpleasant. They do not like people touching their feet and the pressure of cutting the claws is unnerving. If the owners cut the nail too short, it can cause painful bleeding.


However, you can help your dog learn to enjoy nail trimming. If you associate the dog nail trimmers with fun and treats, then your dog will look forward to the process. This is easily done by following exposure to the nail trimmers with delicious treats like (peanut or cheese) and some fun playtime. Over time, your dog will see the nail trimmers and be excited about what will come.

Trim the Dog’s Nails Slow and Easy

The biggest problem owners have with trimming their dog’s nails is overcoming the initial fear of trimming. The last thing you want to do is make the situation worse by forcing nail clipping on an obviously scared dog. Therefore, it is best to introduce the clippers to your dog before ever starting to trim. Show the clippers and introduce a tasty treat.


After your dog is used to seeing the clippers, begin the trimming. Only clip one or two toes at first. This way your dog can build up its tolerance to the entire procedure. Don’t forget to continue giving tasty treats after clipping.

How to Trim a Dog’s Nails

Before you start trimming the nails, be sure to gather everything you need for the trimming. Make sure you have the trimmers, some clotting powder (in case you cut too deep) and some tasty treats for your dog.

  1. Select a Nail to Trim
  2. Hold the Dog’s Toe – Use a gentle yet firm pressure to hold the nail steady
  3. Place Trimmer Below Quick – See picture below as to where to trim
  4. Cut the Nail – Hold the trimmers vertical and squeeze to cut the nail

If you cut the nail too short, dip the nail into your clotting powder. Then, begin speaking calmly to your dog. The bleeding should stop quickly.

Where to Trim Your Dog’s Nails

It takes some time to learn exactly where to cut your dog’s nails. If your dog has clear nails, then you will be able to clearly see the difference between the nail and the quick. The nail will be white and the quick is where it turns pink. Never cut more than 2mm close to the quick as it can cause bleeding and pain in your puppy.

If your dog has dark nails, the task will be more difficult. In this case, it is best to trim a tiny sliver of nail at a time. After each sliver, you can look at the nail. When you start to see a grey or pink oval, you know you have reached the quick and you should stop cutting. Cutting after the appearance of the grey or pink oval will cause pain in your dog.

Alternative to Nail Clipping

Many people do not like trimming their dog’s nails and instead prefer to use a Dremel. A Dremel works like an Emory board and files the nails down. Using a Dremel will prevent cracking and splitting. However, you need to be careful because the friction it causes can become quite hot. You do not want to burn the dog’s paw by filing too much at once. Like nail trimming, nail filing needs to be done a little at a time and should be followed by tasty treats.

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