Top Menu

Trimming Dog Nails


Young man trimming his dog's nails.
Trimming dog nails is fairly easy, but it is an essential task in your dog’s care. Nails should be trimmed regularly, once or twice a month, unless you take your dog on runs on concrete, which sometimes does a natural job of grinding the nails down. Even so, nails should be checked frequently, as you will probably have to supplement with occasional trimming.

Before you sit down with your dog, have the following items handy:

  • dog nail clippers – scissors style or guillotine style (our favorite)
  • styptic powder- in case you nip the nail quick by mistake

Get your dog in a comfortable position with your dog nail clippers in hand.

A person trimming their dog's nails with a guillotine cutter.Examine Your Dog’s Paws

To protect your dog from the pain of cutting their nail quick, you will first need to examine your dog’s nails. If the nails are light in color, you should be able to see the pink nail quick that is a slender, curved triangular shape that runs down the center of the nail.

You will want to only cut the nail away that is beyond the quick.

Click here to see some really terrific nail trimming photos and instructions from the College of Veterinary Medicine of Washington State University.

Be Careful to Protect the Nail Quick

Veterinarien, trimming dog nails on a Basset Hound.Follow the photo tutorial in the link just above and you will have great success. You will be cutting away a small portion of the nail tip, always being careful to avoid the nail quick. If your dog’s nails have grown to a point, you will be cutting on an angle to make a straight surface, which removes a triangular piece of nail (the tip).

Follow the photo tutorial in the link just above and you will have great success. You will be cutting away a small portion of the nail tip, always being careful to avoid the nail quick. If your dog’s nails have grown to a point, you will be cutting on an angle to make a straight surface, which removes a triangular piece of nail (the tip).

If you happen to catch the quick, put a little of the styptic powder where it is bleeding and it should stop the flow pretty quickly.

Warning: If you cut your dog’s nail quick by mistake, he will probably be wary and uncooperative as you continue cutting the rest of the nails, because this hurts a great deal.

Trimming dog's nails is part of good dog paw care. This photo shows the importance of watching out for the nail quick.

What to Do if Your Dog Will Simply Not Tolerate Nail Trimming

For dogs who have had their nail quick clipped by mistake in the past and who will not tolerate having their nails clipped, be sure to take them in to your veterinarian’s office or make an appointment with a groomer to have this done professionally because neglected nails can cause many problems. Professionals who are used to trimming or grinding dog’s nails regularly know all of the tricks to make this task easier and will relieve you of the stress of doing it yourself.

, , ,