Pet Care Basics, Shelter and Rescue Resources, Vet Minute
How to Trim Dog Nails
October 2, 2019
Help! My dog’s nails are long. Wondering how to trim your dog’s nails? When it comes to cutting dogs nails there are several things to keep in mind. From how to use dog nail clippers to tips for cutting dog nails, Revival’s Director of Veterinary Services, Dr. Marty Greer, shows step-by-step how to cut your dog’s nails.
Tips for Trimming Dog Nails
First, find a delicious treat that keeps your dog focused like peanut butter, squeeze cheese or cool whip, on a silicone mat. Next, work on an area with great lighting, and with smaller dogs, on an elevated but non-slip surface so they hold still better. Be sure to use a great nail clipper with sharp blades so that you cut, not squeeze the nail. Have some styptic powder available, such as Kwik Stop in case your dog zigs when you zag, and you cut nail a little bit too short. Having an assistant makes it much easier.
Cutting Dark Dog Nails
With dark colored dog nails it’s a little bit harder because you’re going to be concerned about trimming the nail too short. On a light colored nail just pull the hair back and look where the pink part of the nail is. Don’t trim into the pink part. On a dark colored nail the easiest thing to do is line up the nail with where the footpad is and not go any shorter than the dog’s footpad. Otherwise, you’re likely to cut the nail too short.
The main thing is not to be afraid of trimming nails, but rather to keep them in good condition and trim them frequently, so that we don’t have too much to take off at a time. You don’t have to do them all at one time. If your dog wants to get down and move around and then come back, you can finish it up in a little bit.
If you need help or have more questions on how to clip dog nails, call a Revival Pet Care Pro at 800.786.4751
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Written by: Marty Greer, DVM
Director of Veterinary Services
Marty Greer, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, has 40+ years’ experience in veterinary medicine, with special interests in canine reproduction and pediatrics. She received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Iowa State University in 1981. She’s served as Revival’s Director of Veterinary Services since 2019. In 2023, Dr. Greer was named the Westminster Kennel Club Veterinarian of the Year.