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Pet Care Basics

Trimming Your Dog’s Nails

August 11, 2022

Trimming Your Dog’s Nails

Last updated: August 02, 2016

Trimming your dog’s nails for the first time can be scary, but if you set yourself up for success and have the necessary equipment to handle the job, you will be much better prepared for a successful nail trim.

Set Yourself Up for Success

Before you start trimming your dog’s nails, you should get him accustomed to having someone touch his paws. This works best when he is a puppy, so he is used to having his feet handled from the beginning. Gently stroke and massage his paws and lightly apply pressure to his claws. Getting your dog to relax during nail trimming is crucial for success. Make your dog comfortable by laying him down on his side or holding him on your lap. You can also start slowly by clipping just the very tips of his nails at first.

What You Will Need

Before you try to trim your dog’s nails, make sure you have all the necessary equipment on hand. You will need dog nail clippers, a nail file, and styptic powder. Instead of using a pet trimmer, some people choose to use a nail grinder.

Ready to Trim

When you have all the necessary equipment, you can start trimming. Gently take your dog’s paw in one hand and hold it steady. With the other hand, slip the opening of the clipper over the tip of the nail. Hold the trimmer at a 45-degree angle and squeeze it firmly to make small cuts. Stop when you can see a black dot in the middle of the nail while looking at it head on. You have reached the quick, which is where blood vessels and nerves are located. If you cut the quick, it will cause bleeding and pain. If the nail starts bleeding, use a styptic powder to stop the blood flow. If your dog’s nail is jagged or sharp after clipping, you may try to carefully file down the sharp edges.

Helpful Tips for Cutting Dog Nails

  • Clip the nail slowly and only a little at a time. This will help prevent cutting too far and causing bleeding.
  • It’s also important to clip a little at a time if your pet’s nails are dark and you can’t see the quick. Cut until you see a black or pink dot in the center of the nail and then stop, as you’ve found the quick.
  • For long-haired breeds, it may be necessary to trim the long hair around the paws for better access to the nails.
  • Don’t forget to trim the dog’s dewclaws on the inner side of the leg.
  • Cut your dog’s nails frequently. The quick grows with the nail, and a longer quick makes it harder to trim the nails without cutting it.
  • The goal of clipping is to remove the part of the claw that juts over your dog’s pad. When your dog is standing, his nails should just be touching the ground.
  • If you don’t feel comfortable trimming your dog’s nails or you are unsure about how to do it the first time, please ask a professional groomer or your veterinarian to show you how.

If you need help, call us at 800.786.4751.

-The Revival Education Team

If you need help, call us at 800.786.4751.