You can hear your dog by the tapping of its nails on the ground. When they play, do they scratch you? It’s time to learn to trim dog nails. All pet owners should trim their dog’s nails as part of grooming. Long toenails can affect your dog’s happiness and health. Ignoring your dog’s toenails could cause them pain for a lifetime.

It can be costly and inconvenient to take your dog to a groomer. You don’t have to worry. I worked as a dog groomer for over 12 years and will show you step-by-step how to trim dog nails.

How often Should you Trim your Dog’s Nails?

Trimming your dog’s nails once a week is a good rule. With the exception of their dewclaws, dogs who spend a lot of time on or walking on concrete may only require monthly nail trimming. However, indoors or on grass, dogs will require trimming their nails every two weeks.

The quick (aka the vein within your dog’s nail) can become more prolonged, and you won’t be able to trim it as short again.

When are a Dog’s Nails too Long?

You can tell if your dog’s nail length is too long if you see any of the following signs:

  • They can be heard clicking on the pavement or hard surfaces.
  • The nail has a long, thin curve.
  • The pin is longer than the quick on white-nailed dogs.

What happens if my Dog’s Nails Get too Long?

Long Nails can Negatively impact your Dog’s Health.

Long nails can have short-term consequences.

  • Each toe is twisted or pressed to one side when your dog walks. This causes pain.
  • Long nails can grow in the paw pad, causing pain and infection.
  • The collar can also get caught on carpets, blankets, or even the collar.

Long-term effects from long nails

  • It is impossible to cut the nails as short as you want because of the quickness.
  • Prolonged, chronic nails can cause arthritis in the feet.
  • Joint problems can be caused by the unusual stance that is created when walking with long nails.

How to Cut Dog Nails – Step-by-Step Instructions

Are you ready to start? How to trim dog nails.

Gather Supplies

When you are ready to trim your dog’s nails, you will need a few items:

  • Dog Treats
  • Use a styptic powder such as Kwik Stop Miracle Care or cornstarch/flour
  • Nail clippers or a nail grinder
  • A second pair of hands is optional
  • Be calm and have patience!

Nail Grinders & Clippers: Types and Uses

Dogs’ nails can be trimmed with a variety of tools, including:

  • These Resco dog nail clippers contain a hole that you can insert a pin through. They are sharper for longer but harder to use.
  • These Hertzko Angular Blade Pet Clippers are similar to small scissors, with divots at the tip of each blade. These are the best clippers for puppies and small dogs.
  • The Mighty Paw Nail Clipper is a clipper that looks like pliers but has a spring. This makes it stronger and more suitable for thick, large nails.
  • The Dremel nail grinders fill the dog’s nails, making them smoother and more accessible to avoid quickly.

Easy Your Dog into It

Start small if you have never cut your dog’s nail before.

  • Allow your dog to sniff the grinder or nail clippers, and then reward him with a tasty treat.
  • To get your dog accustomed to the sound of the tool, turn on the nail grinder or cut dry spaghetti noodles. Then reward him.
  • Reward your dog for cutting one nail.
  • At first, only do one nail per day until your dog becomes accustomed to it. Gradually increase the number of nails you do each session until your dog can still hold on to all four feet.

Take the foot up.

While picking up your dog’s paw from the front and looking at the nails head-on is tempting,Your dog’s nails can be trimmed in simpler methods. Some dog owners discover it to be the simplest to grip their dog’s paw by sitting beside them and reaching under and around their dog’s arm, as shown in the picture above. After that, you can use clippers to trim with your free hand.

Seeing the bottom of a dog’s foot is easier if you sit in front and turn their paws backward. This is my preferred way. This lets you see what you are doing while keeping the dog’s leg natural.

Then, Isolate the Nail to Cut.

Please start with the first toe and expose it.

You’ll have to trim or push the hairs out of your dog’s way if they have furry feet. It’s essential to do this if you are using a nail grinder! The main disadvantage of nail grinders is that they can grab and pull fur.

Place your forefinger and thumb on top of the toe, on the skin just above the nail. Your thumb should be pushed forward while your forefinger is pushed up and backward on the toe’s pad. This will help you extend the pin from the foot.

Decide where to Cut.

It is important to keep your dog’s nails as short as possible without causing them to bleed. Here are some tips on how to avoid the quick.

  • If you want white nails, avoid cutting off the pink portion.
  • The part of the nail that you can safely remove is usually much thinner than the rest.
  • Cut off small amounts of black nails at a given time. As you get closer to the pins, they appear white and chalky. When you see a small black dot at the center of the white, that is the end of your quick.

What happens if I cut the quick?

It will hurt and bleed if you cut the quick of your dog. Even professional groomers must cut the short occasionally because not all dogs will hold still during nail trimmings.

Always have cornstarch or flour on hand. The styptic powder contains Benzocaine, which helps to relieve pain. Cornstarch and flour will stop bleeding but not ease the pain.

Cut small pieces of the nail instead of a large chunk to avoid cutting quickly. Stay calm if you accidentally cut the quick. You can use styptic, cornstarch, or flour to cover the short.

Removing blood from your dog’s fur is easy and safe after they have a quicked fingernail with a cotton ball and hydrogen peroxide.

Cut on a 45deg angle

Your dog’s cut edge should be parallel to the floor. Cut at a 45-degree angle instead of straight across.

Remember the Dewclaws.

Dewclaws are usually found on the inside of the front legs of most dogs. The claws extend up the leg just a bit further than your dog’s other toes and are loosely attached.

Check all four legs of some dog breeds like Saint Bernards or Great Pyrenees.

Nail grinding

You can either choose only to grind the nails of your dog or use it to finish them after trimming with another tool.

For better control, hold the grinder at the top. Keep as much hair as possible out of the way, including your hair and that of your dog.

In most cases, medium to light pressure is sufficient. You can see your progress by using short strokes. Look for a dot in the middle of each nail.

You can use firm pressure if you know that the quick is a long way back. Remember to check how close you are getting to the fast.

Reward Your Dog

After trimming your dog’s nails, reward him with a big treat, playtime, or other large reward. You want your dog to associate nail trimming with a positive experience.

Knowing how to clip dog nails now will allow you to maintain your dog’s nails trimmed on a regular basis. Dog nail trimming is critical to keeping your puppy healthy, happy, and pain-free, so put these tips into use today.


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