Dog Care

How to Clip Dog Nails?


Dog nails are always stressing inducing for owners, for they are tricky and can become an extremely painful experience for both, the dog and the owner!

Usually, owners end up avoiding the procedure altogether, but still, it does not mean that your dog will be pain-free!

Long Nail Problems

Long nails bring pain to your dog! Whenever your dog is going to walk on hard surfaces, he is going to feel pain from the contact, as the nails will be pushing up and into the nail beds. Another consequence is that the pushback puts a lot of pressure on your dog’s joints and will also gradually force their toes to slightly twist to the side! After some time, your dog may even get arthritis from sore joints and toenails!

Now having all these problems, your dog will react badly whenever you touch their paws, especially when you make an attempt at nail clipping!

Another quite serious problem arising from unclipped toenails is that your dog may start losing touch with his natural ability to retrieve information from the nerves on the feet as well as to process gravity accurately! In this way, your dog will start overusing muscles and joints to stay in a curled up position when in fact it is not really necessary! But with long toenails, they will touch the ground so much they will think they are somehow up and climbing on a hill – as they have been programmed evolutionarily to think so when they used to be outside into the wild!

Dogs in the wild are more prone to trimming their nails naturally! But, the dogs we keep inside are less available to do the same, therefore they need to get their nails regularly clipped from their owners. So, strive to make the experience as calm and fun as possible!

When to clip your dog’s nails?

To maintain your dog’s nails properly, you need to clip them every two weeks – same as we do to maintain our own nails. To better understand the best time to indulge in the procedure, pay attention whether your hear your dog’s nails clicking while they walk around in the house floors. If they do click, they are too long and it means the perfect time to clip them!

How to clip long nails?

Cut around, never across as in this way you will hurt their toes! You will also risk your dog getting irritated and avoiding the nail clipping procedure.

Never put the whole nail on the clipper and always clip in a room that has enough light!  Start with the hind feet as these tend to be less sensitive than the front nails.

Your dog may show bad reaction, but try your best to start with a positive outlook and continue gently, always accompanied by lots of praise and treats! The attempt at making this experience quality time you spend with your dog!

  • Keep the blade parallel to the nail and do not cut across the finger!
  • Do not squeeze your dog’s toes as that will also hurt!
  • Use your fingers to separate their toes and hold your dog’s paw gently!
  • If your dog’s hair makes it impossible for you to see, cut them as short as necessary in order to see the whole nail! Do not cut the hair with the clipper!
  • If you accidentally cut more nail than you should, reward your dog immediately!
  • Make it fun, and associate the procedure with treats and praise!
  • The separation between the living tissue and the insensitive nail will become even clearer when your dog’s nails get very long and dry, but you should not wait so long in order to commit to clipping!
  • Avoid clipping at the quick!
  • Clip only the insensitive part of the nail, which is at the top, no further!

*Note: The quick is a vein in the nail, and if you happen to cut it, your dog will start bleeding. Dogs that have nails of light color, the quick area is easily noticeable as it is pinkish! In dogs with darker nails, it is harder to spot it! Even professionals do hit the quick sometimes by accident, so maintain your cool!

Required tools

  • Nail clippers
  • Always use nail clippers that are kind of scissor-y and of smaller size so that you can control better and not cut the whole nail. Otherwise, a lot of bleeding will be involved.
  • Only for giant dogs, should you feel free to use larger clippers!
  • It is important that the clippers be sharp – you can sharpen them on your own from time to time, but keep it on the regular!
  • You can use a rotating emery board at the end of clipping in order to smooth your dog’s nails evenly!

If by accident you cut further than the top part of the nail also known as the quick, you may cause bleeding and pain in your dog. If you do – use styptic powder or cornstarch to stop the bleeding if the cutting is deep!

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