How to Cut Your Dog’s Nails

Is the sound of your dog’s nails ticking across the tile floor at night driving you crazy? Want to save money at the groomers? Learn how to cut your dog’s nails yourself with this easy to follow article.


Dogs nails grow at a fairly rapid rate, requiring regular trimming about every 6-8 weeks. If a dog’s nails aren’t trimmed regularly, they can cause foot problems and lameness. To trim your dog’s nails you will need some basic tools.


Pet nail clippers

dewclaw clippers

Kwik Stop styptic powder


It is not that difficult to trim a dog’s nails. It mostly depends on how your dog will tolerate the process. If your dog is fairly placid and used to being handled and groomed you shouldn’t have a difficult time of it. If your dog is a puppy or particularly feisty or ornery, you may have to enlist the help of a family member or friend.


If you have a small dog it is best to place him on a table to do the trimming. Put a non-slip bathtub mat on the table to keep him from slipping around. If you have a large dog, its easiest to cut his nails on the floor. By yourself or with someone holding the dog, grip his front paw in your hand and pull back any hair around the foot and examine the nail. If the nail is white, you will be able to see the vein inside. The idea is to clip just below the vein, called the quick. Place your nail trimmers onto the nail and with a direct, firm motion clip the nail. They should slice right through it easily. If the trimmers tug or produce a frayed, cracked edge, then they no doubt need sharpening. Discontinue use.


If the nail is black you will need to proceed in increments up the nail, as it is very hard to tell where the vein ends. Start by flipping the nail upside down where you can see where the nail is curved and hollow. Trim off the ends of this. Now, move your nail trimmers up every few millimetres and continue to take little shavings off the nail. Look down inside the nail after each trim. You will be able to see the end of the vein when you are getting close. If you happen to accidentally clip the quick and it bleeds, hold some of the Kwik Stop powder to the dog’s nail until bleeding stops. Now that you have located the quick, try to cut about the same amount off of each of the dog’s other nails in turn. Don’t worry if you nick the quick, aside from a little pain, it is actually good for the dog as it will cause the vein to recede a little, reversing any over grown nail problems.


Check your dog for dew claw nails. Dew claws are those little claws located half way up the wrist of the dog, usually on the front paws, but in some breeds they are located on the back. Use your little dew claw clippers to get at these, as they are frequently quite small and tight against the leg. Clip these in a similar manner that you did the regular nails.


Once you have finished cutting the nails, give your dog lots of praise and a treat for being patient. He will remember this and it will get easier to clip his nails the next time.

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User Comments
  1. helmkhat

    On September 25, 2010 at 2:32 am

    I should be trimming my own nails sometimes but I can’t find the right cutter lol

  2. hosariwi

    On October 4, 2010 at 6:28 am

    Great article! Rarely do we get such information, yet it’s quite useful.

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