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How To Trim Dog Nails


Just like nails of humans, dog’s claws also keep on growing steadily. Many dogs wear down their nails naturally by playing and running on the hard surface. But if nails are not worn down naturally, you will have to trim them by yourself as long nails of a dog can damage the carpet or sofa. Also, it can cause pain to the toes of the dog. How often nails of a dog should be cut depends on the lifestyle and breed of dog. Both, the dog and the owner, are nervous about this activity of trimming nails. But it can be simplified following the proper guidelines.

Before you start, you should know about the basics of trimming nails of dog like knowing the correcting length of nail, which clipper to use. Let’s discuss these one by one:

What is the appropriate length of the nail to be trimmed?

If your dog has light colored or white nails, it will be easy for you to determine the length of nail up to it is to be trimmed. You will be able to see a pink tube inside the nail if the nails are white. This tiny, pink colored tube like is called “quick”. The quick carried blood vessels, and is the point with nerve endings. A cut on the quick will make the dog panic, so avoid it.

What your dog has dark colored or black claws and quick is not visible? In this case, you have to cut the nail in small fraction to avoid any accident. Stop further cutting the nail when quick is about to be visible.

Types of clipper:

So many types of nail trimmers are available in the market. Prefer a clipper that is ideal for the size of your dog’s claw. Make sure it doesn’t crush the nail. The four core types of nail-trimmers include:

  • Guillotine style clipper
  • Scissors-style clipper
  • Small/medium pliers-style clipper
  • Large pliers-style clipper

The clipper should be sharp as blunt one will tear the nail.

How to start:

After you have worked on basics of nail cutting of dog, you have to prepare your dog and make him comfortable for the cutting. You have to get used to handling his feet effectively and gently. Practice picking up his paws and touching his nails and toes. If your dog doesn’t resist, reward him with a treat. After a few days, you will notice that your dog is comfortable when you handle its feet and paws for some time.

Now, you can start trimming his nails carefully. Don’t forget to give him a delicious treat after trimming each nail so that dog can enjoy the session.

Trimming the nails:

Before you start trimming the nails, get your clipper and some treats handy. Take the dog to a quite place. It is also advised to keep clotting powder ready with you if bleeding occurs accidently. Hold the feet gently and select a nail to trim. If you are using a guillotine type trimmer, put the tip of your dog’s nail in the hole and hold the trimmer upright to the nail. Choose an orientation from where you can see the spot where the blade will make a cut. After correct positioning, squeeze the trimmer to cut the nail. Don’t cut the nail in less than 2 mm from the quick. Also trim the dew claws of your dog.

How To Trim Dog Nails

Initially, you can trim one or two nails per sitting if the dog is comfortable. Offer him treats after cutting each nail. With time, he will get comfortable in the process and you can cut all nails in one sitting.

What if I cut the quick accidently?

In this case, you dog will get panic and pull away. If it happens, calm your dog in a soothing voice and offer him some treats. Apply clotting powder to stop the bleeding and stop the trimming session. When you will start trimming his nails next time, he will be nervous so keep a bunch of treats ready.

Avoid these:

  • Don’t punish your dog physically if he resists trimming.
  • If he seems scared about trimming process, don’t force him.

Your nail trimming session will be successful only if your dog is comfortable and relaxed.


Hailing from Delhi, Prateek Tiwari is an avid animal lover who believes in Mahatma Gandhi’s quote “The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” A graduate in Biotechnology, he has vast knowledge about different breeds of pets and pet food that are both nutritious and promote healthy growth. In order to make people aware about pets and pet care, he shares his expertise through his blog posts.

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