How to Safely Trim Your Dog's Nails

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Nail trimming is an essential part of grooming your dog, and trim nails are one clear sign of your dog’s good health and hygiene. Professional groomers and veterinarians will perform the task for squeamish owners, but dog nail trimming can be a simple procedure when done correctly.

Since nail trimming can be an anxiety-laden experience for many dogs, start off  handling your dogs feet and trimming their nails when they’re young. This way they will become accustomed to the process.

Some dogs will sit in your lap or on a table while you clip their nails, while others may need some form of calming or restraint.

Distraction Lick Mat for Pet Bath time or grooming | Pawsome Pets Supply

Pawsome Tip: You can make the process a little more fun for your dog by letting them lick peanut butter off a spoon or a lick mat while you handle their paws and nails.

Get Your Dog Comfortable ....
In as little as one week, you can have one of those rare dogs who doesn’t mind nail trimming one bit. But, if it takes your dog a little longer to get used to nail trimming, don’t despair.

Be patient, keep a gentle and positive attitude, and continue to offer praise and treats. Make sure to use safe, dog-friendly clippers or grinders

Pawsome Tip: It does help if you frequently touch and hold your puppy or dog's paws (kindly and happily) right from the first day, so they won’t become sensitive to having their paws handled.

A good schedule for getting your dog used to the process;

  • Day 1: Let your puppy or dog sniff the nail clipper or grinder.
    Give a treat and praise.

  • Day 2: Touch the nail clipper or grinder lightly to each paw.
    Give a treat and praise.

  • Day 3: Touch the nail clipper to each paw and squeeze the clipper so the puppy hears the sound, or turn the grinder on and let the puppy feel the vibration. Don’t actually trim a nail.
    Give a treat and praise.

  • Day 4: Touch the nail clipper or grinder to your puppy’s feet again.
    Give a treat and praise.

  • Day 5: Try trimming off just the very tiniest tip from one front paw nail. Only do one nail. Offer lots of happy praise and a treat if your puppy / dog  lets you. Even if he lets you, just do one.
    Repeat every day until he lets you do this and doesn’t seem to mind.

  • Day 6: Try trimming just the tip off of just two nails.

  • Day 7: Keep working your way up, trimming additional nails each day, until you’ve got them all and your puppy / dog doesn’t mind.
    Practice even when you don’t need to clip a nail.
    Even pretending you are clipping and going through the motions help your pup get used to the whole process.

Trimming Your Dog’s Nails
There are several types of dog nail trimmers, including scissors, grinder tools specifically designed for dogs, and guillotine types. You can use whatever type you are most comfortable with, or whatever works best for your dog. It’s a good idea to have some styptic powder or other clotting powder on hand to stop bleeding in case you cut a nail too short.

“If you’ve never clipped a dog’s nails before, you may want to have your veterinarian or vet tech give you a lesson on how to do it,” suggests Dr. Jerry Klein, AKC’s chief veterinary officer.

Anatomy of a Dogs Nail Safe Nail Clipping | Pawsome Pets Supply

Here are the steps to follow to properly trim your dog’s nails:

  • Pick up a paw and firmly, but gently, place your thumb on the pad of a toe and your forefinger on the top of the toe on the skin above the nail. Make sure none of your dog’s fur is in the way.

  • Push your thumb slightly up and backward on the pad, while pushing your forefinger forward. This extends the nail.

  • Using a proper set of Dog Grooming Nail Clippers, Clip only the tip of the nail, straight across. Include the dewclaws, located on the inner side of the paw.

  • Avoid clipping past the curve of the nail or you risk hitting what is called the quick (the pink area of the nail that contains the blood vessels). A nick there is painful and will bleed. For dogs with dark nails, watch for a chalky white ring.
Pet Nail Grinder | Pawsome Pets Supply

How to Grind Your Dog’s Nails

  • Grind your dog’s nails using a safe tool specifically designed for this task. Only grind a small part of your dog’s nail at a time. Support the dog’s toe firmly but gently.

  • Grind across the bottom of the nail and then carefully in from the tip of the nail, smoothing rough edges. For better control, hold the grinder higher up, towards the top. Keep your dog comfortable and take note of any sensitivities.

  • If your dog has long hair, make sure to keep it back from the grinding tool so it doesn’t get caught up.
Practice Good Grooming Habits for your Pet | Pawsome Pets Supply

Failing to Cut Your Dogs Nails

Regular nail maintenance is more than cosmetic. Unhealthy nails can cause pain, and in rare instances, trigger irreversible damage to your dog.

A dog’s nail consist of the living pink quick and the hard outer material called the shell. The quick supplies blood to the nail and runs through it's core. Nerves in the quick cause bleeding and discomfort when cut. Regular nail trimming will cause the quick to recede from the end. Short quicks are the preferred length for the dog’s well-being and easy nail maintenance.

Long nails can turn a healthy paw into a splayed foot and reduce traction. They can also cause deformed feet and injure the tendons if left over an extended period. As the long nail hits the ground, the pressure puts force on the foot and leg structure. Some more active dogs may wear their nails down and won’t need to have them clipped as often.

Practice good Grooming on your puppy / dog and keep them healthy and happy!

Original Content By . (Nov 12, 2020). How to Trim Your Dog’s Nails Safely [Blog Post]. Retrieved from


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