How to Trim a Dog's Nails

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Things You'll Need

  • Nail Clippers For Dogs

  • Cornstarches

  • Dog Treats

  • Dog Toys

  • Styptic Powders


Never attempt to trim your dog's nails with clippers designed for use on humans.


If you have not cut your dog's nails since she was a puppy or you're uncomfortable with the task, ask your veterinarian or groomer to demonstrate proper nail trimming or to do it for you. Give your dog a treat after trimming her nails.

Trim a Dog's Nails

How to Trim a Dog's Nails. Your dog's nails should just touch the ground when she walks. If her nails are clicking on the floor or getting snagged in the carpet, it's time for a pedicure. If you've never done it before this article will provide you with sufficient instructions.


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Step 1

Use trimmers designed for pets. Ask your veterinarian or a groomer for advice about what types of nail trimmers are best for your dog and how to use them properly.

Step 2

Make sure the clippers are sharp.


Step 3

Start at the tip of the nail and snip a little at a time. Look at the cut edge of the nail. When you start to see pale pink tissue near the top of the cut edge, stop. You can use a nail file to smooth the edges further.

Step 4

Avoid cutting into the quick, which contains nerves and blood vessels. It is painful and will bleed easily. On white nails, the quick is the pink section.


Step 5

Be extra careful when cutting dark nails, because the quick is difficult to see.

Step 6

If the tip of the nail begins to bleed, apply pressure using styptic powder or a substitute such as baby powder or cotton.


Step 7

Avoid wiping the blood clot off the tip of the nail once the bleeding has stopped.

Step 8

Remember to trim the dewclaw nail, on the inside of the leg. Since it doesn't touch the ground, it wears down less rapidly than the others.


Step 9

Trim nails once or twice a month. The quick will lengthen if you don't trim the nail regularly, and long nails can cause traction problems or become ingrown.


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