How to Cut a Dog’s Nails

One of the most important parts of dog care is paying attention to their regular hygiene and grooming.

From baths and diet to how to cut a dog’s nails, there are several lessons a dog owner needs to learn to make sure their pet is healthy, happy, and ready to enjoy the day.

cutting dog nails

If you are new to dog care, then don’t worry.


The fundamentals are actually quite simple when it comes down to it. However, a few crucial practices tend to slip the minds of owners; you bath them, you feed them, you let them get exercise.

But what about cutting dog’s nails? How do you do it, how can you stop it going wrong, and how often should it happen?

Let’s get into it.

Cutting Dog Nails: Why?

Dog care experts state that long nails can result in severe pain for your pup – not only when they break, but when little chips invite infection in.

Additionally, when a dog’s nails are too long, it affects the way a dog walks and can even result in joint and bone issues later on.

Thus, no matter how challenging the task seems, do not avoid cutting your dog’s nails.

Nail growth patterns vary for different breeds and depending on if they have outdoor activities or walk on hard surfaces for long time. With these factors in mind, you need to give your dog the kind of trimming that suits them.

Dog Won’t Let Me Cut Nails: What to Do

Many dog owners complain that their dog won’t let them cut their nails or they simply flee at the sight of the nail trimmers.

how to cut a dogs nails

If that’s you and your dog, you’re not alone.

To face facts, most dogs hate getting their nails cut and disappear at the sight of a clipper. However, for the sake of their health, don’t lose heart – they’ll get over it.

If you are not confident about handling it yourself, you can have the vet do it, but that’s costly and unnecessary.

Instead, all it takes is a little know-how and some well-informed decision-making. Grab your pup, buckle up, and get ready to become an expert.

Here are few tips that’ll make it easier.


Tips for Cutting Dog Nails

If you have recently brought a puppy home, carry out the nail trimming routine right from the start.

They’ll still be a little nervous, but by getting in early you’ll be able to stop them forming bad habits. This is the perfect time for training them to be still – before they get large and difficult.

This will also make it a normal process for them, one they’ll eventually not mind or even look forward to.

Some dogs will show aggression when you cut their nails.

Right from barking to biting, there are several ways in which they will express their utter contempt for the process.

If they’re fighting you a great deal, pause, give them time to cool down, and then start again. The first few sessions will be difficult, but after the fourth or fifth, they’ll hold still as commanded.

dog won't let me cut nails

Keep treats nearby when you trim the nails.

For every nail cut, give a treat to your dog. This will encourage them to behave, since they’re rewarded for the process, and eventually they’ll look forward to it – especially if the trimmer starts to smell like treats after you handle it!

Add that to the belly rubs you offer afterwards, and their hesitation and reluctance will be greatly reduced.

Analyze the quality and type of nails your dog has and then get tools accordingly.

For soft nails, you can use scissor-like clippers, while for harder nails, you will need guillotine style clippers.

Remember: avoid cutting too close to their paw, since it’s easier to trim more later than to deal cutting their “quick.”

The quick is the dark core of your dog’s nail which has nerves and blood pumping through it. It will bleed a lot and will hurt your dog if you do nip it, so take care to trim slowly.

Along with clippers, also keep an antiseptic powder and clotting powder along in case you snip their quick.

If your dog has a negative experience with the clippers during a nail cutting expedition, it is better to replace the clipper with a new one.

It will have a new smell and look, which will distance them from that bad memory, so you can reinforce that this is a good thing.

If you do accidentally cut dog’s nail too short, don’t panic.

Stay calm, don’t make any sudden exclamations, and be sure to rub them affectionately. If you panic, the dog will panic in response.

Apply a clotting powder immediately to limit loss of blood and they should be fine within a few minutes.

Here’s a good video on how to reduce any bleeding if you do accidentally cut the quick:


If your pet is too anxious and unwilling, talk to your vet or a pet groomer.

Let them carry out the cutting once or twice, since they are professionals and know different ways for soothing troubled animals, which they can then explain and show to you.

More than anything, try to make the nail cutting a positive experience for your pet! This will ensure they don’t hide at the sight of a clipper.


So now you know everything about how to cut a dog’s nails!

Have you tried it yet?

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