Regularly cutting your dog’s nails is essential for maintaining their health. Here’s how to make trimming your dog’s nails a positive experience for you and your best friend.

How to cut your dog’s nails

Why do I need to cut my dog’s nails?

Dogs need to have their nails trimmed because if they get too long they can not only break, they can also curl back into the pad. This is painful and can lead to infection. Excessively long nails can also affect the way your dog walks.

How can I clip my dogs nails without scaring them?

The key to making nail-trimming day as smooth as possible for everyone is to encourage your dog to associate the task with good things. This means allowing lots of time (rushing the job is a recipe for disaster), moving slowly through the process and lavishing your pet with praise and treats while trimming their nails.

Before you even pick up a pair of dog-friendly nail clippers, spend at least a few days helping your dog get used to having their feet touched and handled. If you have a puppy, play with their feet, nails and between their toes to get them used to being handled in this sensitive area. Some canines may dislike this, but you can reduce your dog’s squeamishness by gently picking up each paw and touching the toes and nails for a few seconds, gradually extending the time until they become accustomed to it. This is the first step to trimming your dog’s nails effectively.

How to trim your dog’s nails

How to cut your pet's nails

When your dog is comfortable with this and you’re ready to trim their nails, gently hold the toe between your fingers and work slowly and carefully. It’s really important not to cut the live quick; this is the pink area within the nail where the nerves and blood vessels are, similar to the area underneath our own nails. Cutting into the quick will cause pain and bleeding, so avoid it by at least a few millimetres.

How to cut dog nails that are clear:

If your dog has clear nails, the quick will look pink. By steering well clear of this visible area within your dog’s nails, you can avoid causing any pain to your pet.

How to cut dog nails that are black:

If your dog has dark nails, avoid the quick by cutting small slivers until you see a grey or pink oval starting to appear within the exposed part of the nail – stop when you see this. Make sure to also trim your dog’s dew claws if they have these, as they won’t wear down by themselves.

Can I file my dog’s nails?

There are alternative ways to trim dog nails without clippers. Using a nail file works but may be less effective. It is a little more time-consuming and your dog may not react well to the sensation.

What if I don’t want to cut my dog’s nails at home?

Would you rather leave cutting your dog’s nails to the professionals? Book an appointment at your local Petbarn Grooming salon or take them to your local Greencross Vets clinic where our groomers, vets or nurses can clip your dog’s nails for you.

If you’re interested in more tips, browse our dog grooming articles here.

Petbarn dog grooming

Petbarn dog grooming