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How to Trim Your Dog’s Nails


With everyone staying safe at home, our friends have asked us for any tips or tricks for cutting your dog’s nails. We check out our dogs’ nails regularly because some of them also have their dewclaws (the claw that can grow higher on the leg than the rest of the foot).

dog dewclaw

This YouTube video from Animal Wised is a great visual aid to help with this overall process.

How to Trim Your Dog's Nails at Home 🐶 Step by Step with Tips

They address info on the correct method and best dog nail trimming tools along with a step-by-step guide. Also addressed are the following items to help our doggie owners:

Why it is important to trim your dog’s nails? While dogs wear their nails down when walking on hard ground. That may not be the case due to staying more at home. So they should be checked. If a dogs nails grow excessively, they may not be able to walk comfortably and can affect their posture and health.

How often a dog’s nails should be cut? They should not grow past or exceed the dog’s paw pad.

What does it take to cut a dog’s nails? To cut a dog’s nails at home without hurting them will require having some good trimming tools. A pair of clippers like those seen here is great for small to medium size dogs. For larger dogs, using a guillotine-style clipper can work well. If you are unsure of your ability to handle clippers or cutters, try a pet nail grinder.

safe at home dog nail trimming tools

For us, we have all of these trimming tools. We never quite got our gang to like the grinder tool. We probably should have worked a bit more at getting them used to that one! Maybe if your dog is better about your paw handling and patience, the grinder could work well for you.

How to cut a dog’s nails step by step:

Watch for the living tissue that extends down and inside the nail. It’s impossible to see if your dog has black nails, but lighter nails, you can see the pink in color

Cut straight line or angle the nail is growing.

Get them familiar with the clippers a few days ahead and get them used to having their paws handled.

Having another person helping can make things easier.

Try not to take too long. The more secure and ready you are to get the job done the better. The dog could get nervous if things take too long.

For black nails, you might consider using the grinder since you won’t easily be able to see the pink tissue in the nail.

If you cut too much, stay calm. You can use styptic powder or silver nitrate to stop bleeding if you cut too much – a quick dab of super glue can work to stop the bleeding too. 

Tips to cut your dog’s nails.

Touch their paws and nails on a regular basis, this gets them more used to you handling them this way.

Show them the tools you will use ahead of time, let the sniff and hear the sounds they can make. You should reassure them not to be scared. Using treats is ok to help.

If you are stressed or nervous, consider waiting. Our dogs can feel and sense our emotions and get anxious too. It’s best to trim a dog’s nails when calm.

If you have your dog as a puppy, start this routine as soon as makes sense. Handling their feet can start right way even if there’s no need for nail clipping.

If your dog has a lot of fur around his paws, trimming the hair away before clipping nails can be better.

When to go to veterinarian? If things seem unsure, become too difficult or just uncomfortable for you, going to a vet or professional groomer can help to have their nails cut.

Extra Special Tip: How to keep your dog still for nail trimming?

For fun and amusement, and possibly a genius idea that we haven’t yet tried ourselves, is the peanut butter distraction method seen here:

Clipping Dog's Nails With a Peanut Butter Distraction || Viral Hog