7 tips for cutting your dog’s nails

(Last Updated On: February 16, 2021)

Grooming your dog’s nails is probably the least fun activity you can think of doing with them, but hey, someone has to do it. Overgrown dog nails are not only annoying to their owner, but can cause damage to your clothes and furniture as well. So sit tight, and read these tips on how to cut your dog’s nails, to help make the process a bit smoother for you both the next time your pet needs nail grooming. Read more here about getting the correct set of dog nail clippers.

Step 1: What You’ll Need

Unlike humans, dogs require something a bit more sturdy to cut their nails. There are two types of specially constructed clippers to trim your dog’s nails, and they come in two styles, the guillotine shape and a scissor shape. Obviously the scissor shape is more convenient to use and allows for more accuracy and less nips than the guillotine option.

Or try a dog nail grinder

Step 2: Stay Calm

While cutting your dog’s nails can be admittedly intimidating and even nerve wracking for some, it’s important to remain calm and maintain a composed demeanour while going through the process with your dog. This will help to put your pet’s mind at ease, and anything carried out with a calm mind usually goes smoothly anyway.

Step 3: Just in Case

Before you start with using the clippers, please remember that just like humans, dogs feel pain too. So if you cut too close to the quick, your dog will feel the pain and react. So be sure to concentrate and cut only the overgrown nail without coming too close to the painful quick area. But, should the odd accident happen and you end up cutting your dog , then you should use Styptic powder or Styptic pencil, which can both work to stop the bleeding and the pain at the same time.

What is Styptic Powder?

It’s advisable to have Styptic powder on hand whenever you’re trimming your dog’s nails, in the event of cutting too close to the quick and bleeding ensues. Using Styptic powder will stop the bleeding by contracting the blood vessels, and one of it’s ingredients is Benzocaine, which helps to take away the pain as well.

Okay, so now that we have the safety rules out of the place, let’s start trimming!

Step 4: The Process

First off, using your hands, press your dog’s paws gently down without putting too much pressure. This is a crucial step that will alert your dog to the fact that they’re about to get their nails trimmed. Then, gently shave the nail off, a tiny portion at a time, paying attention to details and ensure to avoid the cut surface to avoid cutting too close to the quick.

Step 5: Trick or Treat?

While your dog will probably never enjoy getting their nails done as much as you do, a little bit of encouragement never hurt anyone. Give them a treat after trimming each nail, to motivate them to sit through the rest without causing too much trouble. Using incentives is also a great way to speed the process along by taking your dog’s mind off having their nails trimmed. Plus, it’ll help them to associate trimming with treats so that it makes it easier for you to convince them into it the next time.

Step 6: Black vs White Nails

Black Nails

Trimming a dog with black nails is considered harder because they make it difficult for you to spot the quick, which is the pink spot on which you should stop cutting. The trick to cutting black nails successfully- and without hurting your dog- is to start by cutting a little at a time. In the beginning, you’ll notice that after the first trim, the nail looks gray and flaky. After a few more trims the cut surface of the nail will start to take on a smooth and black appearance to show that you’ve finished trimming the nails. Going any deeper than this could be risky, and potentially end up in a cutting too deep, which won’t be fun for your dog.

White Nails

White nails, on the other hand, are much easier to cut because you can easily see the quick from the side of the nail. You’ll notice the cut surface looks pink, and that’s where you’ll want to stop cutting if you want your furry pet to experience a pain-free grooming.

Step 7: Damage Control- Cutting too Deep

So what happens if the dreaded accident occurs and you’ve cut your pet too deep and the nail is actually bleeding? Once you’ve gotten over the heart-wrenching heartache of unintentionally hurting your pet, your first step should be to not panic.

Your dog will feel your fear and likewise panic. So stay calm, apply pressure on the paw with the cut nail, and cover the entire cut surface with Styptic powder immediately. This will immediately halt the bleeding and ease the pain a bit. But if you don’t have Styptic powder, you can use flour or cornstarch instead, both solid options, just not as fast and effective as Styptic powder.

Should the nail continue bleeding even after this effort, then try covering it with some ice to slow the bleeding down before applying the Styptic powder on again. Alternating this technique usually works within seconds and your pet should be fine after that.


And that’s it! The whole journey of cutting your pet’s nails in 7 easy steps. As you can see, it can be an easy, pain-free and effortless experience, even enjoyable. All you need is a calm demeanour, the right tools, some patience, and definitely treats! Here’s to you and your dog’s next nail trimming adventure; may it be trouble-free, quick and fun for both of you.

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