How to Cut a Dog's Nails

We all know that one of the basic things we need to do for our furry friends is to cut their nails. But it's not always as easy as it sounds! With a bit of instruction and the right grooming products, you'll be able to clip your dog's nails like a pro. In this article, we'll cover everything you need to know about cutting your dog's nails, from the anatomy of a nail to tricky situations like dogs who won't let you near their paws. 

We'll also answer some common questions about dog nails and maintenance. So, whether your dog's nails are just a little too long or they've started to bleed, read on for all the info you need.


Learn How to Cut a Dog's Nails Safely

Cutting your dog's nails can seem daunting, but with the right tools and a bit of practice, it's not as difficult as you might think. Make sure you have a good quality pair of nail clippers, a styptic cream, powder or gel (or cornstarch), and some petroleum jelly. 

When trimming your dog's nails it is important to clip the nail just below the quick. If you accidentally cut too close to the quick, use the styptic powder or cornstarch to stop the bleeding. Finally, apply a bit of petroleum jelly to the clipped nails to help them stay smooth and reduce splitting.


Is it Safe to Cut Your Own Dog's Nails

It's safe to cut your own dog's nails as long as you take a few precautions. The most important thing is to be aware of your dog's temperament and how they respond to having their nails trimmed. If your dog is anxious or fearful of having their nails trimmed, it's best to seek professional help. Trying to trim a dog's nails if they become agitated can lead to injuries for both you and your pet. 

Another thing to keep in mind when cutting your dog's nails is their anatomy. Dogs have quick, which is the vein and nerve that runs through the nail. Cutting into the quick can cause pain and bleeding. If you're not comfortable cutting your dog's nails, get help from a professional groomer or veterinarian.


When Should a Groomer Cut your Dog's Nails

Regular nail trimming is an important part of your dog's grooming routine, but it's also important to know when to trim them yourself and when to take them to a groomer. 

Dogs who have nails that are too long may experience pain and discomfort, and in extreme cases, the nails may grow into the paw pad. 

Long nails can also split and bleed, so it's important to get them trimmed on a regular basis. If you're not comfortable trimming your dog's nails yourself, you can always take them to a groomer for a professional trim.

Elderly dogs or dog’s that have mobility issues may require more regular trimming and you may find it easier to get some professional help for these dogs.

Some professional assistance is also helpful If your dog won’t sit still and you don’t have someone to help you hold them still or hold the paw for you while you trim.

If you are not sure, ask your groomer or vet to show you what to do - they will be happy to give you some pointers to steer you in the right direction.


What do you Need to Cut a Dog's Nails

Before you start, you will need a few items: 

  • Nail clippers of your choice - always use nail clippers designed for dogs 

  • Nail file - it you want to smooth any sharp edges

  • Styptic cream, powder or gel (optional – used to stop bleeding in the event of a cut)

  • A bowl or cup of water 

  • A towel

  • Petroleum jelly 

The earlier you start - the easier it will be.  Start trimming your dog’s nails when it is a puppy and it will get used to it and be more cooperative in the future!


How to Cut your Dog's Nails 

When cutting your dog's nails you will want to avoid the quick. The quick is the live portion of the nail that contains blood vessels and nerves. Cutting into the quick can be painful for your pet and cause bleeding. 

When a dog’s nails are not black it is easier to see the quick as it is the pink section running down the middle of the nail.  This is similar to our nails - where the white tip is the bit you trim and the pink section is the bit you don’t .  The best way to avoid the quick is to only cut the white tips of the nails.  If the nails are all black then always just trim the very tip of the nail.

What Part of the Nail Do You Trim?

You will want to trim nails in a light colour close to the tip of the nail. If you are unsure where the quick is, stop trimming once you see a white spot near the tip of the nail, as this is an indication that you are close to the quick.


Fixing a Dog's Broken Nail

If your dog's nail has become broken or split , there are a few things you can do to make the situation more comfortable for them until you can get to a vet. 

The first thing you'll want to do is clip off any excess nail that is sticking out. This will help to reduce the pain and bleeding. If there is any dirt or debris in the wound, you can clean it with diluted betadine. Apply a bandage or wrap to the area to help keep it clean and protected.  If the nail is split or broken all the way to the base of the nail it is a good idea to have it checked by your veterinarian.


Why is Your Dog's Nail Bleeding

One of the most common mistakes people make when cutting their dog's nails is cutting too close to the quick. The quick is the vein and nerve that runs down the center of your dog's nail. When you cut into the quick, it can cause pain and bleeding. 

If your dog's nails are bleeding after trimming, put some pressure on the nail to stop the bleeding.  Styptic powder applied to the nail  is also an effective way to stop bleeding.


Why is your Dog Biting its Nails

There can be a few reasons why your dog might start chewing or biting its nails. Often, it's a sign of anxiety or stress. If your dog is biting its nails, it might mean that something is wrong and you should take it to the vet for a check-up. It may have an irritation caused by an allergy or infection - so always get it checked out  if your dog’s paws look red or irritated.

Nail biting can also be a sign of boredom, so if your dog seems to be engaged in this behaviour more when you're not home or not paying attention to them, try providing some stimulation and occupation during this time.

Finally, if your dog's nails are too long, it might start to nip at them out of discomfort. In this case, you'll need to clip them shorter to provide relief. Regularly check your dogs paws to make sure that the nails are not too long.  Pay special attention to the dew claws - the inside toe that most dogs have that doesn’t touch the ground.  The nails on dew claws are the ones that most commonly become overgrown as they are not worn down by walking.  This is very important in long haired dogs where it is not easy to see their toes or nails.


Wrap Up

At Budget Pet Products, we want to make it simple and affordable for you to provide your pet with the best possible care. In this blog post, we discuss how to cut your dog's nails safely and effectively. We also answer some of the most common questions pet owners have about dog nails. We hope you find this information helpful and informative!