Everything You Need to Know About Cutting Your Pet’s Nails

Cutting your dog’s nails should be a part of their grooming routine. And even though most pet owners get their dog’s nails cut professionally, it’s still good to know how to trim nails at home. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to cut your dog’s nails the right way. 

When should you cut your dog’s nails?

There are many signs that indicate your pet needs to cut their nails. First off, you will be able to see it by looking at their paws. If your dog’s nails are touching the ground when they sit or walk, that means they are too long. Yes, they should naturally curl out, but never enough to reach the floor in front of them. You can also listen to hear if your pet’s nails are too long because if they’re reaching the floor, then you will hear a slight tapping noise every time they walk. 

Another serious sign that your dog’s nails are too long is if you notice that they aren’t walking at all. This will happen when the nail gets so long that it curls up and punctures the paw underneath, causing significant pain anytime they walk. If not taken care of, this could cause an infection, and the nail may even need to be surgically removed. 

How to trim your dog's nails

It can seem intimidating and nerve-racking to cut your pet’s nails on your own. However, it is an important skill to learn. 

Step 1: Gather all the nail equipment beforehand and have it easily accessible. You don’t want to be struggling with your pet and looking for the nail clippers at the same time. 

Step 2: Get your fur baby comfortable. Your dog will probably be just as, or even more, nervous than you are. So, bring your pup to a spot they feel comfortable in and spend a few minutes petting and rubbing them to calm them down. 

Step 3: Next, you want to inspect your dog’s claws and see how far down the nail you can cut. It’s extremely important to note that dog’s have a blood vessel (the “quick”) and a nerve in their nails. On some nails, you’ll be able to see the quick because it is a dark spot inside the nail. Cutting this part will be painful for your pup and cause them to bleed. So, aim at cutting just the tip so that their nail no longer touches the ground. 

A trick is to hold a flashlight behind the nail. This will make it easier to identify the quick and pinpoint precisely where to cut. It’s also critical to cut parallel to the bottom of the nail. 

Step 4: Finally, it’s time to cut the nail. Make sure your dog is in a comfortable position and hold their paw firmly but gently. Remember to give your fur baby some encouragement throughout the process. 

What if your dog’s nail bleed?

Unfortunately, even if you do everything right, your pet’s nails can still bleed. It takes one shake or shimmy for you to cut just a tad too far. If your pet does bleed, get a cloth, and cover the wound. The blood should stop within the hour. Just keep an eye out for your dog because you don’t want any dirt to get into the wound and cause an infection. If the bleeding persists, then it’s recommended to see your vet. The most important thing to do if you see blood is not to panic. 

Nail cutting is a part of pet grooming. If you’re not comfortable cutting your pet’s nails, make sure you get the groomers to do it during their recurring appointment. However, it is still recommended to have your own pair of pet nail clippers handy, and know how to trim the tips of claws if you can’t wait for an appointment.