Dog Nail Trimming Done Easy: Clip Your Dog’s Nails like a Pro

dog nail trimming

Is your dog in need of a paw-dicure? Trimming your dog’s nails is an essential part of dog hygiene and grooming. Luckily, with a little practice, the right equipment, and a little know-how, you can cut your dog’s nails as easily as a pro. What do you need to know to trim your dog’s nails?

Why Do Dogs Need Their Nails Trimmed?

Even if your dog’s nails stay short from regular walks, be sure you check the length of their dewclaws. When these grow too long, they can get caught on your dog’s collar or other things, causing pain and discomfort.

Keeping your dog’s nails clipped prevents unwanted accidental scratches. Additionally, when your dog’s nails get too long, they can cause your dog severe pain and impede your dog’s ability to walk.

Most importantly, proper dog nail trimming allows you the oppawtunity to inspect your dog’s nails and paws and prevent claw disorders.

How to Do-It-Yourself Dog Nail Trimming Like a Pro

train your dogs to get heir nails trimmed

    1. First, you will want to get familiar with your dog’s paws and nails and let your dog become familiar with the clippers.

      Take a Moment to Identify the Quick

      When it comes to clipping those claws, avoiding cutting the quick is the priority. If you snip your dog’s nail too deeply, it will bleed--a lot. It will also cause your dog pain.

      If your dog has clear nails, you will notice a pink area where the nail meets the toe. Steer clear of this--this is the quick. For dogs with black nails, only trim about 1mm at a time, stopping after just a few millimeters.

      Familiarizing Your Dog with Clippers and Paw Handling

      Dogs that aren’t used to having their nails clipped can be jumpy or nervous, so warming them up to the process is a good idea.

      Let your dog see and smell the clippers. Give your dog treats when they approach the clippers and investigate. Keep them within your dog’s sight--this will counteract the idea that they’re only present for your dog’s nail trimming.

      You also want to touch your dog’s paws more often. Teaching your dog to “shake hands” can help!

    2. The next step to a proper pawdicure, set up all the tools you need nearby where you plan to clip your dog’s nails. You will need:

      • Safety Nail Clippers
      • A towel
      • Treats
      • Styptic powder or a homemade remedy of cornstarch and baking soda.
      You may want to ask a friend for help the first few times you trim your dog’s nails.


    3. If your dog is small enough, wrap your dog in a blanket or towel with the opening at the paws. Have a friend hold your dog securely on the floor or a low surface like the sofa.


    4. Gently hold one paw at a time. Be reassuring and give your dog treats from time to time during the process. Snip one nail at a time, in the same order for each paw. This can prevent double-clipping the same nail.

      If your dog gets too nervous or antsy, take note of which nail you left off on and take a break.


    5. After you’ve clipped on your dog’s claws, give your dog a high-value reward and lots of love!

“What If I Cut My Dog’s Quick?”

Cutting your dog’s quick can be quite upsetting, but it is not the end of the world. Use your styptic powder and dip your dog’s toe in. Then apply pressure. The bleeding should stop soon.

Give Yourself a Round of A-Paws!

dog paw with clipped nails

Dog nail trimming keeps your dog’s paws healthy and your dog happy. Want to learn more about how you can keep your dog groomed for the best life pawsible? Our Dog Grooming Guide has everything you need to know!