How to Trim Your Dog's Nails

What You'll Need

Nail trimmer Metal hand file or power rotary tool Styptic powder to stop any bleeding Cotton balls, tissues, or paper towels handy for nail cleanup


A dog's nail has a hard shell on the outside and a soft tip with nerves and blood vessels in the middle. Most of the time, the tip is called the "quick" of the nail. If you cut the quick, the nail will bleed and hurt the dog.

1. Dog Nail Inspection

The quick is easy to see on nails that are light in color. The quick can't be seen in the nails of many dogs because they are black or dark.

The parts of the nail are still the same. Two to three millimeters from the nail quick is the best place to make the cut.

Once you're in a good spot, you can start to cut the nails. Grab the paw of your dog tightly, but don't squeeze it. Hold the trimmers in your stronger hand and grab the paw with the other.

2. Trim Dogs' Nails

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Put your thumb on the bottom of the foot pad and your fingers near the nail bed on the top of the foot. Line up your trimmers by putting the edge of the blade on the nail at the imaginary "cut line."

Press down on the trimmers in one quick, steady move. If the dog is moving, don't cut. Continue until all nails are clipped.

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