How to Trim Dog Nails

Holding the dog

There is definitely a wrong way to do this. Make sure that you do not overextend any of the dog’s joints as you raise the leg, and do not pull on the leg.

To avoid this, get your hand under the dog, and raise the leg from the base. Don’t grab the paw! If the dog is large, you may need to use your forearm to do this. With your fingers pushing up the foreleg, you can use your fingertips to push out each toe to give you perfect access.

dog leg

Clipping the Nail

When you cut the dog’s claw, you will need to pay careful attention to the location of the quick, so you can avoid cutting it and hurting the dog. You can see what it looks like in this image.

nail quick

Use your nail clipper to cut the nail at an angle as shown in the image below, to avoid cutting the quick, and trim off as much of the nail as you can safely.

dog nail

It is always safer to cut off less. When in doubt, go slowly and do multiple small cuts on each nail until you get the desired length.

The Dremel

Once you have cut the nails, you will notice that the clipper left some seriously sharp edges on the claws. These will catch on fabrics and cause unintended scratches. The solution is to use a dremel with a finishing wheel (you can get one here) to smooth over the sharp edges.

You will want to be very careful when you do this, as a good finishing wheel can remove a lot of the nail very quickly. The diamond one we offer on our website is efficient enough to replace the nail clipper entirely. This means that it’s very easy to grind down into the quick, which warrants significant caution when you’re working with it.

Dealing with a Bleeding Quick

So what do you do if you cut into the quick and the poor dog is bleeding on your table? Well, there is a class of products called styptic powders. These are antihemorrhagic substances that promote clotting. There are a few different brands you can use, but they are essentially the same.

Simply dab a bit of it on the wounded claw with your finger, and apply a little bit of pressure. That should stop the bleeding.

If the dog is panicked and you cut deeply, the bleeding may be too severed, and the powder will not be sufficient. If this happens you will need to take the dog to a vet immediately to have it cauterized.

If you have any questions, contact us!