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Best Way To Trim Your Dog’s Nails – A stress-free way to cut nails at home


Unless your dog is very active and spends hours outside, you will have to trim his nails regularly. Dogs that spend most of their time outside and have their nails worn down naturally, generally don’t require nail clipping. On the concrete- even better!


On the other hand, some dogs that live in the city and spend only a few minutes outside, need their nails trimmed from once a week to once a month. But this activity is feared by many owners and their pup’s and is postponed as much as possible.

But, having long nails can make walking painful and uncomfortable for your pup (think back or spinal issues if nail trimming is long overdue or a dew claw growing into the paw), and make him fear the clippers even more. Your vet or groomer can explain what is the best way to trim your dog’s nails, and we will share some tips that will make your job easier.

What is the best way to trim your dog’s nails?

For a great nail trimming experience arm yourself with patience, lots of treats, and in no way let your fear show. Your pup will sense your positive energy hence he will be more relaxed and the whole thing will be over sooner than you know it. Getting started at a young age is also helpful.

Choose the right tool

There is a variety of different nail trimming tools, whichever you chose make sure that the blades are sharp. Dull blades are more likely to crush the nail causing great pain and making your dog scared for the rest of his life.

Furthermore, you need to consider the size of your dog in order to find the right grooming tool. Small size clippers are easier to use and control, and only large breeds need large clippers.

The best dog nail clipper is easy to grip and needs to have rubberized handles that will prevent slipping. Depending on your expertise you can opt for a model that has safety guard, or buy one without it.

Use the right technique

In order to make the nail trimming an enjoyable experience, you need to have a lot of treats to reward your pup. Start by gently lifting your dog’s paw and use your fingers to separate his toes.

Keep the clippers parallel to the nail and cut straight across the nail thus making the nail sit just above the ground. If you aren’t sure where the quick is, first gently squeeze the clippers. If your dog starts to squirm you are too close to the quick and need to go lower.

If you are aiming for a shorter cut try to cut at 45-degree angle, after you located the quick. At this point, you should keep your cool and squeeze the clippers fast and decisive for a clean cut.

In some cases, things won’t go as planned and your pup will be overwhelmed after the first nail is clipped. Don’t be discouraged, offer him treats and a break. You can try again later, or do only one nail every day until all four paws are groomed.

Find the quick 

If you want to avoid bloodshed you will have to get yourself familiar with the position of the quick. The quick is the live part of the nail, where blood vessels are located, and is the reason why so many owners and dogs are afraid of nail trimming.

You can easily identify it in dogs with white nails as a pinkish part of the nail. On the other hand, it can be difficult to locate the quick in dogs with black nails.

The safest bet is to lift your dog’s paw and look under the nail until you locate a triangular shape with two outer “walls”. These walls are located close to the tip of the nail and are the point without the quick that is safe to cut.

Be prepared for accidents

 You shouldn’t blame yourself if you cut into the quick, panicking will make your dog more afraid. Stay calm, talk to your dog in a soothing voice and give him treats.

Since quick can bleed extensively it is a good idea to prepare styptic powder prior to nail clipping. You can also use cornstarch mixed with baking powder.

Use a cotton ball or dip your dog’s nail into the powder to stop the bleeding. If you don’t have any of these you can use a cloth, and the bleeding should stop in 5-7 minutes. On the other hand, if the nail continues to bleed call your vet.


When it comes to nail clipping the most important thing is to make your pup comfortable. Teach him to associate nail trimming with treats and positive things.

It is also important that you are calm and positive since your pup will sense your fear and become afraid and anxious. The best way to trim your dog’s nails is to introduce him to this routine gradually over a period of time.

Start slowly and don’t feel discouraged if you cut only one nail at first. Over time both you and your pup will learn to stay relaxed and enjoy this routine.

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The best way to trim your dog’s nails is to be positive, patient, armed with treats and a good clipper and don’t feel discouraged if you don’t get it the first time.

This post was contributed by Charle Hardy of Paw Paw Lover. 

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