How to trim your dogs nails

Trimming your dog’s nails can be a traumatic experience for both you and your pet. The best way to calm your fears is to ask a Veterinarian or a professional groomer for tips. The best way to ease the stress on your dog is to train it from a very young age so he gets used to the process. Your dog’s nails should be trimmed on a regular basis; anywhere from once a week to once a month. If he’s an active outdoor dog then this should be done more frequently.

You should start by finding some good quality trimmers that are sharp and designed for the correct size dog. They should be concave at the cutting edge to avoid crushing the nail. This means they should have an outline or surface that curves inward like the interior of a circle or sphere (Google search). If the nails aren’t that long, you can file them or use a pumice stone to smooth out the tips.

The whole process might go a little smoother if you entice your best friend with some yummy treats. And, don’t feel like you need to trim the nails all at once. If you and your dog are struggling, take a break and finish up later.

These are some techniques to follow that might make this process a little easier:

1. Hold the handle of the trimmers flat against the toe pad and cut straight across the nail, so the nail will sit just above the ground. Using this technique will also make it extremely unlikely that you will cut the nails too short.

2. To get a shorter cut, aim to cut at a 45-degree angle, after visualizing the kwik. The kwik is the pink area within the nail where the nerves and blood vessels are, similar to the area underneath our own nails. (

3. If your dog has black nails, look at the underside of the nail and look for the tip of the nail that separates out into a triangular shape with two outer walls. At this point, there is no kwik and it is safe to cut the tip off. Another trick is to gently apply pressure with the trimmers without actually cutting. If your dog reacts to the pressure, you are too close to the kwik.

If you accidentally cut the nails too short here’s a little secret to stop the bleeding, run a clean bar of soap under the damaged nail. The soap will plug the vessel. You should also have on hand some styptic powder. Styptic powder will also stop the bleeding.

You may want to consider clipping your furry friends nails after a bath, they may be a little softer and easier to cut.

Whenever you trim your dogs nails remember to make the whole experience rewarding with treats and always take your time. If you still feel uncomfortable, it’s probably best to take your dog to a veterinarian or dog groomer who can get the job done for you.