small brown puppy having their nails trimmed

How to Trim Dog Nails Safely

Trimming your dog’s nails is crucial to grooming and can help keep your pup prancing around in tip-top shape. However, it can be intimidating, too, especially if you don’t know how to use dog nail clippers with care and finesse. Here’s how to find the right tools and take your time to get the job done just right so you can ensure a successful trimming experience without any ouchies — for you or your best buddy.

1. Choose the right tool.

There are two main types of dog nail clippers: scissors style and guillotine style. The scissors-type is the most common and works for most dogs. It has two blades that come together to cut the nail. The guillotine type has a hole in the center of the clipper where you insert your dog’s nail. When the handles are squeezed, a blade slices the nail. Whichever tool you choose, use sharp clippers to avoid pulling or tearing the nail, which can be painful! If you’re uncomfortable using manual clippers, an electric dog nail trimmer is also available.

2. Plan.

Accidents can happen during the trimming process, so be prepared. If you accidentally cut the quick, pink part of the nail containing blood vessels, have styptic powder ready. If this happens, don’t panic. Apply the styptic powder to the affected area to help stop any bleeding.

3. Prepare your dog.

Choose a quiet and calm environment to help your dog relax and feel more comfortable. Start by easing your pal into things by offering a treat or a toy to play with. Once calm, pick up a paw gently and hold it steady. Start by lightly touching your dog’s nails with the clippers. Reward them with another treat for staying calm. Gradually increase the pressure and time you feel your dog’s nails until they are comfortable with the process.

4. Begin trimming.

Ready to start trimming? First, make sure you have a good grip on the clippers. For the guillotine type, insert your dog’s nail into the hole and squeeze the handles. Position the blades around the nail for the scissors type and then cut. Use slow, even movements, hold the clippers at the right angle, and never try to cut off more than a quarter of an inch at a time. If you try to cut too much, you risk injuring your pet.

More Helpful Hints for Trimming Your Dog’s Nails:

  • If a nail gets too long, it can become painful. To prevent this, use a dog nail filer regularly. This tool has a rough surface that gradually wears down the nail. Start by filing the nail from the end towards the middle in short, even strokes. But don’t file for too long, so you don’t damage your pup’s nail.
  • Not all nails are the same. Different breeds and dogs may need to have their nails trimmed at different lengths. For example, greyhounds and other fast-moving dogs may need shorter nails for better traction and agility. And darker nails can make it harder to see the quick. Talk to your veterinarian or a pro groomer about the best nail length for your dog’s breed and size, and pay close attention to the shape and size of each nail to figure out how much to trim.
  • Remember that trimming a dog’s nails can be stressful for your pet. Talk in a soothing voice throughout the process, and offer plenty of treats, pets, and affection when the ordeal ends.
  • Some dogs hate having their nails trimmed and refuse to cooperate, no matter what. In this case, consider enlisting the help of a professional dog groomer or veterinarian. They have the experience and tools to make the process smooth and stress-free. Additionally, they can handle unexpected situations, such as a wiggly or anxious doggo.

Are your dog’s nails getting too long? Do you dread the thought of trimming them yourself? If so, bring your furry friend to Oklahoma Veterinary Specialists. We offer professional nail trims for dogs of all sizes and breeds. Our experienced staff will take care of your dog’s nails quickly and safely, and we’ll even give them a treat afterward. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Shop our new Pharmacy!

Local care, online convenience!

Book an Appoiment Today

  • Chronic liver disease
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Pancreatitis
  • Pyothorax


Related Content