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How to clip a dog’s nails

Here we’re going to help you to cut your own dog’s nails. Vets are currently only taking emergency appointments, and dog groomers are closed. Therefore, you may need to do it yourself from home. We are here to help make it as painless as possible. It will also help you feel more confident in tackling your dog’s claws in future. We’ll cover:

  1. The basics on how to do it.
  2. Some tips to give you some confidence.
  3. The Quick and how to avoid hurting your dog, particularly with black nails.
  4. What to do if your dog hates having their nails trimmed.

We hope you find it useful!

So here’s the basics…

If your dog’s nails are touching the ground when they stand, they need trimming.

  1. Hold the paw steady, but hold it gently.
  2. Angle the clippers down to remove the tips of the nail, not upwards as this will leave the bottom of the nail long and sharp.
  3. Take a small piece off each nail in one decisive movement.
  4. Finish with a treat!

Here’s some tips:

  1. Don’t forget the dew claws.
  2. The nails on the front paws are much more likely to need doing than the back two paws.
  3. The nails should be trimmed back as short as possible without causing pain but if you’re unsure, trimming a small amount until you can get to a groomers will suffice.

More about the “Quick”.

The Quick is the part that provides blood supply to the nail. If you cut the claw too short, it will bleed. On white toenails, you can see it (the pink bit). You can’t see it on black nails, but you can still avoid cutting into it.

Black Nails

Take a small amount off the nail. Now look at the end of the nail. You will be a darker black circle in the middle – this is a blood vessel, but not the part that bleeds. You can continue to cut small pieces of nail off until the darker circle covers most of the nail bed. Once a small white dot appears at the centre you must stop cutting. You can use this as a guide to cut the rest of the nails (remember the front nails will be different to the back claws).

If you do catch the quick, don’t worry. Although it is painful for a dog and tends to bleed a lot, it isn’t life threatening so stay calm. To stop the bleeding you’ll need to apply pressure. Then place some flour or corn starch on the nail where it is bleeding. If you don’t have any, the bleeding should stop on its own in 5 to 7 minutes. If it doesn’t stop, you may have to consult your vet.

What to do if your dog hates having their nails trimmed.

If your dog has a negative association with having his/her nails trimmed then we would recommend seeking a Dog Trainer/Behaviourist to get professional advice. At this time sessions can be held over Zoom with Laura Green. You can call her on 07702601900.

What you don’t want to do in this scenario:

  1. Take your dog over the threshold of what they can cope with as this will lead to increased fear and anxiety.
  2. Incorrect use of treats can lead to anxiety around something they love – if you’re going to use treats make sure you always present the bad before the good.
  3. Ensure that using treats you throw them away so the dog can choose to return to the clippers. If you hold the treats this can lead to conflict, overshadowing of what’s happening, and food anxiety.

Please check out the video below! There are also some links here, to buy nail clippers from us!

Small Nail Claw Clippers (Mikki)

Large Claw Nail Clippers.