4 Tips to Cut Dog Nails Safely

Active dogs who love running around the sidewalks and walking on pavements manage to keep their nails short, but for the house dog or the inactive dog the owner will most likely need to have their dog's nails clipped. To cut dog nails is simple, but it must be done safely. Nail trimming may be done at a veterinary clinic, a pet care salon or simply at home.

Trimming Your Dog's Nails at Home

If you decide on doing it at home, make sure you are all set for the task.

1. Get the Right Equipment

Have everything you need, especially equipments like dog nail clippers, styptic clippers and paper towels, in the event you clip your dog's nails too short and there is bleeding.

2. Putting Him at Ease

Find a cozy place and position for you and your dog. You may have him lay down on his side or if he's a small one, you may hold him on your lap. To make it easier for you, you may also have someone hold him.

3. The Actual Clipping

  • Gently grasp your dog's paw in one hand and keep it steady.
  • Position the nail clipper under the nail by slipping the opening of the clipper over the tip of the toe nail. Be sure to stay on the white part, the pink part is the quick (where his blood vessels are).
  • Hold the clipper steady and squeeze firmly to make a 45 degree angle cut. The cut has to be made from the underneath of your dog's claw upwards. Do not twist your wrist. If your dog has dark or black nails, it is difficult to see the quick. It would be best to snip bit by bit until you see a black dot surrounded by white in the center of the nail. The black dot is the quick, so you should stop right there.

4. Safety Precautions

Bleeding may occur if the nail is cut too short. Keep the paper towel pressed against the nail for a few minutes then apply styptic powder to stop the bleeding should it occur. Your dog's nails tend to be sharp after they have been clipped. If your dog is still lying comfortably you may use a small file to file down jagged edges or you could take the dog on a walk on the pavement.

Some dogs may find clipping their nails a stressful experience and the grooming may cause them to behave differently. You may need to coax them into the grooming by giving them a treat. If your dog is too big and too difficult for you to handle, it might be best to leave the nail clipping to professionals.

Other Tips

If is best to clip your dog's nails little by little and as often as you can. This will be easier for both you and your dog. He may even see it as a routine and be easier to handle the next time you manicure. The point of clipping is to remove the part of the claw that juts over your dog's pad. When your dog stands, his nails should not be touching the ground. Trim slowly to ensure trimming without bleeding.