How to Trim Your Dog's Nails - Laurelwood Animal Hospital

How to Trim a Dog’s Toenails

Nail trimming in dogs, called a pedicure, can be done simply if you know how.

First, it is a good idea to have a vet tech, veterinarian or dog groomer show you how to trim nails first. Then, once you have an idea of what not to do you will be more successful in getting the job done.

Not all dogs need their nails trimmed, either. Many will naturally wear the nails down or the dried ends of the nails will simply flake away without you even knowing. But some breeds, notoriously Bassets and Dachshunds, may need our help in keeping the toe nails reasonably short.

On occasion, you may cut a nail too short on occasion. If this does occur, have some clotting powder or solution to stop the bleeding. It’s a lifesaver!

Need more tips? Look below for a visual guide …

It’s important that you get yourself a good trimmer. A sturdy trimmer that is easy to learn with and become adjusted to. Once you’re comfortable with the trimmer, place the main part of the tool in the palm of your hand while controlling the moveable with your fingers. You should be able to see the small cutting blade that slides when you squeeze the handle.
The nail should be cut from underneath, not from the top downward. Slide the opening over the end of the nail while staying in the whitish part of the nail. The pink area of the nail is the live part and has blood vessels throughout.
  To cut the nail, be decisive and make a smooth, quick squeeze on the handle while holding the trimmer steady. Make sure you do not clip the live pink part of the nail. And don’t try to “pop” the end of the nail off; it will fall away on its own.
  This nail has been cut about as far back as is possible without causing some bleeding. You can file the edges or just let the dog wear the nail smooth. Some people will cut the nail back until there is a slight amount of bleeding in an attempt to shorten the nail back further. Not a bad idea to keep some clotting powder on hand in case you do accidentally cut too short.
  On the dark nails where you can’t see any pink to know where the live part of the nail starts, you can check the end of the nail. The dead area usually is whitish and as you cut deeper into the end of the nail you will begin to see a dark area. This dark area is where the live part starts.
  What To Do If You Cut Too Short!!Place a tiny piece of tissue paper tightly against the end of the nail and hold it for a few minutes.  Better yet, have some clotting powder available and put a small amount up against the bleeding end of the nail. This works right away. Or … do nothing. The bleeding will stop in about 5 to 7 minutes. Any more than that, give your veterinarian a call.

Image: rq? / via Flickr

Laurelwood Animal Hospital

9315 SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway
Beaverton, Oregon 97005

Phone: (971) 244-4230
Fax: (503) 292-6808

E-mail: [email protected]