How to Trim a Dog’s Nails

  1. Step 1

    Use trimmers designed for pets. Ask your veterinarian or a groomer for advice about what types of nail trimmers are best for your dog and how to use them properly.

  2. Step 2

    Make sure the clippers are sharp.

  3. Step 3

    Start at the tip of the nail and snip a little at a time. Look at the cut edge of the nail. When you start to see pale pink tissue near the top of the cut edge, stop. You can use a nail file to smooth the edges further.

  4. Step 4

    Avoid cutting into the quick, which contains nerves and blood vessels. It is painful and will bleed easily. On white nails, the quick is the pink section.

  5. Step 5

    Be extra careful when cutting dark nails, because the quick is difficult to see.

  6. Step 6

    If the tip of the nail begins to bleed, apply pressure using styptic powder or a substitute such as baby powder or cotton.

  7. Step 7

    Avoid wiping the blood clot off the tip of the nail once the bleeding has stopped.

  8. Step 8

    Remember to trim the dewclaw nail, on the inside of the leg. Since it doesn’t touch the ground, it wears down less rapidly than the others.

  9. Step 9

    Trim nails once or twice a month. The quick will lengthen if you don’t trim the nail regularly, and long nails can cause traction problems or become ingrown.