How To Trim Your Dog’s Nails – Dog Grooming Guide

How To Trim Your Dog's Nails - Dog Grooming Guide

The moment you pull out a nail clipper, your dog will panic unless it is well-trained regarding its nails being trimmed because in general, dogs dislike having their nails cut. But you and your dog don’t have to have a bad experience during the entire process. It’s not exactly comparable to cutting your own nails to trim your dog’s nails.

Because, believe it or not, a dog’s nail is substantially different from a human’s in terms of composition. So, how are we to know how to trim a dog’s nails?

We have spoken with multiple vets during multiple sessions of our dog’s nails being trimmed and groomed so that you don’t have to, and we gathered all the details we could in one convenient Guide. We have done all the work for you so that the next time you need to trim your dog’s nails, you don’t have to worry about finding the right type of clipper for your doggo or how to use it properly.

Below are some Quick Links for your to jump to any section of the guide you want to skip to:

Types of Dog Nail clippers

how to trim dog nails

There are many different kinds of dog nail cutters available. However, not every clipper will be ideal for your specific dog. The standard nail clippers often fit a wide range of sizes, but you will need to select a clipper that fits your dog if your dog is exceptionally small or enormous.

Now, unless you want your dog’s nails to break and their paw to bleed, we don’t advise using scissors or any type of human nail cutters on your dog. All of the brands generally fall into one of three categories for clippers, so we’ve listed them all and the sizes of dogs they’re most suited for below.

1. Scissor Clippers.

scissor clippers for dogs

With good reason, these clippers are the most popular in the world. They are typically the most simple to use, as you will soon discover. Most of them also have a safety lock to prevent you from going too far and hurting your dog. Some of them also have movable blades so they can accommodate different dog breed sizes.

They work best on thicker or denser nails since they cut with the force of your hand. Any dog with brittle nails runs the risk of having them pinched, which is bad for their health. Therefore, if you’re looking for a dog nail clipper for your medium or large dog, Scissor-type nail clipper models are perfect.

2. Guillotine Clippers.

guillotine clippers

These clippers are perfect for any dog who gets anxious when it’s time for their haircut despite the name’s ominous connotations. These operate by inserting your dog’s nail through a hole, after which a blade passes by to cleanly clip the additional nail. The major disadvantage of this approach is that there is typically no safety feature, so you never know when you’ve gone too far.

However, these are superior to scissor clippers in certain ways, particularly if your furry friend has brittle nails as they are less likely to be pinched by these clippers.

3. Grinder Trimmers.

Oster grinder trimmer for Dogs

The nail grinders are a relatively recent addition to the market, but they are already very well-liked. Because of this equipment, you never have to be concerned about cutting your dog’s nails too deep. Your dog will also have a much more rounded tip than a claw because the trimming is done with sandpaper grinders rather than a blade.

However, it takes a lot longer to get the nail to the right length, and many dogs will become frightened by the noise. This is a fantastic alternative if your dog is comfortable with the loudness and the grinding. Since they are typically more expensive than standard scissor clippers, we only recommend them to families with multiple dogs.

Time for a trim

dog paw human

The most crucial question is whether trimming is even required. The short answer is yes, very much so. It can hurt the dog and make it difficult for them to apply the proper amount of pressure to their paws if the nails grow out too long. Therefore, you need to be conscious of when to trim. After all, we don’t want to over-nail-cut and cause bleeding on the paws, but we also do not want sharp nails that pierce the paws of our dogs.

Veterinarians typically advise nail clipping when a dog’s nail starts to curl inward and when the nail is no longer in contact with the ground. And there is precisely the spot where you should make your own incision. You must use caution to avoid cutting into the quick (it’s the blood vessel/vein inside your Dog’s nails) if you go too far. You can easily determine where to make the cut because some dogs have nails that make the quick clearly visible. If not, then cutting small pieces at a time and using trial and error are the best options.

Getting your dog comfortable with the Process

How to Trim Your Dogs Nails Safely

It can be quite challenging to keep an energetic dog still when clipping and trimming its nail, which can make the procedure seem like a punishment and full of frustration for you. The most crucial thing to remember when trimming your dog’s nails for the first time is positive reinforcement.

Whether it’s rewarding them with treats after each nail trim or caressing them in the manner they like. Although it might seem unnecessarily complicated now, rest assured that it will be simpler the next time around. Additionally, it is preferable to get them used to nail trimming rather than forcing them to do it because it is not a once-in-a-lifetime thing.

If your dog, however, won’t cooperate, you can alternatively ask a friend to gently restrain the dog while you begin working on its nail. However, we only suggest this as a last resort since we want to teach the dog to appreciate having its nails clipped.

What to do if Dog’s Nails start Bleeding?

nail trimming guide

There is a chance that you could go too far and end up cutting the quick, though regrettable, it does happen occasionally. Therefore, it is always advised to be prepared just in case. The only other item you will require is styptic powder. If one of their nails breaks, simply dip it into the powder, which will help clot the blood and sterilize it to prevent bacteria from getting into the bloodstream.


All in all, trimming your dog’s nails doesn’t have to be a bad time. And neither do you need to take them to the vet every time their nails grow out. You can always ask your vet to demonstrate how they cut your dog’s nails just to get an idea. After that, it is all about practice.

Send this to a friend