How to Cut Dog Nails Without Going to the Vet

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How to Cut Dog Nails

When you hear clicking sounds from your dog when he’s walking on hard floors, it’s time to cut those long nails. This needs to be done about once each week. You can clip or cut the nails yourself to save the price a veterinarian charges of about $10 dollars each time, or $40 a month.

Ask your vet or groomer to show you how it’s done at what length. Since most dogs don’t like their feet touched, they can become anxious when this chore is done. When you start doing this at an early age and give him a treat and hug when it’s over with telling your dog ‘good boy’ or ‘good girl,’ you’ll have more success.

Toenail Structure

Your dog’s toenail is the nail and the quick is pink if you can see it. The quick supplies the blood to the nail. It will bleed and be sensitive to your dog if the nail is cut to the quick. Think to the times you have cut your toenail too short or a fingernail broke to the quick; it is painful for several days.

How to Trim Your Dog’s Toenails

You don’t need to trim all four paws at the same time. When your dog puts up a fit not wanting to have his feet touched, do one foot at a time and do the others later.

  • Gently pick up your dog’s foot and hold it gently sitting on the floor.

Dog foot

  • Snip or cut off a small amount of each nail using the scissor type orange handle Epica #1 professional clipper made of stainless-steel shown here and on Another style is the Resco® guillotine clipper made in the USA since 1937. All clippers can be used on cats as well. The silver colored guillotine in the picture below comes in tiny, small, and medium sizes to fit your specific dog nail size.

Dog clipper

  • Do not cut into the nail if it feels soft since this is the quick.
  • If you do accidently cut into your dog’s quick, he will not be happy and you’ll have blood all over. You must stop the bleeding. Most people don’t have a nail cauterizer at home, but if you do, use it. If not, use styptic powder that you might want to buy to have on hand costing under $6. Apply it with a clean cotton swab with a clean cotton cloth handy to clean up the residue and remaining blood.
  • You can also use a bar of soap running it under the cut nail. The soap will plug up the blood vessel to stop the bleeding. Give him lots of treats so he’ll forgive you at the next nail trimming time.
  • Pet nail grinderA pet nail grinder is another method for trimming dog nails. The Dremel® is a rotary tool providing a safe and less stressful way other than clipping.

It runs using a NiCd battery with 2 rotation speeds to grind in stages. It is humane and harmless. Hold your dog’s foot securely and gently then simply turn on the grinder and remove a small amount of nail at a time.

Your dog might accept this method better than a clipper.

Quickening is the name for cutting into your dog’s quick and your dog will remember the cut forever and it hurts! That’s why dogs hate having you touch their feet the next time you want to trim their nails.

Most dew claws (thumbs) are removed by the vet since they grow long not touching the ground and eventually grown into your dog’s foot if not removed. I always had the vet remove them on all of my dogs because they serve no purpose.

Dog nails

Your dog’s nails should never hit the floor. If he walks on concrete, that will trim the dog’s nails automatically.

Conditioning your dog for toenail trimming video.

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