There’s nothing more exciting than hearing the rapid clacking of your dog’s paws and nails on the floor as they rush to greet us. But what we don’t often think about is that this sound could be an indication that our dog’s nails are too long. Much like we need to take care of our nails to avoid discomfort and issues navigating day-to-day life, trimming your dog’s nails is just as important. In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at how to cut dog nails and why it’s important to pay closer attention to their nail health.

How to Cut Dog Nails: Puppy Sleeping Peacefully in Owner's Arms

Why Do We Need to Cut Dog’s Nails?

Many owners may ask themselves not just how to cut dog nails but why do we need to cut a dog’s nails? If these animals would be wild in nature, wouldn’t their nails take care of themselves? Interestingly enough, this is actually the case. If your dog were wild, they would likely be in contact with a wide variety of surfaces and engage in activities that wore down their nails. In fact, if you’re an owner who has a lot of concrete in your backyard and an active dog, you may have noticed that you spend less time trimming your dog’s nails than other dog owners do.

So, why do modern owners have to trim dog nails so often? The issue is that most dogs live in an environment where there are far fewer rougher services and situations where they’ll be using their claws. Because there’s nothing to wear them down, the nails grow out much longer and can impact their health and well-being.

When a dog’s nails grow out beyond the length they should be, it can lead to discomfort and pain as the nail is pushing itself back into the nail bed and the paws of your pup. However, this is just a tame version of what could happen. If your dog’s nails are neglected for too long, they can end up curving towards your dog’s paws, potentially growing into the pads of their feet. If they don’t curve or push into their paws, they can crack open, which can be quite painful (think of what it would feel like if your nail were to split down the middle).

Put simply, nail care for your furry friend is essential because poor nail care can lead to pain and discomfort, which is something that we definitely don’t want our dogs to go through.

That being said, many owners may not know what to do about it. What are the next steps if we want to learn how to cut dog nails?

How to Cut Dog Nails: A Simple Guide

It’s important to remember that, like any type of grooming activity, learning how to cut dog nails is an activity that’s not without risk. Dog’s can get injured during the process, which can be very distressing to both us and our pets. If you’re uncertain about doing it yourself or simply don’t feel comfortable, the best way to take care of your dog’s nails is to take them to the groomers. All groomers should have experience trimming dog nails in a way that keeps them from getting injured, and most groomers will charge a small fee to do so, making it more affordable and faster than other grooming services.

Not, let’s imagine that you do want to learn how to cut dog nails on your own. Where would you get started?

  • Find the Right Nail Clipper Products: Finding the right nail clippers will make for a seamless experience. For all dogs, you may want to consider scissor clippers, which you use to snip off the tips of their nails. If you have a small or medium-sized dog that you want to be a bit more careful with, you could use guillotine clippers instead. With guillotine clippers, all you have to do is slip your dog’s nail into the hole until you’ve reached the desired length and clip. If you feel as though you want something less dangerous, you can use a nail grinder to slowly grind your dog’s nails down to the appropriate length.
  • Make Sure Your Dog Feels Comfortable: Dog’s will never enjoy getting their nails done, but if they’re panicking or pulling their paws away constantly and struggling to get away, it’s likely just traumatizing them and making it harder to get it done in the future. Allow your dog to become acquainted with your tools, make sure they feel relaxed and that you’re not struggling to keep them down, and give them a treat afterward. The more comfortable you and your pet are, the smoother the process will be.
  • Cut Slowly and Carefully: What you may not know when you’re discovering how to cut dog nails is that there are two types of nails you’ll come across, pink/white and black nails. White nails are easier to cut as you can see the full nails and the quick: the inside of the nail that’s filled with nerve endings and blood vessels. Always cut at a 45-degree angle and avoid cutting the quick as doing so can cause pain and bleeding (always have styptic powder on hand to stop pain and bleeding if it occurs). If your dog has black nails, cut carefully until you see a hollow area or a black dot in the center of the nail. This is an indication that you’re very close to the quick and should stop trimming. Your dog may also pull away to show that you’re too close and that you need to stop as well.

So, for those who want to learn how to cut dog nails, how short is short enough? Put simply, if you can hear your dog’s nails on the floor, they need to be trimmed. This way, you can avoid causing them any discomfort or injuries that could be easily avoided with a quick snip of the nails!

Learning how to cut dog nails is a process that requires careful care. If you cut too short, you run the risk of hurting your pup, especially if you don’t have any styptic powder on hand, which is essential for any owner who cuts nails on their own. Hopefully, this guide will either provide you with all of the information you need to cut dog nails on your own or encourage you to go to your local groomers to get it done perfectly each time!