Skip to Content

Dog Nails: How To Make the Right Cut

Dog Nails: How To Make the Right Cut

Lots of owners are nervous when they are faced with trimming their dogs nails for the first time. This is understandable as there can be a lot to think about. Things like, how to keep your dog still, the right way to hold his paw, not to mention the right place on the nail to make the cut.

However, with a little careful planning, and knowledge of the makeup of your dog’s nails, you can make perfect cuts every time.

The Best Place to Trim Your Dogs Nails

The first decision you need to make is where you are going to sit your dog whilst you trim his nails. There are no hard and fast rules about this.

Some owners prefer to sit on the floor with their dog. Others have their dog sitting on a couch, bed, or on a table. I know someone that has a small poodle, and finds that sitting the dog on her lap to trim its nails works really well. It’s really just a matter of where you and your dog are most comfortable.

Keeping Your Dog Still

Whilst trimming your dog’s nails, he must be still so you can make an accurate cut. Some dogs will sit quite happily whilst you work, others need to be restrained.

If your dog is likely to need restraint then have a friend or family member help you. They can then hold the dog still, whilst you focus on cutting his nails.

Use Caution When Cutting Your Dogs Nails

There are two main parts to a dog’s nail, the hard outer shell, and the soft center called the “quick”. The quick is made up of blood cells and nerve endings. Trim your dog’s nail too low, and you will cut into the quick. This will make your dog’s nail bleed and cause him pain.

The ideal place to make the cut is about 2 mm above the quick. Grasp your dogs paw firmly, but without squeezing it. Position your choice of trimmers on the claw just above the thin line of the quick going down the center of the nail. Then squeeze the trimmers, cutting the nail in one swift motion.

The quick is easy to spot when your dog has clear nails. However, with dogs that have dark nails, it can be a lot harder. You don’t want to accidentally cut into the quick and cause your dog pain, so the best approach with dark claws is to cut your dogs nails often, but only remove a little amount each time.

Practice Makes Perfect

As you have discovered, cutting your dogs nails doesn’t have to be difficult. Find somewhere for your dog to sit, but also where you can hold his paw comfortably. Position the trimmers on the nail just above the quick, then cut. With practice, you will soon be making good, accurate cuts that will keep your dogs nails perfectly trim.