dog nail trimming tips

Dog Nail Trimming Tips [A Detail Explanation]

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Last Updated on June 2, 2022 by Pauline G. Carter

Dog nail trimming can be quite the battle. From getting them to sit still, to the great war of hide-and-seek between the grinder and your pup. It’s not a wonder that anytime you hear your dog’s nails click-clacking on the floor, worry pools in your stomach.

Nail trimming struggles aren’t as scarce in dog owners as you think. In fact, 6 in every 10 dog owners have more than a few hiccups when trimming their dog’s nails. Even the canines themselves are stressed out by the end of the trim.

The good news is, dog nail trimming doesn’t have to be such a hassle. You can do better. This article will give you fail-proof tips to help you make dog grooming days easier and stress-free for you and your pet. It will guide you into helping your dog overcome their fear of trim days.

When Should You Trim Your Dog’s Nails?

Depending on the breed, health conditions, nutrition, and a couple of other factors, dog nail trimming is recommended once or twice a month at least.

It is important that you don’t let your pooch’s nails get too long. Long nails can put your dog at risk of injury and potentially damage his health by causing issues like arthritis

It can also get very uncomfortable for your pup if he has to walk or exercise with long nails.

If this timing seems too frequent for him, another way to know when it’s time to trim your dog’s nails is when you begin to hear his feet making clicking sounds on the floor while he walks. Your canine’s nails should not touch the floor when they are standing.

How To Help Your Dog Feel More Comfortable With Nail Trims?

Fear is usually the reason most trims don’t go well for everyone. Your dog probably won’t stay put for dog nail trimming because they’re scared. 

This anxiety could be from any of a number of reasons like past experiences, the sound of the nail grinder, or unfamiliarity. One or more of these are the reasons why your dog isn’t comfortable enough to sit for a trim.

These are some tips to help them ease up:

Understand that your dog is scared

Most dog owners sometimes forget that their dogs aren’t shying away from getting trimmed on purpose.

Dog nail trimming makes them genuinely scared and they need to be approached with empathy, not frustration. Understanding this will help you be more patient with your dog. Be gentle, never force them to get trimmed and let them go when they squirm.

Trim them young

The best time to start trimming a dog’s nails is when they are younger.

Puppies are way easier to trim and they get used to being groomed over time. That way, they don’t fuss when they become adults.

If you have a puppy or young dog, get them familiarized with being handled, and groomed by trimming their nails once in a while.

Use a good dog nail trimmer

A blunt clipper or a bad nail grinder will do your pet more harm than good, making the process harder.

Use sharp dog nail clippers when cutting dogs’ nails. This will help you cut cleanly without having to apply painful pressure on your puppy’s nails.

If you don’t fancy dog nail clippers, use a good dog nail trimmer that is sturdy and is as noiseless as possible to prevent upsetting your dog.

Be careful when cutting

When cutting dogs’ nails, make sure to stay away from the quick of the nail. You don’t want to risk cutting into it and injuring your dog. That will quickly turn the effort you’ve made so far sour and traumatize your puppy. 

With grinders, make sure not to touch your dog’s nail for too long to avoid burning him. Hold his paws gently but firmly because a quick jerk from your pup can cause the nail trimmer to get an injury or bruise. 

Reward your dog

Rewards and treats for canines will work wonders during trimming sessions. Practice saying kind words and giving your dog a loving pat. It reassures calm. Giving them treats between trims helps them associate trims with treats, and will help them stay quiet and involved.

Try professional dog groomers

Doing trims yourself at home may be a good way to start caring for your pup’s nails, but for very fussy dogs or pets with an anxiety disorder, using professional groomers like PetSmart is never a bad idea. Make sure to be present with each trip to the groomers and offer needed support to your dog.

How To Trim Dog Nails?

Regardless of the trimmer you pick, here’s a quick rundown of how to use it for dog nail trimming;

  • Select a proper dog nail trimmer. Take your time to pick a good one that fits all your pet’s needs. Look through reviews, do your research and then make your decision.
  • Get into a comfortable position that allows you to oversee the entire process and reach all your dog’s nails easily. 
  • Hold his paw with a gentle but firm grip, and pull back any excess hair from your dog’s toes if there are any.
  • If you are using a grinder, switch it on and leave it for a few minutes to help your puppy get used to the noise.
  • Take the grinder and touch the entire width of his nail for about three or four seconds and pull back.
  • Touch the grinder to the nail repeatedly, until you’ve reached the desired length.
  • If you are using dog nail clippers, locate the quick, place the clipper at a 45-degree angle away from the quick, and cut.
  • File the nail free of rough edges with a good dog nail file.
  • Reward your pup through the process to keep him happy and motivated.
  • In case you cut into the dog nail quickly, as a means of first aid, use a coagulant like styptic powder or cornstarch to stop any bleeding. Remember to wrap up the injury with a bandage. Take your pet to the vet if needed.

How To Trim Black Dogs’ Nails?

Dogs are different in every way, including their nail color. Some dogs have clear nails that make it easy to spot and avoid the dog nail quickly, while others have dark claws. 

Spotting the quick in black nailed dogs can be challenging, but regardless, here’s how to trim your dog with black nails effectively;

  • Use a dog nail grinder over clippers. Grinders help you remove a little nail at a time which is an advantage because you can usually see the nail quickly before you hit it.
  • Grind away parts of the nail little by little until you see a dark circle in the nail that indicates the quick.
  • Reward your pet.


Learning something new, or cultivating new habits takes time for humans. Likewise, conditioning your dog to tolerate or relax during nail trimming will take time and even more patience. 

With these tips and a generous dose of love, your scared dog will be looking forward to dog nail trims if given enough time.

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About Author (Pauline G. Carter)

Pauline G. Carter

Pauline G. Carter is a well-known pet blogger who has written about the world of pets for several years. She is passionate about pets, from cats and dogs to birds, reptiles, and poultry. Her blog, which is updated regularly, is filled with articles and guides on pet care, nutrition, and training. She also shares her experiences and observations on pet ownership, making her blog relatable and informative for pet lovers. She is a true animal advocate and is dedicated to promoting responsible pet ownership. Let’s Go …

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