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  • Jennifer Misfeldt, MABTR

Tips to trimming nails

Do you hear clicking on hard floors or the sidewalk? Then it is time for a nail trim.


Most dogs need to have their nails trimmed approximately once monthly. Dogs that are frequently walked on pavement or concrete may be able to go a bit longer between nail trims, because walking on a hard, rough surface can help file the nail.



Long nails can have many negative impacts on your pup's health and happiness.

Short-term effects of long nails:

  • Each toe is pressed up or twisted to one side, causing pain when your dog walks.

  • Long nails can grow into the paw pad, causing pain and the potential for infection.

  • They can get caught in carpet, blankets and even their collar.


Long-term effects of long nails:

  • The quick can grow out, making it impossible to get the nails short enough.

  • Chronic long nails can cause arthritis in the feet.

  • The unusual stance caused by walking with long nails can cause numerous joint problems.


Worse case is when the nail has curved so much that has punctured the pad, aka ingrown nail. This is extremely painful for the dog. Because of the risk of infection and how sensitive a sore foot will be, it is always best to take the pet to a veterinarian for treatment. They will clip the ingrown nail, clean the wound, and treat any infection that may be present.


How to trim the nail

Determine what position is comfortable for you AND THE DOG. Some dogs will sit nicely while you lift their paw for a trim, some want to lay on their side on a flat surface, sit in your lap with their back against your chest, or laying across your lap. Then there are those that do not want to be touched at all.

It is not worth fighting with your dog to trim nails as you have options such as groomers and vet clinics with professional experience.


If you are not comfortable trimming nails your dog will feel your tension. If you want to learn then start with just one nail a day. This will get you and the dog comfortable with the process.


The best way to avoid cutting the quick is to cut little bits of the nail at a time rather than going for a big chunk. You can then continue to trim back clipping the sides




How to treat a bleeding nail

If you cut your dog's quick, it will hurt and bleed. Since not all pups hold still for nail trims, even professional groomers cut the quick sometimes, so don't beat yourself up if it happens!

Keep cornstarch, flour or styptic powder handy to stop the bleeding. They will not bleed to death.

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