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How to clip your dog's nails.

May 21, 2023

Duncan Houston

Clipping your dog's nails is a necessary part of their grooming routine. It's important to approach this task with patience and care, as it can be stressful for your dog if not done properly. Here's a step-by-step guide:

*What you will need:*

1. Pet Nail Clippers: There are several styles available such as guillotine-style, scissor-style, and grinder-style (or Dremel). Choose one that's comfortable for you to handle and suits your dog's size and nail thickness.

2. Styptic Powder: This is used to stop bleeding if you accidentally cut the quick of the nail.

3. Treats: These are for positive reinforcement.

4. Nail Filer or Dremel Tool: These are used to smooth out the rough edges after clipping.


1. *Create a calm environment*: Choose a quiet, comfortable place where your dog feels at ease. Some dogs may feel more secure on a table or other elevated surface. If your dog is particularly nervous, consider having a second person to help keep them calm and distracted.

2. *Get your dog used to the tools*: Let your dog sniff and examine the nail clippers and Dremel (if using) so they can get used to them. Reward them with treats and praise to associate these tools with positive experiences.

3. *Handling the paw*: Gently hold your dog's paw but do not squeeze it. Squeezing can cause discomfort and make the dog pull away. If your dog seems uncomfortable with you holding their paw, spend a few days conditioning them to this by holding their paws at random times and giving them treats and praise. This will help them get used to the feeling.

4. *Identify the quick*: The quick is the sensitive part of the nail that can bleed if cut. In clear nails, it's the pink part. In dark nails, you can't see it, so it's safer to make several small clips instead of one big one.

5. *Clip the nail*: Position the clipper at a 45-degree angle to the nail and clip the tip. For dark nails, clip a little bit at a time until you see a black dot in the center of the clipped part. This indicates that you are near the quick. Make sure to avoid the quick.

6. *Use the Dremel or file*: After clipping, use a Dremel tool or a nail file to smooth out any sharp or rough edges. This step is important to prevent your dog from scratching itself or others. Remember to reward your dog with treats and praises for good behavior during this process.

7. *Apply styptic powder if necessary*: If you accidentally cut the quick, don't panic. Apply some styptic powder to stop the bleeding.

8. *Positive reinforcement*: Always end the session on a positive note, even if you could only trim one or two nails. Give your dog plenty of treats and praise for being good during the session. Over time, this positive reinforcement will help your dog become less stressed about nail trimming.

Remember, patience is key when it comes to clipping your dog's nails. It may take a few tries before your dog gets used to the process, so don't rush it. Start slow, and gradually work your way up as your dog becomes more comfortable with the process. If you're unsure or uncomfortable doing it yourself, consider hiring a professional groomer or asking your vet to show you how it's done.