How To Cut Dog Nails? A Complete How-To Guide

how to cute dog nails

Cutting your dog’s nails can be quite frustrating especially if you don't have any experience in cutting dog’s nails before.

I remember the first time I attempted to cut my dog’s nails. I was so nervous that I almost cut the quick of my dog. If you’re not familiar with the quick, don’t worry, we’ll get into that a little later.

Fortunately enough, I was somehow able to cut my dog’s nails without actually cutting his quick. After that incident, and with much more experience, I gained enough experience to properly cut his nails so that I wouldn’t risk injuring my dog.

If you also would like to start cutting your dog’s nails on your own, I highly suggest taking a gander at this short article below.

Here are the basic steps that you need to follow in order to learn how to cut a dog’s nails the right way.

Are you ready? Let’s get started!

A Complete How-To Guide on How To Cut Your Dog's Nails

1. Materials You Need To Prepare

Dog Nail Clippers - The Only Tool You Definitely Need

scissor clippers for dogsThe first, and really only tool that you will need to have is a pair of dog nail clippers. If you don’t have one of your own yet, don’t worry. You can easily get a pair from any pet shop. You can even get a pair from the grocery store right down the pet supply aisle.

There are different kinds of dog nail clippers available in the market today. Some look like garden scissors while others possess a guillotine or a plier-like design.

Guillotine clippers for dogsScissor clippers (e.g. Safari brand in image) are often used for large dogs as it allows more force for thicker nails. However, they can be used for all dog sizes and are a very common type. Guillotine clippers can be used for small to medium sized dogs.

Olive Oil

A great addition to your dog clipping materials that you probably already have in your kitchen is olive oil, which can be used for finishing up your dog’s nails. Olive oil is a great ingredient that can help prevent flaking of the nails. It also helps moisturize the ends of your dog’s nails. But most importantly, olive oil helps seal your dog’s nails, therefore preventing any dust or dirt from entering the freshly cut nails.

Dog Treats

Try to set aside a dog treat or two whenever you plan to cut your dog’s nails. You can give your dog a treat after cutting his nails as a form of reward. Doing so will condition your dog to feel better when it comes to getting his nails cut.

Cornstarch or Styptic Powder

If this is your first time trying to cut your dog's nails, you should prepare a bit of cornstarch as a safety measure. Cornstarch can help stop bleeding when the quick is accidentally cut and the nail begins to bleed. If this happens, don't worry. Just dab some cornstarch or styptic powder on the nail.

2. Simple Steps You Need To Follow

Once you have gathered all of the materials you need, all you need to do is to follow these simple steps:

STEP 1: Set Your Dog Into Position

STEP 1: Set Your Dog Into Position

The kind of position your dog should be in will depend on your dog’s size. If you have a small or average sized dog, you may simply let your dog rest on your lap with his belly up. If you have a large dog, you may want him to lay down on the floor or on the couch instead. You may also find that it is easier to have your dog stand and lift each paw up. The best position for you will be whichever one is most comfortable for you and your dog.

STEP 2: Introduce The Nail Clipper To Your Dog

To help your dog relax, you should try introducing him to the nail clipper first. Gently hold his paws and rub the nail clipper against his nails. You may also want to provide your dog with treats as you do so.

STEP 3: Start Cutting The Nail

Once your dog is all relaxed, you may now proceed to cutting his nails.

Firmly hold your dog’s paw and then select one nail. Try to push away any stray furs from the nail. Once the nail is completely exposed, place your nail clipper below the quick at a 45 degree angle, and then perform a swift cut.

If your nail clipper comes with a guide that swivels around one side of the cutter, you may use it to find out how long you should cut off from your dog’s nail. Before you cut the nail, use the guide to cover the other side of the clipper and place your dog’s uncut nails in the opening of the clipper until the nail slightly touches the guide.

If your dog is feeling uneasy, you may give him a small treat first before proceeding to the next nail.

STEP 4: Finish Up Your Dog’s Nails

After cutting your dog’s nails, simply apply a thin coat of olive oil to each of your dog’s nails to prevent flaking and to seal them all up. The College of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University has detailed images of each step in clipping your dog's nails if you want to see more pictures.

A Quick Recap

Well there you go! A complete guide on how to cut dog nails!

Remember, the key to effectively cutting your dog's nails is cutting at the right angle and avoiding the quick. Never forget to seal your dog’s nails with some olive oil after you cut them since it will prevent any nasty stuff from getting in.

Also keep in mind that if you ever accidentally cut the quick, all you need to do is apply a small amount of cornstarch to the nail wound to stop the bleeding.

About the Author:

"Hello, my name is Ana. I have three lovely pups I love with all my heart. I want to share experiences and tips for keeping your best puppy friends happy, healthy and well-behaved. Meet me at:"