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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Pet Care Library > Articles > How To Clip Your Dogs Nails

How to Clip Your Dog's Nails

PetSmart

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Don't let the fear of hurting your dog keep you from taking good care of her feet and nails. Clipping her nails will be as easy as clipping your own nails once you learn how it's done.

All dogs need proper foot and nail care. Nails that are not kept short will grow too long and become irritating and painful to the dog. It can also cause the feet to splay, or spread, and nails can actually curl around and grow into a dog's pads.

Don't all dogs naturally wear down their nails?

Don't let the fear of hurting your dog keep you from taking good care of her feet and nails. Clipping her nails will be as easy as clipping your own nails once you learn how it's done.

All dogs need proper foot and nail care. Nails that are not kept short will grow too long and become irritating and painful to the dog. It can also cause the feet to splay, or spread, and nails can actually curl around and grow into a dog's pads.

Don't all dogs naturally wear down their nails?
Most dogs, especially those kept indoors, will need their nails clipped regularly. A dog that walks on hard surfaces or that is outside a lot may have their nails naturally worn down to an acceptable length. But the average dog spends most of its time indoors, or walks on surfaces too soft to wear the nails down, like grass or carpet.

What type of nail clippers is best for my dog?
For medium to large dogs, use either the guillotine type dog nail clippers, or large scissor type nail clippers. For small dogs and puppies, use the scissor-type clippers. If the puppy is a small-breed, the owner can continue to use the scissor type. For puppies that will grow to be medium- to large-breed dogs, switch to using the guillotine-type clippers.

How do I clip my dog's nails?
Hold your dog's foot and gently push down with your thumb at the base of each nail. This will cause the nail to extend slightly, making it easier for you to see the nail. Trim each nail at a 45-degree angle away from the dog so that the newly cut nail is flush with the floor when they walk.
There is a blood vessel, called the quick, in each nail. Do not cut the nail so short that it cuts into the quick. It will bleed and could be painful to the dog. If this happens, apply a coagulant (a substance that causes blood to clot) to the nail to stop the bleeding.

How do I find the "quick" in my dog's nails?
The pinkish color of the quick is easy to see in dogs with light-colored nails. However, it is almost impossible to see the quick on dark dogs that have dark nails. Try to locate the quick from the underside of each nail before you begin cutting. Cut each nail back just a little at a time until you get close, but not right up to, the quick.

What is a dewclaw, and does it need to clipped like the other nails?
A dewclaw is a fifth claw on the inside of the leg (typically only the front legs) just slightly above the other claws. If a dog does have dewclaws, those should be trimmed just like the other nails.

Will it hurt my dog's nails if I put polish on them?
No. Use an epoxy enamel made for dogs, not a human nail polish. These pet polishes come in several colors, dry quickly, and will not chip off easily. Apply a coat of polish one foot at a time, keeping the toes separated. These nail polishes are designed to dry quickly, but an impatient dog could still smudge the polish onto its coat.

Read more dog grooming tips.

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Comments

23 Mar 2011 8:37 am

lovinallpets said:

I clip my dog's toes all the time. It's hard 'cause they squirm.

27 Dec 2010 8:46 pm

tanszhenry said:

well it seems easy ... but im still kinda scared. also she pullsz away when i even get close to her face with a comb ... not to sure how she will take a nail clipping. but i sure will try my best. (: ... thisz wasz quite helpful. :D

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