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News and Information about Dogs, Cats, and Pet Products


In my last post, we talked about the anatomy of a dog’s nail and ways to help introduce your pup to effective nail trimming tools like GoGo nail trimmers, clippers and grinders. Establishing positive association is a very important first step in the process! So in this post, we’ll now take a look at the actual nail trimming process.

Once you’re actually ready to trim your dog’s nails, be sure you have all of your supplies readily at hand and are in a comfortable place with good lighting. Many people find it easiest to have the dog lay on his side on the floor. If using a clipper, hold it in your dominant hand; then hold the dog’s paw firmly in your other hand, with your thumb on the foot pad and your fingers on the top of the foot near the nail bed. Place the trimmer in an area away from the quick (again, no closer than 2mm), and cut with one swift motion. If your dog has dark nails, it is best to start at the very tip and cut 2 mm at a time as you gradually get closer to the quick. When you start seeing a gray colored oval, you are nearing the quick and should STOP cutting.  The quick actually starts to recede the more often you trim the nails, making future trimmings easier. You may also use a nail file to smooth the edges.


Find the position that’s most comfortable for you and your dog, then make sure you’re in a well-lit area with all your tools readily at hand.

If you are using a grinder, you will also hold it in your dominant hand and the dog’s paw in the other (as with a clipper). Touch the grinder to the dog’s nails for a couple of seconds, remove it for a second, and then repeat. Continue this technique until you start to see the gray colored oval. Grinding tends to take a little bit longer, but produces a very nice, smooth, short nail.

Be very patient, take your time, and offer lots of treats. Never trim nails in a hurry! Every dog reacts to nail trimming differently. One of my pups gets anxious, so I have to trim a nail, give a treat, then relax for a couple seconds before going on to the next nail.  Another of my dogs is very easygoing and not too bothered by the task — so I do an entire foot, and then reward with a treat before going on to the next. It is important to read your dog’s body language. If he is getting stressed, give him a couple breaks. Don’t try to do all 4 paws at one time.

Happy trimming!


Always be sure to take your time, and realize that every dog reacts differently to nail trimming. Your perfectly-pedicured pup will appreciate your care and patience!


p.s.  ~ About cutting the quick: I have been trimming nails for 12 years, and have yet to cut the quick even on black nails. Yet even with this track record, I still have styptic powder within close reach each time I trim. It is very, very important to proceed gradually and carefully for the well-being of your pet. But if you do accidentally cut the quick, use a cotton ball to wipe the blood off the nail. Take a generous pinch of powder from the container and pack it all around the nail to stop the bleeding.



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