How to Trim Dog Nails Safely

Clipping dog nails at home



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Dogs are like family. We love them, take care of them, and just like us humans, they need their nails trimmed on a regular basis. If you’re not sure how to trim dog nails safely and effectively, don’t worry!

In this blog post, we will teach you everything you need to know about trimming your dog’s nails without causing them any pain or discomfort.

How to trim dog nails

There are a few different ways that you can trim your pupper’s nails, and you don’t even need to worry about giving them a full set of false acrylic nails for fashion’s sake.

You can use a standard nail clipper or an electric nail trimmer, such as Dremel’s. Whichever method you choose, be sure to have everything you need on hand before starting. This includes:

  • Nail clippers or trimmers
  • Dog nail file
  • Styptic powder or cornstarch (optional)
  • Cotton balls or gauze (optional)
  • Treats!

Now that you have everything you need, let’s get started! Here is how to cut your dog’s nails short.

Step one: prepare your dog

The first step is to get your pupperino comfortable with the idea of having their nails trimmed. If you thought your dog was afraid of the vacuum, just wait and see how they react when they meet their new friend, the nail clipper.

Start by gently handling your dog’s paws and nails, getting them used to the sensation. You can also file their nails down a bit so they’re not as sharp. This will help reduce the risk of cutting your doggo’s skin when you trim their nails.

This process may take some time and patience, but it will be worth it in the end. Start by gently handling their paws and massaging them for a few minutes each day. 

Once your pup is comfortable with having his paws handled, it’s time to get them used to your tool. If you’re using a grinder, start by turning it on so that it can get used to the sound of the device. Speak in soft encouraging tones and pet your dog while you do this. Maybe reward them with a treat so they start seeing this as a happy and positive experience.

As they become more comfortable, you can start trimming the tips of their nails very lightly. Be sure to praise them and give them a treat afterward for making it through this process calmly and cooperatively.

Step two: choose the right nail clippers

There are a few different types of nail clippers on the market, but not all of them are created equal. The best type of clippers to use for your dog’s nails are the ones that have a guillotine-style blade.

These types of clippers are much easier to control and are less likely to cause any pain or discomfort. Check out our selection below.

Step three: trim your dog’s nails

Now it’s time to start trimming! Start by gently pressing on your dog’s paw to extend the nails. You will want to avoid cutting the quick, which is the pink part of the nail that contains blood vessels and nerves.

If you are using clippers, cut each nail in a smooth motion, being careful not to snag on the quick. In case you accidentally clip into it, have some styptic powder or cornstarch handy to stop the bleeding. 

When using an electric nail trimmer or Dremel tool, be sure to read the instructions carefully before starting. When grinding dog nails with these tools, it’s important to go slowly, to make sure you don’t take away too much too quickly.

Remember the treats to reward them for their good behavior!

Step four: file down any sharp edges

After trimming your dog’s nails, you may notice that they have sharp edges. To avoid any cuts or injuries, use a dog nail file to gently smooth them down. Be sure to file in one direction and move the file away from your pup’s paw so that the nail is smooth without any sharp edges.

Best tools for clipping, trimming, or grinding dog nails

Now that you’re ready to give your fur baby an at-home nail spa treatment, here are some of the best tools for clipping, trimming, and grinding dog nails:

Boshel Dog Nail Clippers

Boshel’s dog nail clipper is ideal for the beginner and regular at-home groomer alike. This pup nail grooming tool is ergonomically designed and easy to operate. The dog nail clippers are made from high-quality stainless steel with 3.5 mm thick blades. They are powerful enough to trim your dog’s nails with just one cut.

Additionally, the metal will keep its sharpness for many years to come. A unique feature of this nail clipper is that it comes with a safety stop blade that reduces the risk of cutting into your dog’s quick. The guard prevents the nail from going all the way through the clippers and cutting the nail too short, so there is no guesswork involved.

Boshel Dog Nail Clippers and Trimmer

The Boshel Dog Nail Clippers and Trimmer comes with a safety guard to avoid over-cutting nails and a bonus free nail file.

With razor sharp blades and sturdy non slip handles, this essential tool allows for safe, professional and at home grooming of your pupperino.

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Casfuy Dog Nail Grinder

To ensure the safest and most comfortable grinding experience for your pupper, this nail grinder uses advanced diamond drum bits. It has 2 speeds and 3 grinding ports of different sizes, making this tool customizable for small, medium, or large dogs.

It is quiet and has low vibration, which is perfect for keeping your pup calm during the entire process. It’s also rechargeable with an included USB cord, so you won’t have to worry about purchasing and replacing batteries. 

Casfuy Dog Nail Grinder Upgraded

The Casfuy Dog Nail Grinder Upgraded is a professional 2-speed electric USB rechargeable dog nail trimmer.

This simple device allows for painless nails grooming and smoothing for small, medium and large dogs (and even cats!)

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Dremel 7350 Nail Grinder

Grinding dog nails with Dremel tools is a great way to keep your pupperino’s nails smooth and short. The Dremel 7350 is one of the most popular nail grinders on the market.

This popular nail grinder has released its 2nd edition, which is 7% quieter and has 30% more runtime than the previous version. It is compact, cordless, and rechargeable, making it perfect for on-the-go touch-ups.

Dremel 7350 Dog Nail Grinder

The Dremel 7350-PET 4V is a superior dog nail grinder.

This easy-to-use and safe nail trimmer, works on small, medium and large dogs and cats

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Dogswell Remedy+Recovery Styptic Blood Stopper Powder for Dogs

Sometimes even experts accidentally cut the quick while trimming our dog’s nails. If this happens, Dogswell Styptic Blood Stopper Powder is a must-have to stop the bleeding quickly. This Amazon’s Choice styptic powder doesn’t contain anaesthetic or antiseptic and doesn’t stain cloth. If after applying this product following manufacturer’s directions the bleeding doesn’t stop, please consult a vet.

Dogswell Remedy+Recovery Styptic Powder for Dogs 1.5 oz.

The Dogswell Remedy+Recovery Styptic Blood Stopper Powder for Dogs & Cats is a dry powder that clots blood quickly and is very easy to apply.

Used by professional groomers when accidentally clipping nails too far back, which nicks the blood vessel.

Suitable for dogs, cats and birds.

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FAQs: How to trim dog nails

What angle to cut dog nails at?

When cutting your dog’s nails, it is important to use the correct angle. You will want to hold the clippers at a 45-degree angle and cut in a straight line. This will help you avoid any cuts or injuries.

How to find the quick on dog nails?

The quick is the pink part of the nail that contains blood vessels and nerves. It is important to avoid cutting into this area as it can be very painful for your dog.

Lift your dog’s paw and look at the center of the unclipped nail head-on to see the quick of the nail. The small dark circle in the center of the nail indicates the beginning of the quick. Avoid clipping nails with circles in the center since you will cut into the quick.

How to cut dog nails that are black

If your pup has black nails, it can be hard to know how short to cut them. To make sure you don’t hurt your doggo, follow these steps: 

Always cut or grind the dog nails in small increments to be safe.

After you’ve clipped once, look at your pupperino’s nail head-on. If it looks white-ish, you’re safe to carry on for a little bit.

Clip once more and look at the nail head-on again. As you get closer to the quick, the center of the nail or pulp will look black, and as you continue, at some point, it will look pink. That means you’re just before the quick.

The main trick here is to always trim bit by bit and stop when the nail has a black center. If it’s pink, STOP right there!

How to cut puppy nails

When deciding how to trim puppy nails, it’s important to make sure your pup is comfortable. If you notice your dog screaming getting nails cut, you will want to soothe him before, during, and after the process.

How often to cut dog nails

It is important to keep your dog’s nails trimmed on a regular basis. If you wait too long, the quick will grow out and make it difficult to trim the nails properly. If this happens, look into “overgrown how to cut dog nails” tutorials. Ideally, you should trim your pup’s nails every two weeks.

Where to cut dog nails

Nail grooming can be a difficult process, depending on the dog, so it’s important to trim your dog’s nails on a non-slip surface so they feel comfortable and safe. Try a bath mat or yoga mat, so they’re also easy to clean.

Make sure it’s an area where there aren’t delicate plants, decorative items, or furniture that you don’t want to get scratched. You’ll also want to make sure it’s in a relaxing environment because the best way to trim dog nails is by making sure your pup is calm.

Additionally, you can ask your vet to cut your dog’s nails. Our vet is usually able to cut our pup’s nails when we are coming in for a vaccination or regular checkups. Just make sure to ask in advance!

You can also get your doggo’s nails trimmed at a groomer or pet salon. You can call a local chain such as PetSmart or Petco or find a local independent groomer through Google or Yelp.

Tips and tricks

  • It can be helpful to have someone else hold your pup while you trim his nails. This will help keep your dog calm and still during the process. Leaning on you or that person will give them the balance they need when you’re clipping or grinding their nails.
  • If your dog is wiggling a lot, try wrapping him in a towel to help keep him still.
  • Use praise and treats to encourage your pup!
  • If you’re using nail clippers, make sure to use sharp ones. Dull nail clippers can cause pain and make the trimming process more difficult.
  • Clip small bits at a time to avoid clipping too much and hitting the quick
  • When using a nail grinder, start with the coarsest setting to grind down the sharp edges of your pup’s nails. Then, use a finer grinding bit to smooth them out. Use them for short periods on each nail so it doesn’t get hot and upset your dog. 
  • Use styptic powder or pads to stop the bleeding if you accidentally cut your dog’s quick. This will stop the bleeding pretty fast and will also dull the pain.

Time to get clipping!

Phew! Now you can rest assured it’s not as challenging to trim dog nails as you originally thought! Just remember to go slow, be gentle, use sharp clippers or a grinder, and avoid the quick. And most importantly- don’t forget the treats! You and your pup will be pros in no time.

Happy clipping!

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About the Author


I’m Alex and I’ve always wanted the best for my pupper Indy, so she could have a healthy and happy life. I’m pretty sure this also applies to you and your doggie, otherwise you wouldn’t have made it to the end of this post.

I started Pampered Puppers as a family-owned business, based in Australia, to help all dog lovers around the world achieve this easily. So that’s our mission, to help improve your dog’s safety and quality of life with entertaining and helpful articles via our blog 🐶

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