Nail Trimming


Nail trimming makes some people very nervous, but you can do it!

Toe nail maintenance requires a trim every two weeks, just like maintaining human fingernails. If you can hear nails clicking on your kitchen floor, they are much too long. But don’t despair, the technique shown here will make short work of getting your dog’s nails back to their correct shape. The concept is easy: trim around, never across the quick, which is actually your dog’s finger. 


  • Use only “scissor” type clippers. Guillotine style clippers crush the toe, which is painful. Never put the whole nail in a clipper.
  • Use small size clippers for better control. 
  • Keep your tools sharp: either replace or sharpen your clippers regularly.
  • “Quick-guards” obscure your view of the nail. If possible, remove them, or at least tape them back so that they won’t interfere with your work.
  • “Pedi-paws” type grinder: Smooth out your trim afterwards with a rotating emeryboard.
  • File only the insensitive nail around the top and sides of the quick: “Sharpen the pencil” where the nail is the wood and the quick is the lead.


IF YOU CUT THE QUICK Use corn starch to stop the bleeding. With shallow cuts, this will be rare. It’s easiest if you use a small container with tightly packed powder.


  • Trim nails outside or in a well lit room.
  • If you need “cheaters” for reading, use them for toenail clipping too.
  • Keep clipper blades almost parallel to the nail – never cut across the finger.
  • Don’t squeeze the toes – that hurts! Use your fingers to separate the toes for clipping and hold the paw gently. Use a pair of blunt edged children’s scissors to remove excess toe hair: nothing dulls clippers quicker than cutting hair!
  • Remember, no dog ever died from a quicked toenail. If you “quick” your dog accidentally, give a yummy treat right away.
  • Make nail trimming fun: always associate nail cutting with cookies and praise.
  • For maintenance, cut every two weeks. To shorten, cut every week.


Puppies love the attention!

My daughter loves to paint puppy toenails.  I have found that the more you touch and handle the puppy's  paws, the less resistant they are when it's time to trim toenails.  If they get used to having their paws handled at an early age, they accept it as part of the love and attention you give them.