How to Trim Your Dog’s Nails

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Hi, I’m Dr. Fiona Caldwell and I’m a practicing veterinarian at Idaho Veterinary Hospital. I’d like to talk to you today about the importance of keeping your dog’s toenails trimmed and the proper way to do it.

Keeping your dog’s toenails short is important so that they don’t snag or become torn or infected, especially if your dog has dewclaws. Those dewclaws can actually grow around and curl into the pad and become painful.

When you trim the nails you’ll want to use a trimmer that looks like a pair of scissors. This size would be good for a dog like Tula. Something larger, like this, would be appropriate for a larger dog.

Sometimes it’s hard to know how far to go on the nail. Tulah has really nice white nails so you can see where the pink part is. That’s the quick and it’s alive. So for her I would want to take only where the white part is, making sure not to nick the pinker part.

It may be a two-person job for you; someone to hold the dog and to comfort them, while the other person uses the toenail trimmers.

So for Tulah, we will go just about to there. If you do trim too much and you start to get some bleeding, don’t despair. Put gentle pressure on the end of the tip of the nail. You can use a little cornstarch or a warm cloth to provide some pressure. Typically, that will stop the bleeding.

If you’ve got questions or concerns or are wary about trimming your dog’s nails, contact your veterinarian. They should be able to assist you.

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I’m Dr. Caldwell, and that’s how you trim nails.

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