How to Cut Your Pet’s Nails

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Learn how to cut your dog and cat’s toe nails from veterinarian Dr. Fiona, for Pets Best pet health insurance. 

Hi, I’m Doctor Fiona Caldwell, and today we’re gonna talk about how to cut your dog’s and cat’s toenails.

So when you’re trimming your dog’s toenails, it’s important to have a pair of good toenail trimmers. You want them to be sturdy and you want them to be pretty sharp. I like the kind that act like a pair of scissors versus the kind that slide. So, you can buy these at any pet store and if you’re lucky, your dog will have white or clear nails. And the reason I say that’s lucky is because then you can see the pink part, which is alive. A lot of dogs have black nails so it’s a lot harder to tell how far back to trim them. So for Tulah, I can actually see where the extra part of her nail is, and you just position and then snip. You can actually sometimes see when you’re getting close to the quick, which is the alive part. You’ll see a little change in the way that the nail looks. Sometimes you can base how much to cut off if there’s one clear nail. You can see how long that is and base that, the other black nails, for how much you want to cut off. If you’re cutting your dog’s toenails, there is a good likelihood that you might cut one too short. This feels terrible. We’ve all done it, but if you put pressure on the end of the nail and use just a soft cloth, typically the bleeding will stop.

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Cats are a little trickier. So, cats will typically be pretty good with maintaining their own nails, however if you have an indoor cat and you really want those nails to be less sharp, then it might be useful to trim the tips off. Usually, I’ll just use toenail trimmers, like human toenail trimmers work great just to get the sharp end of that claw off. Cats should always be given scratching posts so that they can maintain their nail health.

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