How to Trim Your Dog’s Nails

Know When to Stop

To trim your dog’s nails can be as easy as trimming your own.  If you cut to the quick, you will bleed.  We don’t like a nail cut too short and neither does your dog.

You can click the pictures below to clearly see where you should avoid when nail trimming.

trim your dog's nails

Click picture to see a close up of where to cut.

trim your dog's nails

Click picture to see a close up of where to cut.


When you know what to watch out for, you’ll be able to stop before you cut too close.  If this does happen, we use a styptic pencil or styptic powder to stop the bleeding. This product can be found in the shaving section of stores.

If you don’t have that on hand, dab a bit of corn starch or flour on the nail area and that will help stop the bleeding.

Ready? You can do this!

Go Slow and Have Patience

Another tip we’d like to share is to go slow.  You might want to set a goal of just one nail a day.  Your dog won’t get as frustrated and become averse to the process.  Neither will you!

If she is particularly calm one day, go for more, but stop before you both get upset.  When things are going well, a low fat treat (for both of you) never hurts and is a good reinforcement.

This process takes time for both of you to learn. It can happen–just take it one nail at a time.

Dog Still Freaking Out?

Watch this video showing the incredible transformation of a dog who is clearly not having anything to do with the nail trim. The DVM and the assistant start in on trimming the usual way.

The dog reacts. Angrily.

Then watch how they are able to shape and change the dog’s behavior. In just a few minutes!

Click here to watch the video.

Washington State University has terrific detail on clipping a dog’s claws if you need more visuals.

If you have questions, please feel free to call the office, 319-232-5292.  We are convenient to Waterloo, Cedar Falls, and many places in the Cedar Valley. We are happy to offer more tips, moral support and encouragement.   If you aren’t comfortable or just don’t want to deal with trimming your dog’s nails, we are happy to help with that as well!