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How to Use Dog Nail Clippers

Learn how to use a dog nail clippers to trim your dog’s nails at home.

Trimming your dog’s nails can be intimidating. It can also be stressful for your dog. While active dogs that run outside a lot naturally wear down their nails, other dogs need a routine trim. Whether it’s once a week or once a month, you can trim your dog’s nails at home. With help from Blain’s Farm & Fleet, learn how to use dog nail clippers for an easy at-home trim. Of course, always consult with your dog’s groomer or vet before you begin at-home care.

How to Use Dog Nail Clippers
Trimming your dog’s nails can be stressful for you and your pet. Learn how to use dog nail clippers at home, with the help of Blain’s Farm & Fleet.

What You’ll Need

First, you’ll need dog nail clippers. They’re designed to cut the thick dog nails, whether your dog has black or clear nails. Dog nail clippers come in a scissors style and a guillotine style.

It’s also a good idea to have treats with you. Rewarding your dog will help him or her associate positive rewards with nail clipping time. Making the experience as stress-free as possible is a must. Just remember to be patient and take it slow.

What to Do Before You Trim the Nails

Some dogs have sensitive feet, and don’t like them to be touched. Ideally, you want to start getting your dog used to it when they’re a puppy. Touching your dog’s leg and pressing on each toe before you start clipping can help with this. Remember to reward them with a treat.

You can also help your pup by tiring them out with a good run or other form of exercise. If you’re uncomfortable with cutting the nails yourself, or your dog is too big to hold down, ask a friend or family member to help you keep the dog in place.

How to Trim Your Dog’s Nails

1. Hold the first toe with a firm but gentle grip. Take your trimmer, and hold it at a slight angle to keep with the existing curve of the nail. Your don’t want to cut side to side. When you make the first cut, only cut a very small length of the nail.

2. As you continue to trim, make small cuts until you see the beginning of a nail-colored circle. Do not go past this circle. There is a vein that runs through the nail, called a quick, which will bleed if it’s clipped. The nail-colored circle is near the quick. When you’ve reached that point, move onto the next nail. If your dog has black nails, the quick is harder to locate. Be extra careful when trimming black nails.

3. If you clip the quick, use styptic powder or corn starch to stop the bleeding. Use a bit of pressure when you apply the powder to the nail. If the bleeding continues after a few minutes, contact your veterinarian.

4. Once the nails are all cut, smooth them out with an emery board.

At Blain’s Farm & Fleet, we understand that your dog or puppy is more than just a pet; they’re family. That’s why we carry all the dog and puppy care products you need for your furry family member. From grooming supplies to treats, toys and chews, your pup is in good hands with Blains’ Farm & Fleet. For more tips on caring for your canine, as well as your other pets, visit our pet care and hobby farming blogs.


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