Friends Of Beneful®

Health & Grooming: How to Trim Your Dog's Nails

Step 1

Consider investing in nail clippers specially contoured for dogs. You could also use a Dremel or PediPaws tool to file the nails as an alternative to clipping them.

Step 2

Choose a spot for your dog's pedicure that's quiet, with few distractions and no escape routes.

Step 3

If your dog is unaccustomed to nail trimming, try starting with a gentle paw massage, tenderly rubbing and manipulating your dog's toes, much like a luxurious foot rub.

Step 4

If possible, trim nails after a bath when nails are softer.

Step 5

Trimming your dog's nails can be a little tricky at first. If you trim too deep and hit a vein, your dog will bleed. Plus, it hurts, like when you break a nail into the "quick". That's the pink part where the blood vessels reside. So before you begin, make sure you have styptic powder, cornstarch or a bar of soft soap to stop any bleeding.

Step 6

Start by holding your dog's foot and gently pushing down with your thumb at the base of each nail. This will cause the nail to extend slightly, making it easier for you to see. Your goal should be to trim each nail at a 45-degree angle away from the dog. If you've cut the nail at the ideal angle, the newly trimmed nail should be flush with the floor when the dog walks.

Step 7

If your dog has clear nails, trim just outside the "quick" area.

Step 8

If your dog has dark nails, it's almost impossible to determine where the "quick" begins. It may be wiser to snip away only small amounts of nail at weekly sessions until nails are at their proper length, then maintain with a trim every two weeks.

Step 9

If necessary, at first, break the pedicure into two or four sessions-front paws, then back paws, or even one paw at a time.

Step 10

Always talk to your dog in reassuring tones as you trim, praising him for staying calm.

Step 11

If your dog has dewclaws (a dewclaw is a fifth claw on the inside of the leg, usually on the front legs), those should be trimmed just like the other nails.

Step 12

Always end with lavish praise and a treat. Make pedicure time something your dog may actually start looking forward to.

Step 13

Remember, a pedicure isn't just a luxury. It could actually prevent your dog from getting tangled up in something like carpeting, leading to an injury that could cause infection or the loss of a nail.