How to cut a dog's nails

Are your dog's nails too long? To cut them you have two options: go to the vet or do it yourself at home. Keep in mind that the nails of these animals have a curvature, are harder and, in addition, their matrix is ​​much closer to the edge than we think, so we will have to be careful if we decide to cut them at home. In this article we are going to tell you how to cut a dog's nails so that you know the aspects that you have to take into account, as well as how to act in the event that a small hemorrhage appears.

Steps to follow:


You should bear in mind that dogs' nails tend to be filed naturally with each walk they take daily. But, on many occasions, this filing is not enough and that is when we have to intervene to cut the nails because, if not, you can find these situations:

  • Too long fingernails tend to curve inward and this can cause sores to appear, sink into the flesh or become infected.
  • They also cause discomfort at the time of walking because, having the shape of a claw, they will touch the ground before their own foot.
  • These discomforts or pains can cause the animal's attitude to change and become more irascible and aggressive .


So that the animal gets used to this treatment, we recommend that from the first months that you have it with you, you start to cut its nails, so, it will get used to it and every time it will reject it less. If you have the dog since he is a puppy, teach him from the first moment so that he recognizes it as something else in his life.

In case you have never cut your nails and now, you want to do it for the first time, we recommend that the first day you start with a pair of nails and that, little by little, you will cut the others, thus, you will get used and It will not be so traumatic for him.

In this article we tell you when you should cut the nails of a dog.


The first thing to keep in mind is that dogs feel your mood so do not approach him with fear or nervousness because you will get it. Keep in mind that you should be patient because cutting your nails is not an easy or pleasant process for your best friend. To begin with this treatment you will need:

  • Scissors or special nail clippers for dogs because they have the shape with curvature and are much harder. You can buy this at any pet store or large supermarket.
  • Gauze sterilized in case you cut a part of the nail matrix and hemorrhage appears.
  • Oxygenated water or astringent powder to be able to disinfect the area in the event of bleeding.


Before starting the cut itself, it is important that we know that the nail of the animal has, essentially, two parts:

  • Dead keratin : it is the part of the nail that should be cut a little to make it easier for our animal to walk and avoid sores or wounds.
  • Live keratin : is the part of the nail that still has to be cut because it contains nerve endings and blood vessels through which blood flows.

When we cut, we should try never to cut the living part because it could appear a small hemorrhage and cause pain to the dog. If the dog has white nails it is easy to differentiate which is each part because the area that has a pink tone is why the blood still runs. But if your dog has black nails, you will have to go more carefully and cut little by little, starting at the tip, to avoid damaging him.


As we have just commented, if your dog has a black nail it will be more complicated to get his nails cut, therefore, we recommend that you start by cutting the outer part of the nail and observe the rest of the nail: if you see that it looks all white, you can cut a little more.

Surely, after this intervention, you will see that in the center of the nail a body begins to appear as gelatinous, it is the indicator that shows you that it is time to stop cutting because you are approaching the living part.


To know how to cut a dog's nails, it is recommended that you hold the leg with your hand in a firm way to prevent the dog from escaping or removing the leg and may be damaged. Place your fingers on the pad to hold it firmly and stable and, in this position, you can begin to cut the nails one by one, little by little and with a lot of patience.

If the animal is very restless, you can place it on its side and hold it with your arms, surrounding your body, without exerting too much pressure but being firm in endurance. Thus, he will not be able to move almost and he will also feel protected by you.


Once you have cut the nails it is recommended that you proceed to the filing since, with the cut, they will be rough and the animal will be able to get hooked to the curtains, to your clothes, to the sofa, and so on. For this reason, it is a good idea to file and give them a rounded shape: your dog will thank you.


After doing all the treatment, it is important that you reward your dog as he has behaved well. Remember that, for him, this is a somewhat traumatic moment and it causes some discomfort, so if you give him a prize he will associate it with a good behavior and it will be easier for you to do it next time.


If you have not correctly calculated the cut and, in the end, you have cut a living part of the nail, the blood will appear and feel pain. To avoid any infection, you will have to put on a gauze some astringent powder or hydrogen peroxide and cover the leg for about 5 minutes to stop the bleeding.

In case you do not see yourself ready for this treatment, we recommend that you go to a veterinarian to do it yourself or show you an example of how you should do it.