How to Groom a Dog's Nails

10 - 20 Minute
2 Week


Some dog owners cringe at the idea of cutting and grooming their dog’s nails. So many things could happen - or may have happened if you’ve tried and failed to trim your dog’s nails. Quicking a dog’s nail causes pain and bleeding for the dog, and may be a reason some owners shy of doing this themselves. But with the right tools and knowledge, grooming your dog’s nails can be easy and pain-free. Keeping up with trimming your dog’s nails can help in keeping him healthy and protected from pain, snags, and tears. Well groomed nails also keep your floors protected from scratches or carpet pulls.

Dog's Perspective

If you are feeling anxious about trimming your dog’s nails, your dog will probably feel your anxiety too. Walking on hard ground or hard flooring with overly long nails can be painful to your dog. If your dog hasn't learned how to be poked and prodded and touched in various places besides the wonderful scratch behind his ear, he may be a bit apprehensive about you touching his paw pads or his toes. So be gentle and use a soothing voice to calm any anxieties he may have.

Caution & Considerations

  • Depending on your dog’s size and age, you may find yourself clipping his nails every week or potentially every other week.

  • As your dog ages, you may notice the quick in the nail may become longer.

  • Clear nails will be easier to cut than darker nails because of the redness of the quick inside the nail.

  • If you delay cutting your dog's nails, you may find the quick, or the pink part of the nail that will bleed if cut, might be a little longer than normal.

  • Cutting the quick is what makes cutting toenails scary for apprehensive dog owners.

  • When the quick is accidentally cut, it's painful for your dog and causes bleeding.

  • If you happen to cut your dog's quick while cutting, be sure to provide him love and comfort with a soothing voice and apply a little first aid. Don't let it stop you from cutting his nails again, just make sure he heals before you try the next time.

  • If you do accidentally cut the quick, you can use styptic powder or cornstarch to stop the bleeding. Your dog may be a little tender and sore for a few days, but this isn't much different than cutting your own fingernails or toenails too short.

  • If your dog is used to the quick in his nails being cut often, he may become a little apprehensive. So be sure to educate yourself so you understand where this nerve starts and how you can avoid cutting it.


Once your dog's nails are smooth and sleek, he is sure to look at you with his puppy-dog eyes and fall into puppy love all over again. Take this nail grooming time to bond with your dog, help him build trust with you, and keep him healthy. Nail trimming does not have to be a ruff task; just learn your way around those toes, and your dog will look and feel quite fetching.

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

Grooming Questions & Answers

Shepherd mix
2 Years
1 found helpful
1 found helpful
Shepherd mix
2 Years

I need advice on trimming her nails please. I feel terrible that now she has started limping.... she is very anxious and difficult to groom. How far should I cut or should I just continue to slowly Dremel ? Please help!

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
0 Dog owners recommended

Hello, and thank you for the question. I answered your other one as well. I feel that due to the length of the nails, a vet needs to give you a hand. It will take too long to Dremel this length - you have to be careful because the Dremel can heat up and become too hot to use on the nail. Caution is needed! The vet can possibly sedate Mia if she is anxious; that will get her through this first nail trim and then you can maintain them with the Dremel on a regular basis moving forward. All the best to you and Mia.

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Grooming Success Stories

3 Years

He doesn't like nail trimming at all but a spoon full of peanut butter or treats help get it done

2 years, 10 months ago
Book me a walkiee?
Sketch of smiling australian shepherd