Cutting Long Dog Nails [All You Need To Know]

Cutting a dog's nails can be frightening because if you do it incorrectly, the dogs can bleed all over the place.

The bleeding is caused by the dog's nails quick.

Each dog nail has a quick, which is a blood vessel.

A nerve is also present in the nail, which causes pain when it is severed.

Note that quick gives blood to the dog's nails and will grow alongside it.

You must apply techniques that cause the quick to recede.

Cutting Long Dog Nails
Cutting Long Dog Nails

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How do you trim a dog's nails?

The quick gets longer as the nail grows longer.

If your dog's nails are long, it's best to clip them in little sections at a time because the quick will be as well.

Cut a little portion of each claw and wait a few days or a week for the quick to fade before cutting again.

Overview on Cutting Dog's Nails

Trying to remember to clip your dog's nails every week or two, no matter how excellent your intentions are, appears to be a lot more difficult than you might expect.

Your dog will eventually place a paw on your leg with nails that resemble daggers rather than claws.

Walking can be very unpleasant for your dog by the time they reach this stage, and clipping them back is not as simple as it would have been if they had been trimmed on a regular basis.

Overgrown Nails Consequences

Hearing dog claws on the ground makes me feel like I'm listening to fingernails on a chalkboard.

In addition, I believe they detract from an otherwise lovely paw.

When it comes to my dogs, I am a complete nail snob.

More importantly, growing dog nails can cause excruciating agony in the feet.

When a dog's nails come into touch with hard ground, such as a sidewalk or your kitchen floor, the nail is pushed back into the nail bed.

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This applies pressure to all of the toe joints or causes the toe to twist to the side.

As a result, the dog's toes get uncomfortable and he fusses when you touch his feet.

How to Get the Dog Nail to Recede Quickly

Patience is required for this step.

If you're cutting highly overgrown dog nails, or even somewhat overgrown dog nails, you'll need to trim a little at a time to get the quick to recede.

The quick will start to retract back into the nail when you clip just the end off, allowing you to cut the nail shorter the following time around.

Another thing to keep in mind is that your dog's nails should not be clipped straight across.

Second, the dog's growing nails enable him to compensate for his movement in an uneven manner, resulting in overworked muscles and, eventually, overworked joints.

This can cause lameness in their hind limbs over time, making it difficult to get in and out of cars, climb stairs, and even get up from lying down.

How to Cut Dog Nails at the Correct Angle

When you use an angled cut instead of a straight across cut, you can avoid severing the quick and allow it to recede further into the nail.

When you cut the quick, does it hurt the dog?

Yes, is the plain and tragic answer.

The pain is caused by the presence of nerves near the quick.

And if the nerves are cut, the dog will suffer discomfort.

Note that cutting a dog's nails below the quick does not cause discomfort.

However, many dogs dislike the loudness, pressure, and manipulation of their paws.

Now that we've covered how the quick in a dog's nails works and what angle to clip the nails at to avoid the quick, let's look at how to trim the nails properly.

Too-Long Dog Nails Must Be Trimmed

There isn't much magic going on here.

To cope with highly overgrown dog nails, you only need to perform a few things.

Each time, trim a small portion of the nail to allow the quick to fade.

  • When trimming the dog's nails, make sure to use the proper angle.
  • Use the correct dog nail clippers for your circumstance – for more information on nail clippers, visit this page on DIY dog nail trimming.
  • When you trim a small portion of the nail at a time at the precise angle, the quick moves back into the nail, allowing you to trim the nail a little shorter each time.
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What is the best way to cut a curled dew claw?

Both of my dogs have a curling dew claw.

The trick to cutting it is to only remove the end, as indicated in the diagram above.

In this circumstance, I find that utilizing scissors dog nail clippers works quite effectively.

Personally, I believe these are the most user-friendly dog nail clippers available.

When should you trim your dog's nails?

When dealing with dogs who have excessively long nails, you should consider trimming using nail trimmer or nail grinder them every week to two weeks.

This allows the quick to recede and allows you to cut a little more off each time until you reach the desired length.

You can clip their nails less frequently once they're back in shape, as long as they keep the same length.

If you have a puppy, you should begin clipping their nails as soon as possible and use somewhat different instruments.

How long should a dog's nails be?

When a dog's nails are not touching the ground while standing, they are the right length.

If you can hear them clicking on the ground or see them touching the ground when your dog is standing, it's time to nail clipping them.

What should you do if you accidentally clip the quick?

Even with extreme caution, clipping the quick of your dog's nails is entirely feasible.

If you snip the quick, the nail will bleed, but it will not harm the nail permanently.

To stop the bleeding, you'll need a styptic pencil and a styptic powder.

This should be included in your dog's first-aid kit.

How to use a Styptic Pencil on a Threating Bleeding Dog Nails

When your dog's nail bleeds, there are two things you should do:

  • Using a clean cloth or dressing, apply pressure to the nail.
  • Stop the bleeding using a styptic pencil.

Follow these steps to use a styptic pencil on a dog:

  • Dip the end of the styptic pencil in clean water or dab a drop of water on it to make it moist.
  • In a circular motion, carefully rub the styptic pencil on your dog's nail where the bleeding is.
  • The wounded blood vessels will be sealed, and the bleeding will come to a halt immediately.
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Styptic pencils are fantastic for dog nails, but you shouldn't use them for most other types of bleeding.


The most important thing to remember if your dog has enlarged nails is that the quick grows into the nail.

Remove a tiny amount of nail at an angle every week to two weeks until the nails are no longer touching the floor when your dog stands up.

It's much preferable to clip a small amount of hair each week than to try to remove too much at once.

It's also important to remember that if your dog's nails are too long, they might become discolored (here's what that implies) or infected (here's what that means).

If either of these things occurs, you should contact your veterinarian.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How do you fix a dog's nail that is too long?

If your dog's nails are too long, you can always have them trimmed by your veterinarian or groomer.
This is particularly useful for dogs who dislike having their paws touched or who are difficult to control during nail trimming.
Nail clippers or nail grinders can also be used to do at-home nail trims.

How do you know where the quick is on black nails?

Lift your dog's paw gently and gaze at the center of the unclipped nail head-on to see the quick.
The beginning of the quick of the nail is shown by a little black circle in the center of the nail.
Any nail with a circle in the center should not be clipped since you will be clipping into the quick.

How long does it take for a dog's nail quick to recede?

Carlo De Vito and Amy Ammen explain in “The Everything Puppy Book: Choosing, Raising, and Training Our Littlest Best” that after trimming the tip of your dog's nail, the quick should recede enough that you can get the nail clipped again within seven days.

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