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Dog Nail Clipping-PAWSIBLE TAILS (TALES) Dog Trivia, Dog Care, and Training tips!

Updated on June 29, 2011

Professional Groomer

 I have been a groomer for over 14 years. I have cut countless nails, too many to count, actually. I like to think that after all of these years I am a bit of an expert on nail cutting. Yes, I have cut some nails too short and yes, they have bled but, in all of these years, no dog has EVER died from cutting a nail too short.

So, read the following directions and go for it. In the long run your dog will be better off with their nails cut to the appropriate length.

Where is the Quick in the Nail??

Cutting Your Dog's Nails....

If done incorrectly, it can be bloody, messy, and stressful for everyone.

So to begin, first and foremost, it is a good idea to get your dog used to you touching his/her feet and getting his/her toes manicured. This is best done when the dog is young, so you can build trust. Always speak in a calm voice and give a reward when you are done.

Second, It is best to clip nails where there is a lot of light!!

To begin, separate the nail you are beginning with (with your fingers) from the rest of the "pack." When you are looking at the nail from underneath, you will notice a groove that runs along the nail from the tip to where it disappears into the paw and pad. Near the tip you will notice that it is grooved the deepest, creating an almost empty hollow. For safety sake, and to avoid the emergence of a stream of blood (although harmless), just clip the tip off. The quick is nonexistent in the deeply grooved part of the nail.

A couple things:

1. A dog will not bleed to death when you cut the nail too short. It looks bad, but relax, it will stop.

Can a dog bleed to death??:

"Only if the dog has a bleeding disorder like vonWillebrand's disease. Normal dogs will stop bleeding on their own.
It is not the end of the world if the nail gets cut too short. Even the professionals (groomers and vets) cut them too short fairly often."

Some homemade hints to stop the bleeding:

* Cover the bleeding nail area with a napkin or clean, soft cloth to stop the blood from getting everywhere. Get a small bowl. Fill it with flour, baking soda or corn starch. Remove the napkin then dip your dog's bleeding toe into the bowl. Hold it for a few seconds. Take it out. The bleeding should stop.

*Compress the wound with a paper towel and apply pressure. Rather than squeezing the paw, apply pressure on the wound toward the paw.

*Apply ice to the area over the paper towel or rag. Make sure your dog is comfortable during this time because it could take a while to stop the bleeding entirely.

*Dip your dog's nail in a tablespoon of Styptic Powder. This is a type of antiseptic that contracts the blood vessel back up into the claw.

2. Another HINT: If the nail is white, it will be easy to see where to stop clipping -- just below where the white meets the dark part of the nail.

Taking care of your dog's nails is very important. It can affect the way they walk. If the nails are too long is can splay the feet and make it very uncomfortable as well as possibly hurtful to the dog's joints from walking incorrectly. Also, on occasion the nail can get so long it curls right in to the pad which is very painful and a possible site for future infection.

Isolate the Nail

Isolate the nail...
Isolate the nail...

The Only Nail Clippers to Use-there are many other types out there but, most are just hype. The ones below are the only brand that works all the time!

Miracle Care Kwik Stop Styptic Powder, 0.5 Oz
Miracle Care Kwik Stop Styptic Powder, 0.5 Oz

Quickly stop the bleeding with just a little dab!


Video Example of How to Cut the Nails

Another Helpful Video


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