How To Use Dog Nail Clippers

What You’ll Need

Nail trimming is essential for your dog and a main part of their grooming. To start, you will need dog clippers that are right for your dog, which you can find below if you do not own any yet. It is also advised to have some sort of treat or reward for your dog, to calm him or her and let them associate nail clipping with something positive, which will make the experience much easier in future. A flashlight can also help, as it will let you view the quick inside the dog’s nail easier, especially if the nails are from a darker breed.

What You Should Do Before Trimming The Nails

It is best to start trimming your dog’s nails when they’re a puppy, as it will get them used to having their paws touched which some dogs do not like and have sensitive feet. However, if your dog is not a puppy, you can still start, just make sure you’re slow and patient and reward them for progress. Sometimes it is also a good idea to tire your dog out with a run or exercise before trimming, as they may feel more calm after, and always have help if you need.

Different Types Of Dog Nail Clippers

Scissor/Plier Style

These nail clippers are more like actual scissors as they have a blade to cut with and plier-like handles. They have a spring near the blade which allows strength and control, and these clippers can be a better choice, especially for larger breeds of dog. We currently sell a Mikki Nail Clipper in two sizes which is designed with a safety stop, ensuring you do not cut off too much nail. It also features a safety lock that allows secure storage.

Guillotine Style

Guillotine clippers usually have a circular small opening for the dog’s nail to sit in, and the blade then cuts through when the user squeezes the handles, like a guillotine. These nail clippers can be used for pups of all sizes however it may be a struggle to use with bigger dogs.

Grinder Style

Dog nail grinders are a rotary tool, like an automatic nail file, so they don’t actually clip the dog’s nails. They will grind down the nail with a barrel, like sandpaper, to get the required length. Grinders can be used on dogs of all sizes, however they may require a lot more patience and the dogs may need to get used to them longer due to the noise of the tool and the vibrations caused on the paw. 

How to Trim Your Dog’s Nails

  1. Firstly, you will need to hold the dog’s toe with a firm grip but not too hard, make sure it is gentle. You will then need to take your clipper of choice and hold it at a slight angle so it follows the curve of the dog’s nail. Try cutting a small bit of nail at the beginning to make sure you’re doing it right.
  1. As you keep trimming with small snips, make sure you stop when you see the beginning of a nail-coloured circle, which you should not pass. The quick, which is the pink tissue in the center of the nail, should never be cut. Dogs’ nails are supplied with blood, so an accidental clip in the wrong spot could lead to pain. Dogs with light or clear coloured nails are easier to clip than dogs with dark nails, but if you use a flashlight, it will help you see the blood supply easier. The ideal cutting range ends right before the blood supply, and you should try and always cut parallel to the bottom.
  1. Make sure to reward your pup throughout and keep them in a relaxed position, and once you’re done cutting, you can soften the skin around the nails with some paw balsam. If you accidentally cause the dog’s toenail to bleed, you can pour a small amount of styptic powder on your finger and press it into the nail tip. Make sure the powder sticks with a little bit of pressure applied to the area.

Safety Tips for Clipping a Dog’s Nails

Start early! You should aim to start introducing your puppy to nail clipping to get used to it from a young age, which will make it a breeze later on, and more of a positive experience for your pup.

Frequency is key! Frequently clipping your dog’s nails will help your dog get used to the experience more, allowing you to cut the nails more smoothly. Also, the longer you wait to cut your dog’s nails, the longer the quick grows back, making it harder to cut.

Make the atmosphere right! Finding a quiet area where your dog can be comfortable and away from distractions will help, as well as being given treats often so they know it is a rewarding experience. Just make sure you are listening to your dog, if your dog is fighting you may be applying too much pressure or pushing too hard.

Styptic powder! Make sure to always have some styptic powder on hand in case any accidents happen, if your dog’s toenails bleeds just apply some powder to the area as it is an antiseptic clotting agent that can stop the bleeding quickly.