Clipping and Filing Your Dog’s Nails


 Lately a lot of attention has been fous on the proper care and maintenance of dog’s nails. This is with good reason, overgrown nails can cause joint issues and even deform your dog’s feet. Proper care is essential to maintaining your dog’s health and well-being. There are two main ways to care for your dog’s nails: clipping, and filing.

Clipping Your Dog’s Nails 

There is some basic dog anatomy to cover when discussing nail care. The most important to know is the Quick. This is the blood vessel and nerve bundle inside each nail. Most owners dread hitting the quick and cause their dog’s nail to bleed, but this can be avoided quite easily if you follow the proper steps.

Above is a diagram of the nail and the angle to cut the quick at. The biggest mistake most people make is taking off too much at once. This is easily remedied by just taking off a bit at a time. If your dog has clear nails this is very easy to do because you can clearly see the quick, so you don’t cut it. The dreaded black nail is a different story. The trick to the black nails is taking a bit off at a time and looking at the center of the nail after each cut. When you start to get close to the quick you will see a little black dot in the center of the nail. This is the quick so you can stop cutting as soon as you see it. Taking these steps it is quite easy to clip you dog’s nails (assuming of course that they let you). But accidents do happen from time to time, and there are several ways to stop the bleeding if you do quick your dog. The first is to use Kwik Stop or another commercially available styptic powder. If you don’t have this on hand, you can also use powdered sugar or cornstarch. Powder sugar stops the bleeding while drawing out any possible contaminants from the area and helps it to help faster while cornstarch only stops the bleeding. Either way, you’re able to stop any bleeding and your dog will only feel uncomfortable for a moment. The main problem with clipping nails is that is leaves the nail sharp and jagged, ready to scratch up your skin or hard wood floors. This is where filing or dremeling comes in.

Filing Your Dog’s Nails


This has become a popular option for many people when maintaining their dogs nails. I do not recommend this as the sole method to doing your dogs nails as it usually will not take enough off, but it is a great way to finish them. Whether you have a PediPaws or a Rotary dremel, the way you use it remains the same. Place the tools gently on top of the nail, slowly rock the tool up and down moving across the nail. Do this 2 or 3 times, t hem check the nail, if you’ve pre-clipped the nail this should be enough to smooth it down and it will already be short enough. If you are doing this as the sole way of shortening your dog’s nails you will need to do this several times, checking the nail often for the black (or pink for light-colored nails) dot in the center.


If you have any questions feel free to e-mail me. Good luck and have fun!



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