How To Cut Dog Nails That Are Too Long And Avoid Injury


Cutting the dog’s nails is something most pet owners are afraid of. Dogs don’t like having their nails trimmed as well. A common thing with dog owners is avoiding cutting the nails until they grow too long.

Usually, the owner gives up when the dog refuses to be calm even with professional dog groomers. But sooner or later, the time comes when the nails must be trimmed. Long nails will cause pain to the dog in the long run.

I guess the time came for you, your has overgrown nails. So, how to cut dog nails that are too long? Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to cut dog and puppy nails. I will also explain how to make a dog nail’s quick recede.

Do Long Nails Hurt Dogs

Do Long Nails Hurt Dogs

Now, overgrown dog nails are not be ignored. So far the nails didn’t bother the dog, it should be fine, right? Well, no. Overgrown nails won’t cause pain to the dog at first. There won’t be any problems while the dog is walking.

The problem occurs over time. Sooner than you know your dog will have deformed feet. The long nails won’t allow the dog to walk properly. They reduce traction. So, when the dog walks weirdly, deformities occur.

What’s even worse is that the tendons get damaged when the dog walks like that for a long time. And that’s when the dog will start experiencing pain. That’s why veterinarians seriously recommend nail trimming. A good vet will tell you that you are due for trimming when you come for a visit.

So, don’t ever let the dog’s nails grow too long. If that happens, you need to act quickly, before the dogs nails become a problem. [ Source ]

How To Tell If Your Dog Has Overgrown Nails

Sharp nails should not be mistaken for overgrown nails. Some dog breeds just have sharp nails. So, before you do anything, you need to be absolutely sure that the nails are too long. Otherwise, you may cut the quick. Here’s how to recognize an overgrown dog nail.

Long nails will not necessarily be sharp but they break easily. When a nail is too long, it’s not strong anymore, so it breaks. Another sign of long nails is when the dog walks awkwardly like it’s stepping on eggs. 

Did your dog start avoiding staircases and surfaces that are hard and slippery like your kitchen floor? If so, it’s afraid to step on surfaces like that because it doesn’t have enough traction. Overgrown nails will also start to bleed because the quick is too long too. 

Check your dog’s nails for any of these signs.

What Do You Do If Your Dogs Nails Get Too Long

What Do You Do If Your Dogs Nails Get Too Long

What you shouldn’t do is immediately cut the dog’s nails after you see that they are too long. The problem with overgrown nails is the quick. When the nails are too long, the quick overgrows as well.

If you don’t know what the quick is, it’s a part of the nail. The quick supplies blood. When it’s the quick is cut, blood will start flowing. The injury needs treatment, and it will get worse without it.

That’s why trimming before the quick recedes is a bad idea. So, cutting the nail immediately is not a good idea. First, you need to recede the quick. Let’s explain how to cut dog nails, then we will explain how to recede the quick. [ Source ]

How To Clip Dog Nails

When it comes to clipping dog nails, you can either do it yourself or you can take your dog to a groomer. My first recommendation is always to go to a professional dog groomer.

However, some dogs don’t like to be touched on the nails. They get especially scared when in a groomer shop. I think most of you found this out on your first trimming try. Because it’s so hard to find a groomer that will be patient enough to spend a whole day on the dog, you will need to do this yourself.

Clipping your dog nails requires you to get familiar with the parts of the nails and the clipping technique.

Dog Nail Anatomy

Clipping Dog Nails

  1. Prepare treats for your dog and a comfortable environment. 
    This is actually the hardest step to do. Dogs that are afraid of clipping won’t let you come anywhere near with the nail clipper. You need to be patient here. Reward your dog with many treats, don’t force it too much. Get the dog used to the clipper first, then calm it down so it won’t pull with the leg. The preferred way to do this is with 2 people. [ Source ]
  2. Get good dog nail clippers
    Just don’t use cheap ones. You will have a hard time trimming the nails and your dog will not stay calm.
  3. Grab the paw close enough so you can see the nails clearly. 
    Make sure that you aren’t forcing the dog’s leg. If the dog isn’t calm enough, don’t proceed.
  4. Find the nail quick. 
    I recommend using a light with this, so you can see the quick clearly. Locating the quick is easy enough to do if your dog has lighter nails. On light-colored nails, the quick can be seen as a dark pink part of the nail. Usually located right before the nail is tipped. If your dog has dark nails though, locating the quick is not that easy. You will have to slightly cut the nails first with darker nails.
  5. Cut dark nails bit by bit. 
    To locate the quick, you will have to start with very small clippings of the nail. Go small and slow. Once you cut enough of the nail, you will see the dark pink quick blood flow.
  6. Trim the tip of the nail at a 45-degree angle. 
    Look at the video above for a drawing of the angle you should cut at. You should cut the nail in a smooth stable manner. Take your time, make sure your hand is balanced, and cut the nail at the correct angle in one quick motion. Make sure to reward your doggo.
[Related Article: Is Castor Oil Safe For Dogs Or Dangerous For Them]

How To Stop Bleeding If You Cut Dog Nail Quick

If you are not experienced with nail trimming, you may cut the quick. It happens, even to pet parents that have been doing nail trimming for a while. Of course, your doggo will feel pain for a while but it’s nothing serious.

You just have to make sure that you treat the wound quickly, so the dog doesn’t get a nail infection. Here’s what do to if you cut the quick.

  1. Use styptic powder to stop the bleeding. 
  2. Calm your dog down. 
    I’m sure the dog will be very disturbed so you need to calm it down quickly. Use treats or any other method that calms your doggo down.

Consider continuing another day so you start fresh, the dog will be calmer like that. Or, visit a dog groomer.

[Related Article: How To Restrain A Dog While Grooming Regardless Of Size]

How To Recede A Dogs Quick

When dog nails grow too long, the quick grows too. This can also happen if the nails were trimmed at the wrong angle. You won’t be able to trim overgrown nails in one session. The nails will be long because you can’t cut the quick.

An overgrown quick can also lead to more serious issues with the nail bed. It may cause nail bleeding. That’s why you should never let the dog nails get too long, nail bed issues and deformations may occur.

So, to recede the dogs quickly you will have to trim regularly at the correct angle. Bit by bit, the quick will shorten on its own as the dog uses its paw. You can also use a nail grinder if you are skilled enough. Or, ask a dog groomer to do that. 

To conclude, if your dog has overgrown nails, you will need to shorten the quick. Do regular trimmings at the correct angle until the quick recedes. A good tip is to walk your dog more. A dog that digs regularly doesn’t even need trimming. Abrasion does its job.

How To Cut Puppy Nails

How To Cut Puppy Nails

Cutting a puppy’s nails is pretty much the same as cutting an adult dog’s nails. It’s just that their nails are so small, you have to be really careful and precise.

A puppy’s nails can be trimmed after 6 weeks of age. Puppies don’t exactly need trimming but it’s a good way to get them used to the routine. It’s not bad to trim the puppy’s nails as well.

Here’s how to do it.

  1. Prepare treats and a safe environment. 
    Make sure the puppy is comfortable, get another person to help you.
  2. Locate the nail tip. 
    Again, puppies have small nails. So, you just have to trim a small piece of the tip. Locate the quick, it should be dark. The tip should have a light color. Don’t cut the whole tip, leave a bit of light-colored bits left. Just to be safe.
  3. Cut the tip at a 45-degree angle. 
    It’s the same process again. It’s just that you have to be really careful here. My advice is, just don’t cut the whole light-colored bits of the tip. If you exceed the light color, you reach the quick. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
[Related Article: How To Cut An Uncooperative Dog’s Nails]

Related Questions And Other FAQs

What To Do If Your Dog Won’t Let You Trim Their Nails

You can either train your dog at home or visit a vet or a dog groomer. Professionals should be able to calm down the dog so they can trim the nails. In extreme cases where even the experts can’t do it, you have to train the dog. Do the trimming at home, make your dog comfortable. Have patience, step-by-step, introduce your dog to the clippers, reward with a lot of treats.

Do Dogs Feel Pain When You Cut Their Nails

Cutting the tip of the nail without cutting the quick should not cause any pain for a dog. A dog feels pain when the blood vessels inside the quick are damaged. This can also result in a nail infection as well.

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