Finding The Courage To Cut Your Dog’s Nails!

Finding The Courage To Cut Your Dog’s Nails!


Most people who have cut their dog’s nails before have probably hit the quick at least one time. It can be a traumatizing experience for dog and owner. Today we’ll look at what the quick is, tips to avoid it (especially with black and brown nails) and how to stop the bleeding.

How to Cut Your Dog's Nails.

The quick on a dog’s nail runs through the core of the nail and supplies it with blood. If accidentally cut this will cause bleeding and discomfort to the dog. The quick can go pretty far out in the nail if they aren’t cut regularly which in turn can cause your dog’s nails to be too long. The good news is that with regular trimming the quick recedes. If your dog has a long quick, cut a little bit off the nails every 3 or 4 days until the nails are where you want them (If your dog’s nails are clicking against the  floors, they need to be trimmed. Also if you hold up their paw and the nail is curving towards it.)

Get prepared:

Dog treats

Nail clippers or grinder (dremel)

Styptic powder, flour, baking soda or corn starch in case you cut the quick.

Patience! Don't cut your dog's nails if you are upset or in a hurry. This needs to be a pleasant experience for you and your dog. 


Now to the fun part. Black and brown nails. It doesn’t matter how bright you make the light you will not be able to see the quick on the black nails for sure and with the brown, I was still squinting. When you are cutting or grinding dark colored nails remember this rule. The pulp is right before the quick. If you cut a little piece of the nail you should see a white circle. This is not the pulp. Keep doing this a little bit at a time until you see the pulp which is dark colored. You will be able to see that it is circular. When you see this stop.

  • You are ok if you’re seeing white.
  • Once you start seeing black, proceed cautiously!
  • Once you see mostly black, stop.

 NOTE: Before cutting your dog’s nails you should always have something on hand in case you do cut the quick. Some things you could use are probably in your kitchen. Flour, baking soda or cornstarch can all be used to stop the bleeding.

  • Pour some in your hand
  • Softly dip your dog’s nail into the powder.
  • If the bleeding hasn’t stopped dip their nail again.
  • Then press (gently!) the nail with a towel or cloth for a few minutes until the bleeding stops all the way.
  • Another thing to use is styptic powder. This contains Benzocaine and ferric subsulfate which help anesthetize the pain and stop the bleeding.

 Give your dog lots of treats at first so he can start to associate having his nails cut with a good feeling. You can slowly phase the treats out. I always give mine one at the end. Take your time, watch lots of videos and go for it!

1 comment

  • cora paolillo

    Thank you!

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