If you want to cut your dog’s nails, you need a nail clipper and the knowledge of how short to cut the nails and how to stop bleeding.

If you have a new dog and get into a conversation with other dog owners, then the question often arises: “Do you have to cut dog nails?”

If so, what is important and which nail clippers are the best? And what should you do if you injure your dog while cutting his nails? In the following article, you will find answers to these questions and helpful tips about nail cutting in dogs.

Dog nail clipping – yes or no?

Dog nails grow for a lifetime. Whether and how often the nails have to be cut depends very much on the dog’s attitude towards the procedure of nail cutting. But also the growth speed of the dog nails plays a role and is different from dog to dog.

How to Trim Dog Nails That are Overgrown 02

Dogs that walk a lot on asphalt and rough ground usually rub their nails sufficiently on their own. The nails then never or only very rarely have to be cut.

In contrast, the dog nails of dogs that either walk very little or are mainly on soft ground such as in the forest or park, become very long and then have to be shortened accordingly.

How often to trim dog nails

There is a simple answer to the question when dog nails should be cut: If you hear the dog running over the floor of the room, the nails are too long, which can be painful when running and can even lead to disorders of the locomotor system. On closer inspection, the dog’s nails should end just above the ground or touch it only minimally – then the nail length fits.

Don’t forget the fifth toe and the wolf claw

In addition to the nails touching the ground, the fifth toe on the forelegs must not be forgotten. This is located on the inside of the forelegs a little above the paws and should be controlled when cutting the nails, as it can grow in occasionally and then lead to inflammation. Some dogs also have a wolf claw on both hind legs, which is about the same height as the fifth toe of the front leg and should also be controlled.

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Preparation in puppy age

Ideally, you should start preparing for nail clipping at puppy age. Playfully, with a lot of patience and treats you can make the puppy familiar with the nail trimmer and encourage him to voluntarily give his paw.

How to Trim Dog Nails That are Overgrown

If the dog gets to know these procedures already as a puppy, the nail cutting later (if at all necessary) does not degenerate into a stress situation for the dog.

The right instrument for nail cutting

If you want to cut the dog’s nails, you need a nail clipper or nail trimmer. These special clippers and trimmers exert even pressure on the nail and cutting off the tip of the nail are very easy. Nail clippers made for humans should not be used as they squeeze the nail, which is very uncomfortable for the dog. Do not cut the dog’s nails with human nail scissors as this will also squeeze the nails.


Boshel Dog Nail Clipper

Hertzko Electric Pet Nail Grinder


SAFARI Pet Nail Trimmer

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Filing instead of cutting is then possible if the claw horn must be shortened only minimally. Special nail grinders and files for this purpose are available in specialist shops.

Costs for professionally dog nail trimming

Before you dare to cut your dog’s nails yourself, go to a veterinarian or a dog salon and let you show the right technique. Of course, the question arises what are the costs for cutting the dog nails in a dog salon or at a vet.

The costs vary and lie in a dog salon usually between five and ten Dollars. Often different services are offered here in a total package, which contains the nail cutting already free of charge.

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Instruction: Trimming dog nails correctly

Once you have let yourself be shown how to cut your nails and dare to do it yourself in the future, the following factors are decisive for successful work:

  • a cooperative dog
  • the right nail trimmer
  • good lighting conditions
  • a calm hand of the dog owner

The dog should be calm and relaxed when cutting the nails, which is why it is a good time to do this, for example after eating or after a walk.

How to Trim Dog Nails That are Overgrown

Now take one paw of the dog in one hand, leaving the area between the individual bales free, as many dogs are ticklish there.

With the other hand, you grab the nail clipper and shorten one nail after the other.

How far can dog nails be cut?

Dog’s nails are well supplied with blood, which is why “How short can one cut?” is a very important question about cutting dogs` nails. In case of light nails, you can see the part with blood circulation shining through pink, which makes cutting nails much easier, because a distance of at least one millimeter must be kept between the nail and the part with blood circulation. Further, the dog nail may not be shortened, because otherwise, it comes to bleeding.

How to trim dogs black nails

It is much more difficult to shorten dark nails because you can’t see the part with blood circulation through it. You can use a small torch for this purpose. With the flashlight, the individual dark nails can be X-rayed to determine how far the nail can be cut. But the trick with the flashlight doesn’t work with all dark nails either.

If you are unsure, then you should rather leave the nail clipping to an expert.

Dog Nail Trimming Bleeding

If, however, the blood vessels are injured during nail cutting and the dog then bleeds, it is important to keep calm. Even the best and most experienced people sometimes injure their dog when they cut their nails.

The first goal is then to stop the bleeding. This already works with a piece of gauze bandage or cloth, which is pressed firmly onto the affected nail.

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Alternatively, the injured nail can also be pressed into a piece of soap or powdered with styptic powder.

Normally the bleeding stops by itself after a few minutes. If the nail still bleeds after half an hour despite the above measures, then a veterinarian should absolutely be consulted. Control of the nails during the nail clipping. During the nail cutting, one has the possibility to examine the entire paw of the dog and can control whether nails are fragile or already break off.

In individual cases this is unproblematic, but with a frequent occurrence, you should possibly consult a veterinarian.

If one discovers an inflammation between the nails, then the dog should also be brought to a veterinarian. The vet can supply the paw accordingly and prevent that the inflammation spreads still further.

Aggressive dog nail trimming

Not all dogs like nail cutting and sometimes even the best training does not help. If a dog becomes aggressive when cutting its nails or if the dog bites, you should stop immediately and not endanger yourself unnecessarily.

Such a situation also means stress for the dog, which is why the best solution for everyone involved is to visit a veterinarian.

The vet can possibly cut the nails, even if the dog resists or screams. If this is also not possible or too stressful for the dog, the veterinarian can sedate the dog, give him a sedative injection, and then shorten the nails stress-free.

Cutting the nails of an old dog can be problematic if the dog has not learned cutting nails as a puppy. If such a dog does not know how to cut his nails or has even had bad experiences with it, then the best solution is to go to a vet.


Hope the article about how to trim dog nails that are overgrown is helpful for you. Don’t forget to share your feedback with us in the comments section below.


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