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How to Cut Dog Nails (And How to Stop the Bleeding If You Cut Them Too Short)

Cutting your dog’s nails is not a fun job. We’ve compiled some tips here to make it a little easier on you and your dog.

How to Cut Dog Nails

You should cut your dog’s nails in a well lit room, with sharp clippers, and a firm hold on your dog’s paw.

  • Trim nails at a 45 degree angle
  • Make several smaller trims rather than one big cut
  • Trim dog’s nails weekly to shorten, every two weeks for maintenance
    • The more often you trim the nails, the shorter the quick will become

For dark nails: if you look at the nail head on after it has been trimmed and you see a small dark circle, it is time to stop.

how to cut dogs nails

How to Stop a Dog’s Nail From Bleeding

If you happen to trim your dog’s nail too short and it starts to bleed, don’t panic. These are three common household items you can use to stop your dog’s nail from bleeding:

  • Cornstarch
  • Flour
  • Baking Soda

You’ll probably know pretty quickly if you’ve cut the quick of your dog’s nail. They’ll suddenly pull their paw away from you and they might whine or yelp. Depending on the severity, the bleeding will probably start almost instantly. Again – don’t panic. It probably looks a lot worse than it is!

How to Use Cornstarch, Flour, or Baking Soda to Stop a Dog’s Nail From Bleeding

  1. Pour powder into the palm of your hand
  2. Dip the affected nail into your hand, covering it thoroughly
  3. Compress the nail with a paper towel or cloth, keeping pressure on it for a few minutes or until the bleeding stops

In rare cases, if the bleeding won’t stop on its own you may have to take your dog to the vet.

Dog Nail Clippers

There are two styles of dog nail clippers: scissor or guillotine. When choosing which style of dog nail clippers are best for you and your dog, there are a few things to consider. Size of your dog, thickness of their nail, and mobility in your hands, to name a few.

Scissor Style Nail Clippers

Scissor style dog nail clippers are better for medium to large dogs with thicker nails. The squeezable handle gives you more leverage, making it easier to get through the thick nails.

Scissor style dog nail clippers
Scissor style dog nail clippers

Guillotine Style Nail Clippers

Guillotine dog nail clippers are good for smaller dogs with thin nails. As the name suggests, a single blade comes down and cuts off the end of the nail. Guillotine clippers are easier to use for people with arthritis or limited mobility in their hands. If you have a larger dog with thicker nails but are unable to use scissor nail clippers, consider having a groomer do it for you.

Guillotine style dog nail clippers
Scissor style dog nail clippers