How to clip nails

Clipping of nails, with some exceptions, is a horror for every single dog owner, since dogs themselves certainly do not like it either. Not clipping, however, might mean serious problems in the future.

Nails clipping is an activity that needs to be done with dogs, which cannot grind their nails in a natural way, i.e. small breeds or dogs that spend most of their time on a smooth surface (carpet, lawn). Overgrown nails may spoil posture (refute the dog's ankles) they can also turn and break painfully.

Frequency of nails clipping is an individual matter – some dogs need it every month, others twice in a year or just in the spring. The more the nail is overgrown, the less you can shorten it, since the nerve and blood vessel grow into the tip of it. With a lot of overgrown nail it is therefore common to easily clip into the “flesh”. What follows is an unpleasant bleeding. Nevertheless, it can sometimes be the only way to get the nails into a bearable length.

To clip the nails you need to use special clippers, which you can buy in a dog salon or in a veterinary office – there you can be sure that they will be of fine quality and sharp clip.

First you need to shorten the middle nail on the front leg. If it is not bleeding, you can shorten the second medium to the same length. Outer nails can be slightly less shortened. Do not forget about the inner upper nail. Nails on hind legs grind more, therefore you should clip them less than those on front legs.

Again, we start in the middle and you should trim only the tip. Quite often you will realize that you do not have to clip nails on hind legs at all.

And what should you do if you clip a nail and bleeding appears? If blood drips slowly, it is OK, the bleeding will stop in a few minutes without any interference. If you were “skillful” and the blood flows, put a gauze on the nail and press it firmly. Hold it for about 3minutes and then check the bleeding. If it still tends to bleed, press it again. Do not panic, the dog cannot bleed to death from a trimmed nail.


Trim the nails more often, this way you can clip only small pieces and the risk of clipping into blood is smaller.

If you are lucky and you have a dog with white nails, the clipping is so much easier. With good light you can look at the nail and see its pink inside. You must not clip into it. Most of the dogs, however, have dark nails and you clip at random. In this case it is better to clip at times and stop once there is a pinhole in the middle of the cutting surface.

Do not clip straight, but slightly askew (longer side at the top, shorter underneath the nails). The nail then lies nicely on the surface and grinds evenly.

Do not start clipping without a helper that would hold the dog still – in the arms or on the table. Do not be hasty, do not clip until the leg is at rest.

If the dog does not want to let you clip its nails, seek the help of professionals - dog salon, veterinary office. Do not let the nails to overgrow, since you will have to trim them sooner or later anyway. And it will be painful.

Movement on a rough surface naturally grinds the nails. Walks on asphalted surfaces slow down potential nail overgrow. This method is preferable to clipping in the case of huge dogs.


© This article was taken from website and its publication is subject to prior written approval of Mrs MVDr. Renata Popelářová.

!!! Further distribution of this article is possible only with the consent of Mrs MVDr. Renata Popelářová!!!

Hereby I would like to thank Mrs MVDr. Renata Popelářová for the consent to the publication of her article.

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