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Q: How do I trim my dog's nails?

June 27, 2010 | By Mary T. | 1 answer | Expired: 1527 days ago

Mary T.

Can I trim my dog’s nails at home — safely?

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HealthEditor
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Yes, you can trim a dog’s nails at home — but please get instruction first from a veterinary technician or groomer on the best way to clip a dog's claws. And get the proper clipper for your dog’s size.

The blood vessels and nerves (ouch!) inside the claws are fairly easy to see and avoid — if your dog has light-colored nails. Dark nails are a little trickier. You’ll want to nip off a bit at a time — watching for signs that you are approaching the “quick” where the blood is. Have a styptic pencil at ready to staunch any bleeding that might occur.

Unless you’re really confident and dexterous with dog nails, you will want an adjustable clipper that lets you set the depth to be cut. Heavy-duty trimmers are available for dogs with big, thick nails. If your dog still has dew claws (dew claw removal is a controversial and complicated issue we won’t address here) try to clip them, too. A second person to hold the dog — and distract him — might be helpful.

Get expert instruction the first time, then trim your dog's nails at home. Teach your dog to love nail trims by reward with food for each clip.

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