Dog nail trimming at home: how to do it to make it perfect?

Buzgó Csilla

2020. June 29 - Photos: Getty Images Hungary

Many people are afraid to get involved in their dog's nail care routine, but if you are aware of some basic information, the procedure will not be so scary.


Canines living in the wild manage to burnish their claws on their own by digging, moving, run ground, and other maintenance activities. However, our domesticated pets are often not active enough for this physiologically vital process to take place, which is why we need to provide them with regular support in this area.

What to look out for?

The most frightening factor about claw trimming is that, unfortunately, it is very difficult for dog owners with little or no practice to determine the exact location of the cut. If we cut too much from the claw at once, the sensitive, living nail bed starts to bleed, causing great pain to the four-legged friend.

The circular border is clearly visible, do not cut the claw shorter than this!

The problem is compounded by the fact that in a nail which has been neglected for a long time, the nail bed continues to grow together with the nail, and in this condition we can only gradually correct the discrepancy by cutting or filing tiny pieces. The good news, however, is that as the nail get shorter and shorter, the overhanging living part recedes, so it is absolutely worth spending time and energy on its care.

How to get started?

Get a good quality so-called guillotine trimmer or maybe an electric roller file. You will need a file anyway, in one form or another, since the edges of the cut should be finely polished with this tool.

It’s also a good idea to prepare disinfectant, hemostatic powder and wipes, in case you prove to be clumsy and cut into the living part – unfortunately, it can bleed a lot.

Claws can be cut on a dog standing or lying down, depending on which he prefers.

Procedure for claw cutting and filing

  1. Grasp the paw of the animal so that its fingers are slightly spread apart. Like this the claws are more accessible.
  2. In the case of white or translucent nails, the pink nail bed is clearly visible, and it is relatively easy to shorten them properly. However, when cutting a black nail, you can determine when you are done cutting by biting only small pieces.
  3. Hold the scissors at a 45 degree angle and start clipping the excess length from the claws. For a black claw, proceed until you notice a surprisingly regular white circle with a black dot in the middle of the claw. Do not continue cutting at this point, otherwise you may cause injury!
  4. You can refine the now short dog nails with a file.

Dog groomer Krisztina Demeter shows how to take care of your dog’s claws at home.

Declawing is a scary and stressful undertaking for many dogs, especially if they have previously experienced pain or abuse during the activity. So be patient and get your pet used to the grooming process with a lot of petting and snacks!

care claw cut nail clipping nails

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