Trimming Your Dogs Nails

how to trim dog nails

I put together a quick video at the beginning of Covid that I thought could help people trim their dog’s nails at home since everything was shut down.

Proper grooming is important to keep up with for our pets and we don’t want to let their nails get too long because the quick will grow longer as well.

What we call the “quick” is the blood supply to your dog’s nail, so if we cut it we can wind up with a bloody mess all over the house! Seriously though, while this has happened to me in the past, the worst part is that it hurts your dog.

Prior to Covid, I took my dog to the vet’s office to have them trim her nails. When I realized that this was no longer an option, since her nails and quicks are long to begin with, I knew I had to find my confidence to do it myself.

Here is a link to watch that video on YouTube:

I’m lucky because Kim has light-colored toenails. Some dogs have black nails, and some dogs may have a mix of light and black nails. It is more difficult to trim the darker nails because you can’t easily see the quick. In the video, I did show examples of finding the quick on a black nail.

Training Your Dog To Accept Nail Trims

Since I train using positive reinforcement, I find this to be relatively simple. Of course, as with just about anything, the earlier you start, the easier it will be on you and your dog.

Handling their paws regularly is important, and always provide a reward for them letting you touch their paws.

Even now with Kim, I reward her with treats consistently during our nail trims. I reward her for coming to me, for sitting still, and for each nail that I trim. Over time, I hope to decrease the rewards, but for now, and especially since we moved, consistent rewards are a necessity.

The actual how-to of nail trimming

There are lots of people who like using Dremel-style nail trimmers and I’ve purchased them in the past, but I’ve not had much luck with them. They add to the training task load with the noise they make and the weird feeling your dog gets when the file is put up against their toenail. For me, this adds 2 more experiences to the counter-condition. I use regular trimmers like these:

Available on Amazon here:

The one thing I did to help ease my mind and give me confidence in the HOW of dog nail trimming was taking Dr. Buzby’s course.

I’m not an affiliate for her and I don’t make any money off of telling you this. This is just my experience and what I did to feel more confident about nail trims. I’m so glad I did.

You can find the course here:

In the course, she covers small dogs, large dogs, older dogs, puppies, light-colored nails, and dark-colored nails. It’s not cheap at $99, but I’ve saved way more in the last 18+ months since I’ve been trimming Kim’s nails at home. Plus I now have the confidence to do it on my own, which is priceless!

Do you need the course?

Not necessarily. I knew how to train my dog to let me trim her nails, but the actual trimming part had me nervous. If you’re nervous at all, even if you don’t want to take the course, you can ask your veterinarian or vet tech to show you how to do it and give you some pointers.

Do you trim your dogs nails on your own? How does it go? Are you and your dog rock stars with nail trims? Let me know in the comments .. and let me know if you have any tips you’d like to share for making nail trims easier.

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