Should I soak my dogs nails before cutting? A Complete Guide


Accidents are inevitable, and sometimes you might end up cutting the dog and cause some bleeding. If you realize the nail’s quick is bleeding, do not panic. Put some pressure on the tip of the nail. You can also dip the nail in Styptic powder.

Another alternative would be placing ice cubes on the wounded area.

When using over-the-counter drugs to sedate dogs to trim nails, seek advice from a vet. Consult with your vet to determine the correct dosage.

When clipping the nails, have patience, and do it slowly so you won’t hurt the pup. Watch for two dark dots when you reach the middle of the nail when trimming. These two dots are where the quick starts.

What is the safest way to trim dog nails?

Clip only the tip of the nail, straight across. Include the dewclaws, located on the inner side of the paw. Avoid clipping past the curve of the nail or you risk hitting what is called the quick (the pink area of the nail that contains the blood vessels). A nick there is painful and will bleed.

Dog Nail Trimming Tools to Use

Your main tools for nail trimming will be:

Both groomers we spoke with preferred the Dremel or a dog nail grinder instead of clippers. Although you can use clippers if you prefer.

“First of all, you cant grind [the nails] too short,” Oliver says of her preference for the Dremel. “If you grind them too short, the nail gets hot. You will eventually make it bleed, but it will be instantly cauterized.”

Oliver also praised dog nail grinders because it’s easier to go slow using that tool. “The dog won’t put up with the burning. They usually pull back and stop. You can grind a little. Look at it. Grind a little, look at it,” Oliver says.

One thing to be careful of when using a Dremel is to avoid getting your dog’s hair caught up in the bit or the tool. But there’s an easy solution: Try placing pantyhose over the paws to hold fur out of the way. The dog nail grinder will grind right through the nylon and leave your dog’s hair untouched.

You also can use an emery board to shorten the nail. But Oliver cautions that this method is time-consuming. “It’s just going to take you a whole lot longer,” she says.

If you’re using clippers, Oliver advises trimming slowly. Trim a little bit at a time, and then back off. Easton tells us that you’ll want to ensure you’re using clippers that are the appropriate size for your pet. So use small ones if you have a smaller dog. And bigger ones if you have a larger dog.

“Just make sure that theyre sharp and in good shape. Because if theyre dull, they just pinch the nail, and it hurts,” Easton says.

Dog Nail Clipping Doesn’t Have To Be STRESSFUL…

The most common reasons for avoiding nail trims are that the owner is afraid of “quicking” the dog, or that the dog fusses and creates bad feelings around the procedure.

Nail cutting becomes an event surrounded by angst and drama. For very active dogs who run all day long on varied surfaces, cutting nails may not be necessary. High mileage wears them down naturally.

But among city or suburban dogs who are lucky to get a mile or two walk daily, excessively long toenails are more common than not.

The first consequence of long toenails is painful feet. When a dog’s toenails contact hard ground, like a sidewalk or your kitchen floor, the hard surface pushes the nail back up into the nail bed. This either puts pressure on all the toe joints or forces the toe to twist to the side.

Either way, those toes become very sore, even arthritic. When the slightest touch is painful to your dog, he will fuss when you pick up his paw to cut nails.

The second consequence of long toenails is more serious. All animals rely on information from nerves in their feet to move through the world and process gravity accurately.

For millions of years, wild dogs have run long distances while hunting and worn their nails short. The only time their toenails would touch the ground was when climbing a hill.

So a dog’s brain is evolutionarily programmed to associate toenail contact with being on a hill, and he shifts his body posture accordingly: leaning forward over his forelimbs, up the imaginary hill as reported by his toes.

Since the hill is not real, a secondary compensation with his hind limbs is necessary to avoid a face plant.

This abnormal compensatory posture can be called “goat on a rock” because it brings his paws closer together under his body. Normal neutral posture is a nice show dog “stack,” with vertical legs like a table.

Recent research shows that standing with limbs “camped-in” is hard work to maintain. These goat-on-a-rock dogs get over-used muscles and eventually over-used joints, especially in their hind limbs, making it difficult to jump in cars, climb stairs and even hard to get up from lying down. Sounds like a lot of older dogs we know!

Cutting toenails short can be like a miracle cure for your dog whose hind end has become painful, weak and over-used.

Use a pair of blunt edged children’s scissors to remove excess toe hair: nothing dulls clippers quicker than cutting hair!

Remember, no dog ever died from a quicked toenail. If you “quick” your dog accidentally, give a yummy treat right away.

Once the insensitive nail is thinned out and isn’t supporting the quick, the quick will dry up and recede. This will allow you to cut your dog’s nails even shorter. Each dog’s nails are different, but very long toenails often become dry and cracked, with a clear separation of the living tissue and the insensitive nail. This will make it easier to trim back longer nails.