Overall Nail Care – Trimming Your Dogs Nails

Maintaining and trimming your dogs nails will benefit their overall health!  Long, overgrown nails can become uncomfortable or even infected, causing numerous health problems.  Ingrown, broken, or split nails will make running and walking painful and difficult and can have long lasting negative effects on bones and joints.  The longer your pet’s nails grow, the longer the quick ( the vein inside of the nail ) will grow too, making it more difficult to trim the nails without cutting the quick.  You should be trimming your dogs nails every 3-6 weeks depending on their activity level and weather they walk on concrete or only on carpet.

Trimming your dogs nails

If you are unsure about how to trim your dogs nails, our groomers will be happy to show you.  Clear nails tend to show the quick as a
pink spot inside of the nail.  Black nails are a little more difficult to trim safely and may need a more experienced eye.   Always have styptic powder on hand to stop any bleeding if you are going to trim your dogs nails yourself.  If styptic powder is unavailable, simple black table pepper, cornstarch, or flour.

Filing Your Dogs Nails

Filing or grinding your dogs nails is a great way to keep the quick short while rounding off those sharp edges created by trimming your dogs nails alone.  This process is relatively quick and painless, though it can tickle a little.  If you have hardwood floors or small children, filing your dogs nails is a must!  No more damaging scratch marks!  When filing the nails at home, be aware that the friction of every type of grinder, even those sold specifically for use on pets can heat the inside of the nail, possibly burning the quick and causing pain to your pet.  This is easily avoided by gently holding the grinder to each nail for only about 3 seconds to round the edges.  Make sure to change out the sandpaper heads often and always trim long nails before grinding to ensure the shortest, smoothest nails possible without causing harm to your pet.

Types of Grinders and Nail Clippers

There are different tools to choose from when selecting products for grinding and trimming your dog’s nails.  It can be confusing and frustrating to the average pet parent trying to find the perfect items to get the job done.  They can range greatly in quality and durability, but are all relatively inexpensive.  Here are some of the options for you to choose from:


  • We’ve all seen the “as seen on TV” grinders.  These are not only flimsy, but the product is misleading.  It offers a small hole to place each one of your dog’s toenails inside then grinds away.  The problem with that is the grinding head is huge compared to other, more durable grinders and is more uncomfortable to your pet.  Also, they get much hotter on the nail because you have to hold it to the sandpaper longer.
  • Battery powered Dremmel grinding tools are an excellent choice for pet parents that are new to grinding their dog’s nails.  They are lightweight, durable, safe tools for beginners.  Most of the battery powered Dremmels have a safety feature that shuts off the tool if hair gets caught in the rotating mechanism.  Sometimes long haired dogs get their tails too close and hair can get wrapped around the tool.  This grinding tool typically has two settings, low and high, and is the safest option out there.
  • Electric Dremmel grinders are also a great choice, but for more experienced pet parents or for use on dogs with short hair.  This grinder does not have the safety feature that the battery powered version does so you must be careful when using on long haired dogs.  The obvious advantage with this tool is that it’s always ready to go because you just plug it in anywhere.  There’s no waiting for batteries to charge.  This grinding tool typically has multiple settings, but should always be used on the lowest setting possible to grind the nails without overheating and causing the pet discomfort.

Nail Clippers

  • Puppy, kitten, and cat nail clippers are the smallest nail clippers out there.  They are for soft, small nails like those found on puppies, kittens, and even adult cats.  These nail clippers look like small scissors and come in a variety of colors.  If you’re training your puppy or kitten to have their nails trimmed, you should start with these while they are very young.
  • Small nail clippers are great for slightly older puppies and small to medium adult dogs.  They can handle harder nails that our adult pets have and are typically pretty durable.  These come in the scissor style and the guillotine style that has a hole to poke the nail through before cutting.
  • Large nail clippers are perfect for our largest of breeds, young and old.  They can handle any size or density of nail on any dog and are very durable.  They come in scissor style and guillotine style.

When trimming your dog’s nails, ALWAYS avoid products that seem too good to be true.  As seen on TV items are almost always flimsy and a waste of money.  I have personally used this product and would never recommend it to anyone I know.  Also, there are nail clippers out there that claim to be able to tell if you are about to cut the quick of the nail.  Guess what, they don’t work either.  The safest bet is to go with a groomer or vet recommended product.

Of course, if you would feel safer having one of our trained professionals trim or file your dog’s nails for you we would be more than happy to do so.  Add this to any package as one of our Extra Services or as a stand alone service.  Contact us to set up an appointment today!


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