How To Trim Dog Nails That Are Overgrown?

|7 min read

When you call your furry friend for a treat, do you ever hear your dog's nails tap along the floor? If yes, then your dog's nails are too long and overgrown.

Trimming your dog's nails is crucial for their general health and well-being. Taking care of overgrown dog nails is also essential in terms of hygiene.

Having severely overgrown nails can be uncomfortable, painful, and even dangerous for your dog.

It's essential to act fast and trim your dog's nails short as soon as you detect that they have grown out too long.

Don't know how to trim dog nails that are overgrown? We got you!

We have given below a step-by-step guide on how to trim overgrown dog nails.

Step-By-Step Guide for Safely Trimming Overgrown Dog Nails

Whether you're a new dog owner or an experienced one who grew up with dogs around, this article is for you. We will provide you with the knowledge and confidence you need to keep your dog's nails trimmed.

Following this guide and addressing the issues related to overgrown nails will help keep your pups healthy.

So, sit back and get ready to find out everything you need to know about trimming your dog's long nails.

Step 1 - Assemble the tools

Before you begin, you'll need to gather the necessary tools from your dog accessories. These include a pair of dog nail clippers, a file or grinder, styptic powder, and some treats to reward your furry friend for good behavior. 

Pro-Tip: It is essential to fuel up before getting into this task, as it can be physically draining.

Step 2 - Familiarize yourself with your dog's paw

This is an essential step if you are a new dog parent. However, it is equally important even if you have owned dogs all your life. Take a close look at your dog's nails and identify the quick.

How to identify the quick?

The "quick" is a soft cuticle that contains the blood vessels and nerves that run through your dog's nails.

The quick appears as a darker, pinkish portion on dogs with light-colored nails. Cut gradually for other dogs with dark-colored nails until you see the pink fiber.

Cutting the quick can be extremely painful for your dog and may cause a bleeding nail, so avoiding this area is essential.

Identifying the quick may be more challenging if your dog has dark nails. In this case, trim a small portion of the nail at a time. Then stop when you see a black dot in the center of the nail. This indicates that you're getting close to the quick.

Step 3 - Make your dog comfortable

If your dog is afraid of getting their nails cut, the first step is to help your furry friend overcome this fear. This may require some time, just like other desensitization training.

Let your dog investigate the dog nail clippers and trimmers. Give them a treat while they sniff the trimmer. Repeat the process till your dog is comfortable. It might take a few days for your dogs to get familiar with nail-trimming tools. The point of this whole exercise is to create a good association.

Moreover, to help your dog feel more relaxed during the process, it's essential to get them comfortable. Start by petting them and speaking in a calm, reassuring tone.

The fact of the matter is that all dogs get nervous or scared when getting their nails trimmed. Try trimming their nails in small increments over a few days or weeks to help them get used to the process.

Step 4 - Align yourself for nail trimming

The best time to cut your dog's overgrown nails is when they are comfortable and relaxed. Having another person present to hold, pet, and distract the dog is helpful.

You can hold your dog in your lap if they are smaller. Just make sure you can see their nails clearly. Only attempt to cut the nails with a good view.

Lift your dog's paw once you are in a secure posture. Keep it near their body to stop them from pulling it. Separate the nail you want to clip. You can apply pressure to the tip of the nail or paw. Then lift one of their toes from the tip of the nail to the bottom.

Step 5 - Trim or grind the nails swiftly

The next step is to consider dog nails trimming vs grinding. If you have chosen to trim nails, get into position, isolate a nail, and find the quick.

To trim overgrown dog nails, use your preferred clippers. Trim only a small part of the nail at a time. Cut from a slight angle that is across the nail's tip following the natural shape. After every cut, look for a little black dot, which is the point you need to stop at.

Try to relax while trimming dog nails. If you pause too long, your dog's body might sense your uneasiness. However, mishaps are more likely to happen if you rush through them.

So, trim long nails effectively, but pause as required.

Don't forget to encourage your dog a lot with treats. This helps establish a positive association with nail clipping.

What to do if after accidentally cutting the quick?

The quick getting accidentally cut is unpleasant for your dog. If it happens, don't worry. It does not make you a bad dog mom/dad.

If you cut dog nail's quick, follow these instructions:

  • Apply pressure on the bleeding nail.
  • Put styptic powder on the exposed fast. The styptic powder will stop the bleeding (cornstarch might work in a pinch).
  • Bandage your dog's paw.

After this, take a break for the day. Both you and your dog need some downtime to unwind as well as heal. Reward your dog for being calm with lots of praise and treats.

Step 6 - Create a schedule and follow through

The dog nails should be trimmed to a length, so they don't touch the ground whenever your furry friend is standing. You must do trimming every week to prevent overgrown dog nails.

After your dog's nails are finally at an appropriate length, continue weekly nail clipping. If you skip a week or two, your dog's nails will start touching the ground.

By following these nails and paw care for dogs tips, you can trim your dog's nails confidently and efficiently. Above all, it will help prevent discomfort and pain caused by overgrown nails.

Things To Keep In Mind While Trimming a Dog's Nails

Here are some things to keep in mind while trimming a dog's overgrown nails.

  • Make sure your dog is tired first to make them less agitated for nail trimming.
  • Frequently touch your dog's paws before you start nail trimming, so they understand you mean no harm to them.
  • Dog paws are delicate, so using a lot of pressure with your hands or nail clippers while trimming their nails is not recommended.
  • If bleeding occurs during nail trimming, use the guide mentioned above and bandage the dog's paw.
  • Remove the bandage with care once the bleeding has stopped.
  • See your veterinarian as soon as possible if the bleeding becomes excessive.

Final words

We understand that clipping your dog's nails can be difficult. It gets even more challenging when trimming long nails with dog nail clippers. In that case, it is best to simplify the process for yourself and your furry companion.

Remember, patience is the key. Also, use the appropriate dog grooming accessories.

To make clipping your dog's nails a joyful experience, keep calm, go slowly, and praise good behavior. Don't forget to give your furry friend treats after clipping one overgrown nail at a time. Clipping dogs nails just requires some practice. Also, be calm when you cut dog nails.


How long should a dog's nails be?

Usually, dogs have long nails. But, ideally, a dog's nails should not touch the ground when the dog is standing. Make sure the nails are not so long that they cause the dog discomfort or difficulty walking. Nails should always be an ideal length so that your furry friend can have a comfortable walking experience.

What angle do you cut dogs’ nails?

When cutting a dog's nails, it's important to avoid cutting the quick, which is the pink area of the nail that contains blood vessels and nerves. Cutting the quick can be painful for the dog and can cause bleeding.

The angle at which you should cut a dog's nails depends on the nail's shape and the dog's size. In general, you should aim to cut the nail at a 45-degree angle. You can use nail clippers specifically designed for dogs, and make sure to take small snips to avoid cutting the quick.

Does walking your dog trim its nails?

Walking your dog regularly can help wear down their nails to some extent, but it is generally not enough to fully trim their nails. Most dogs require regular nail trimming to keep their nails at an appropriate length, as overgrown nails can cause discomfort and even lead to health issues.

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