Illustrated Guide: How to Cut Dog Nails

You have a dog – but do you know how to trim dog nails? Just like us humans, it’s important for dogs to get their nails trimmed regularly. Beyond hygiene, it’s also important for their health. Overgrown nails on dogs can be painful and could lower their overall quality of life. To give your pup the absolute best, learn all you need to know about dog nail trimming below – and don’t forget to check out our other tips for taking care of your dog’s paws.

Why is cutting dog nails important?

When dog nails get too long, it can lead to pain and other serious issues. Over time, your dog might develop spine and posture problems (like sitting or standing oddly) due to frequently shifting weight because of overgrown nails. Too-long nails can even lead to difficulty walking, lameness or serious injury; especially if they’re so long that they touch the ground. In general, nails that are too long can limit your dog’s movements.

Overgrown nails significantly decrease the quality of your dog’s daily life.

As soon as your dog’s nails touch the ground and grow past the pad of your dog’s paw, it’s time to take action!

When are my dog’s nails too long?

With your furry friend standing in front of you with their front legs under their shoulders, check their nails. Are they touching the ground? If so, then they’re too long. And if you hear your dog’s nails clicking or see them turn sideways, it’s time for a trim. Ideally, you should be able to slip a piece of paper between your dog’s nails and the floor.

Now that you know that they’re too long, how do you shorten your dog’s nails?

ideal vs too long dog nails - dog nail cutting infographic

How to cut dog nails: step-by-step instructions

Step 1: Prepare the equipment

  • Dog nail clippers/scissors/grinder
  • Scissors
  • Flashlight (for dark nails)
  • Optional: Paw balsam

When everything is ready, get your dog comfortable and you’re good to go. If your dog is a bit nervous, calm them with biscuits or extra cuddles. This will give them a sense of security while you begin cutting.



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