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Dog Grooming – Nails

If you’re lucky enough to be able to send your dog to the groomers, then clipping your dogs’ nails is probably not something you have much experience of. 

You should know you’re potentially wasting money on getting your dog groomer professionally though – especially if it is just for something as simple as getting some nails clipped.

Especially so during these COVID lockdowns then not lockdown then partial lockdown then do whatever you want times, who knows what’s coming next and learning to clip your dogs’ nails is an extremely simple procedure that with a bit of practice, you’ll be a pro at.

Read on to find out how to eliminate the risk, and give your pooch the perfect pedicure!

Is Dog Grooming Important?

Dog grooming and nail clipping is very important, as much so as remembering to feed them and walk them. 

If not done regularly, your dog is likely to feel extremely uncomfortable which may result in your dog being in pain whilst walking.

It can also lead to the nail snapping off (which if you’ve never witnessed, isn’t pleasant) which in turn leads to distress, pain and sometimes infection. Nasty stuff.

Dewclaws that are left to grow unimpeded will curl as they get longer, eventually embedding themselves into your canine’s leg.

Obviously, this is uncomfortable for your pet, never mind probably pretty painful.

In extreme cases, this can cause infections which can lead to surgery, and your pet losing a limb. So let’s avoid that.

And if you’re the one clipping your dogs’ nails, it’s also a great time to expect your dogs toe beans for anything amiss – splinters, infections, fungus or cuts. 

Where to Start

Before you go hacking away at your dogs’ nails with a pair of common scissors, get yourself a decent pair of dog nail clippers.

These are designed to follow the natural curve of a dogs’ nail, and generally come with a guide to prevent you cutting them too short and causing damage.


Dog Clippers

A good breeder will have clipped your puppy’s nails at least twice before they reach 10 weeks old to get them used to it from a young age.

A grooming table helps but isn’t necessary. If you’re not in possession of a grooming table (which you’re probably not) sitting on the floor with your pet is the next best option. 

Make sure your dog is calm and relaxed, not about to go off on some zoomies, and have lots of treats to hand.

Firmly hold your dogs paw up, but don’t squeeze. This is extremely uncomfortable for your pet and will result in only making things more difficult. 

Using the guide, take the top couple of mm of the nail off. Remember it is much better to do it little and often than take too much off and injure your pet. 

Using this method, you’ll likely have to clip your dog’s nails every 6 to 8 weeks, depending on breed. 

Each time you come round to it, it will be an easier and more fluid experience for the both of you, so don’t let that put you off!

Dog Nail Structure

Take your time. There’s no rush to get it finished.

This is an excellent opportunity to bond with your dog if you’ve just got them and remember to stop for pats and cuddles in between each foot. 

 A dog’s nails can be fairly brittle, so once you’ve trimmed them it’s a good idea to use a nail file just to round them off slightly. 


Ever clip too far down the nail, and if you’re unsure stop and check where you’re cutting. 

Snipping slightly too far and hitting the nail bed can be nothing short of disastrous, and can lead to a lot of problems for your dog. 

Looking at the structure of the nail, and underlying nail bed, it becomes much clearer why this is the case.

Dog Nail Bed Structure

Over-clipping and hitting the quick is not only very painful for your pooch, but very often leads to a lot of bleeding and in severe cases will require the intervention of a vet.

The Key Takeaway

If you follow the steps in this guide, you’ll have absolutely no problems cutting your dogs nails at home.

Remember – little and often is key. If you’re unsure, stop and check.

Get yourself a pair of quality nail clippers (shop local).

Give your dog lots of treats, pets and cuddles.

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