How to cut your puppy’s nails

Clipping puppy nails

There’s a lot you can do to keep your dog healthy and happy, like feeding him a proper diet and taking him out for exercise. But don’t forget cutting dogs’ nails is also important in the early stages. Just like fingernails, your puppy’s toenails grow all the time. If they’re left untrimmed, they can create some discomfort for both your puppy and your family.

Trimming your puppy’s nails takes some care. Your vet can give you a good idea of when and how to cut them. You may even just want to let your vet or groomer do the job. But if you decide to do it yourself, here are some tips to get you started.

  • Puppies can get skittish around new objects and experiences. To lower your puppy’s fear or excitability, introduce him to the process when you bring him home. That means massaging and playing with his feet, and getting him used to seeing the trimmers.
  • Ask your vet or groomer to show you the ropes and ask them to recommend a good pair of clippers to use.
  • Clipping puppies’ nails isn’t always easy, and there’s always a chance you might accidentally cut his nails a little too short. Be prepared by having some styptic powder on hand.

Trimming his nails

  • Gently hold and squeeze your puppy’s paw, which will help extend the nail.
  • If your puppy has clear nails find the “quick” by looking for the pink line coming from the base of the nail. The quick is a vein in the nail that feeds the nail bed. Do not cut this!
  • On darker nails, it can be more difficult to detect where the quick begins. If your puppy has darker nails, make sure you get appropriate instructions before you start clipping.
  • Wait until your puppy is still before you make a cut.
  • Start conservatively. It’s better to cut a little twice than cut too much and hit the quick.
  • If you cut your puppy’s nails and they bleed, immediately apply some styptic powder and a small amount of pressure to the end of the nail.
  • Your puppy probably won’t be used to being held in a position like this, so make sure to give him some praise for holding still and being a trooper.

Keep them short naturally

Regular exercise is a good way to keep your puppy’s nails shorter. When he’s ready, going for walks on pavements will keep them shorter as his paws brush against the concrete. Keep in mind that this won’t necessarily keep them 100% trimmed. But it should mean you can go longer between cuts.

Make sure to ask your vet or groomer if you have any questions about clipping puppies’ nails.