groomers usually include a nail inspection,
clipping and filing service as part of all
grooming services, and as part of the basic fee
without assessing additional cost. Most groomers
also offer nail clipping only services.
need their nails clipped and filed on a regular
basis, usually every 3 to 4 weeks. It is not
uncommon for dog owners to wait too long between
nail clipping. Overdue nails raise health issues.
Extended growth can result in painful ingrown
nails. Elongated nails affect the comfort and
health of dogs. Some dogs will find it difficult
to place their full body weight on their feet with
discomfort from elongated nails. As a result these
dogs develop sore feet, legs and hips and overall
discomfort. Just to walk can then be a painful
experience for them.
Many dogs that
require little professional grooming and styling
still visit groomers for a nail clipping, or a
bath with nail clipping, for one reason.
Generally, dog owners do not like to cut nails,
and many of these pet's don't really care for nail
clipping either. Learning how to hold and handle
the dog, and properly use the correct tools, makes
nail clipping and filing a much more bearable
procedure for dogs. Most nail clipping procedures
cause no pain to the dogs.
Nail clipping is
essentially the process of cutting away excess
nail, and the key is to learn just what is the
"excess nail." If you can hear dog nails
when walk on a hard floor surface, there is
probably a small or better amount of excess nail
to clip and/or file down.
It is better to cut
a small amount regularly than a large amount at
once. However, since dogs may go many weeks
between professional grooming appointments it is
usually the task of groomers to reasonably clip
more excess nail. Praise the dog after nail
clipping to encourage them to be less resistant to
future nail clipping sessions.
1" to 3" above the inside of their front
feet (and sometimes rear fee) dogs may have
"5th nails" commonly referred to “dew
claws.” Nail clipping should include these
nails. Since dew claws are never exposed to
friction from touching ground surfaces, they are
often longer and sometimes overgrown. In fact, you
may find neglected dew claws grown into a full
circle circle and even painfully ingrown requiring
veterinary care. It is not uncommon for pets to
have dew claws on some feet, and not on others.
There is a blood vessel in pet dog and cat nails. It is commonly referred to as "the quick." The quick is
usually visible to the eye except for dark-colored nails. Because it is possible to cut the quick and cause a nail to bleed, many pet owners are fearful of cutting their pet's nails.
Instead, they bring their dogs to groomers or
veterinarians for clipping.
If the quick is already very near
nail tips, daily filing for approximately three weeks
may encourage nail quicks to recede enough for a comfortable, bloodless nail clipping. However, the recession during those three weeks is likely to
be enough to clip the tips of the nails without bleeding. Inform the pet owner if they will continue to file the pet's nail several times a week, you will be able to clip the nails a little shorter each time until they have properly
receded and avoid discomfort caused by overly long
nails. Thereafter, the nails should be clipped and filed on a regular basis in order to maintain their healthy state, and prevent the pet from having to undergo bleeding nails.
There is almost no risk of causing the nails to bleed when filing them.
typically require more frequent nail inspections.
Outdoor dogs or those taken for regular walks on
hard surfaces like concrete sidewalks usually
require less maintenance since the friction of
their nails against hard surfaces helps to limit
nail growth and encourage quicks to properly
recede away from nail tips.
Before Clipping Nails
Inspect every dog's
ears for potential problems before proceeding with
nail clipping procedures. Be prepared to record written
descriptions of any suspect conditions so that you
may report them accurately to pet owners and
nail related problem signs are:
- Sore toes, foot pads, redness and
- Discharges from ingrown nails and powerful odors.
When you discover
serious nail problems you should inform the owner
and recommend veterinary inspection as soon as
Sterilize any tools
that you have used during the nail clipping process,
actually a process you should do between all nails
clippings as well.
Clipping Tools & Supplies
normally stock all the tools and supplies required
for clipping dog nails.
You will need the following tools and supplies for
the nail clipping and filing procedure.
Carefully read and follow instructions
supplied with all products before using
Guillotine-type nail clippers for medium
to large dogs.
- Large scissor-type nail clippers for
- Commercial coagulant that stops dog nail
- Nail files (emery board type) for small and medium
- "Bastard" file or similar for large
- Nail polish for dogs or "nail
you will find basic nail clipping steps for dogs.
However, you can expect additional detailed
instructions and guidelines from most professional
trainers and schools
and training programs.
We do not provide these steps as complete,
professional ear cleaning. We encourage pet owners
to use the services of a professional groomer and
veterinarian for ear cleaning. Pet owners should
practice preventative ear health maintenance and
check their dog's nail every 3 to 4 weeks.
1. Place your left arm around the
dog's middle body and hold it against your chest. Talk softly and kindly to ease the
dog's anxiety about the clipping procedure.
2. In your left hand hold the
dog's foot with your thumb on top of the toe, and two or more fingers
below along the pad of the foot.
3. Insert the nail into the clipper, and clip
below the quick at a 45 degree angle. Be sure to also clip dew claws.
On dog's with black nails you may want to make
several small clips instead of clipping "a
chunk off." You will usually be able to spot
the quick as a dark spot in the center of the nail
when looking at it head on. This then is the quick
you want to avoid cutting.
4. If you cut the
quick you must stop the bleeding. In most cases, a
coagulant product (nail styptic powder) is sufficient. Apply the powder to the tip of the quick where it was cut, and hold with moderate pressure. The bleeding often stops very quickly. Wipe away excess powder and re-check the "seal" often. Remember, it is possible that the powder seal may be washed or scratched off until the "seal" has had adequate time to dry. If you leave too much excess powder it hardens into a "cap" on the nail tip that can be broken off and entirely remove the
seal. Therefore, be sure to remove excess powder
5. File each nail so that the tip is soft and without
rough broken edges. Pet owners appreciate this added touch, and it saves women's stockings! Filing nails that bled may remove the
coagulant styptic powder "seal" and resume bleeding. Do not file the seal away.
Brittle nails will require more filing to remove
If a dew claw has grown into a circular loop, you can cut into the mid-section of the nail with
scissor-type cutter before the quick. Afterwards, use the regular
nail clippers to finish cutting but again avoiding
Polish & Caps
nails are clipped and filed, nail polish may be
applied. We do not recommend using nail polish for
humans. Instead there are epoxy enamel polishes for
dogs available from grooming
suppliers. Good dog nail polish is very durable.
one foot at a time. Quick drying polishes help
prevent the dog from smudging the paint onto other
surfaces. Be very careful to prevent the dog from
rubbing wet polish on their skin or coat, and if
they do remove it immediately according to
instructions provided with the commercial polish
nail caps come in various sizes to fit over most dog
nails replacing the need to use nail polish. Ask
supplier for product information and