How to Trim Your Dog or Cats Toenails


Owning a pet certainly has wonderful benefits and joys like nothing else.  But pets also require a certain level of care in order to stay healthy and happy.  Grooming is a big part of this care and clipping toenails is an important and necessary part of the care! Even though this post uses dogs as an example, this tutorial also works for cats!

Are you too scared to trim your pets nails?  This easy tutorial shows you what supplies to use and how to do it!

Many pet owners are intimidated by clipping nails!  It’s a relatively easy process, but does require you to be careful and patient.  I am going to use my dog, Pip, for this example.

Jack Russell/Rat Terrier Mix, Pip.  You must have permission to use this photo.

He has some pink and white nails, so it’s easier to see what I am discussing.

If you have never clipped nails before I recommend the following:

Nail Clippers- Heavy duty clippers that look like this:

Are you too scared to trim your pets nails?  This easy tutorial shows you what supplies to use and how to do it!

They are available anywhere, but Petco has them for a good price.  I do NOT recommend the guillotine type clippers.  Trimming nails needs to be finished quickly and efficiently, and the guillotine require extreme care when lining them up.  Additionally, dogs who do not like having nail trims tend to yank their feet away, so it constantly pulls them out of the clippers.  You have less control this way, in my opinion!

Kwik Stop– This is a product you can use to stop bleeding if you cut the nail too short.  It works on dogs, cats, and birds, and yes, I have personally used it on all 3.

Dremmel type tool with a sander on it.  It doesn’t have to be specific to animal use.  This is especially nice if you have hardwood floors or if your pet gets really sharp edges on their nails.  It will sand nails smooth and keeps your floors and body from getting scratched up!  If your dog will allow it, you will also be able to get closer to the quick!

A dogs nail has a vein running through the nail called a quick.  It is similar to a cuticle on a human.  When you trim their nails, your goal should be to trim as close to the quick as possible without actually snipping the quick.  (Same with cats, but I am going to reference dogs through the post)

Are you too scared to trim your pets nails?  This easy tutorial shows you what supplies to use and how to do it!

Your goal when trimming is to snip as much as possible, as close to the quick as possible, as fast as possible along a line like this:

Are you too scared to trim your pets nails?  This easy tutorial shows you what supplies to use and how to do it!

You need to get your dog in to a comfortable position.  If someone can help you hold the pet that’s even better!

Next, you will need to firmly, grasp the paw and push on the bottom of the foot pad for the nail you want to trim.  This will make the nail extend.

Line up your clippers just in front of the quick and quickly press down on the clippers.  The nail should immediately snap off.

Are you too scared to trim your pets nails?  This easy tutorial shows you what supplies to use and how to do it!

Bigger dogs have thicker nails, so be prepared to really squeeze those clippers!  If your dogs are big pansies like my dog, Meg, she will holler and be a drama queen about it.  DO NOT GET SUCKERED BY THIS!  If there is no BLOOD, they are OK!!!

Make sure to also trim the dew claw if they have one.  It’s kind of like a doggie thumb! I have seen this nail grow into the pad of the foot when it’s missed too often in trims, so it’s important to watch for it!


Do you trim your pets nails?  Tell me how that works for you!  Do you have more questions?  Ask me below!



Author: Jill Stewart

I am a 37 -year-old woman from Arkansas who is happily married to a Scottish immigrant aka “the hubby” “the hubs” or if I am calling him directly “YO YOU!” We’ve been married for 3 years and it’s been a crazy ride, and unfortunately our finances have been beat to death in the last few years. We have two dogs and a cat, no kids. The Blog- What’ll you find: Financial Information as we try to become debt free My attempts at working and trying to maintain a home to the standards I like My adventures in learning how to sew Arts and craft projects Funny tidbits from my life including living with a Scottish person, the dogs, and other oddball things that happen to me. What you won’t find: Much on children. I don’t have kids and I can’t have kids. Recipes- I don’t mind cooking, but unless it’s something really special, don’t come here looking for the weekly recipe! You won’t find it- unless you ask my husband. If you’re interested in what you see, please follow me on Facebook or sign up for emails! Most of all, leave a comment or ask a question! I am always happy to hear from you!

5 thoughts on “How to Trim Your Dog or Cats Toenails

  1. I could see where the quick is on Pip’s nails but how can you tell where it is when the nails are all black?

  2. I used to hate having to trim my cats nails. She hated it just as much as I did!

  3. My son uses a sanding tool on his Drimel to to trim his mastiff’s nails. If you start when the dog is a puppy, they don’t mind the noise. Works great.

    • It is a GREAT tool to use. I have used them to smooth out those sharp edges after a trim…it always seems like my dogs nails feel like daggers after a snip!

      Thank you for coming by, Kathy, and again for contributing to the conversation!

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