How to Clip Your Pet’s Nails

As a PetParent, taking on the task of clipping your pets nails is not only a time saver, but an effort saver too. Many people outsource this job to their vet or groomer because they are afraid of clipping their pets nails too short and causing them pain. Sound familiar? Then read on to learn more about how this is one pet health and wellness task that you can absolutely handle!

If you arm yourself with a good pair of nail clippers, and a little bit of knowledge, you’ll be well on your way to a successful at-home nail clipping session. Your pets will thank you as well because they’ll be able to avoid the stress of a trip to the vet to have their nails clipped, when this can be accomplished in the comfort of their own home. Turn at-home pet care and grooming into a bonding experience for you and your pets!

Clipping your cats nails at home is a simply task because cats almost always have clear nails. On a pet with clear nails, you simply look for the pink part, which is the blood vessel, called the quick. Leave a bit of a boundary around the quick and clip everything excess off. It’s as simple as that!

For a dog with black nails, locating the quick can be a little harder because you cannot see where the blood vessel stops the same way you can in an animal with clear nails. In this case, it’s best to just clip a smaller amount off until you and your pet are more comfortable with the whole process. The quick will also begin to recede over time with regular clipping, so eventually you can clip a little more without causing discomfort. Walking your dog on the sidewalk is a great way to naturally wear his nails down, or to file down any sharp edges after a nail clipping.

As far as tools go, for small dogs, cats, and small pets like rabbits, gerbils, etc, a pair of human nail clippers is often the best tool for the job. Medium, large, and giant breed dogs will need a pair of nail clippers designed for pets in order to effectively clip through their stronger and tougher toe nails. We recommend using a pair of nail clippers that feels comfortable in your hand, and one that works similarly to a pair of pliers instead of the old-fashioned ‘guillotine style’ clippers. If your pets nail slips too far through the guillotine style clippers you could unintentionally clip too much off. The best designed pairs of nail clippers have a guard to stop the nail from poking too far into the clipping area.

It is best to work with your dog on nail clipping after they’ve been exercised and are worn out. Have an assistant help get your dog into a laying position. They can stroke and comfort the dog during the process. Talking in low, slow voices can help keep your dog calm, and maintain a peaceful environment.

It will undoubtedly bolster your confidence if you have a coagulant on hand, just in case you nick the quick. You can buy a commercial syptic powder, but a pinch of flour works just as well. Have this at the ready, just in case, and you almost certainly won’t ever need to use it!


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