Nail Clipping Tips for Our Lovely Pets

December 29, 2015

Nail Clipping Tips for Our Lovely Pets

Another very vital aspect of pet grooming that gets ignored by pet owners the most is the trimming of their pets nails.

Your pet’s nails are an important part of their anatomy; they help provide traction and enhances a pet’s ability to walk and run without slipping. Dog claws are used when running to grip the ground, when accelerating and when turning corners.

Dogs particularly do not walk correctly when their nails get too long. This strains the leg muscles and torques the spine. Trimming your pets nails also prevents accidental injury to you and your furniture.



Pets with very long nails are at a risk of hurting themselves by slipping  and falling. Overgrown nails can also break easily, below the quick.

This is painful and can get easily infected, requiring long-term antibiotics administration or even surgical removal. Long-term overgrowth can also cause difficulty with walking, pain and soreness and eventually contribute to the development of arthritis.

Trimming your pet’s nails provides an opportunity to inspect his/her feet for problems like swelling, cracked pads, or matted fur. One of the keys to maintaining your pet’s general health is to ensure the nails are groomed regularly.

 It is advised that you start trimming claws in pets at a young age so that they get used to the process as pets who have been trimmed from birth will happily sit in your lap while you trim their claws. A lot of grown pets suddenly introduced to trimming require tranquilizers to make it through the process without biting.

No matter what your pet’s personal take is on nail clipping, it is something you should do for your pet'ss regularly to keep from harming their skeletal structure.


How To Tell Its Time To Trim?

Do not use the same timing for all your pets as some dogs nails grow so much faster than other dogs’ nails. There are

also various things that influences nail growth. In pets that don’t exercise regularly by walking or running as is the case with older pets, and pets with guardians who are busy their nails do not get naturally worn, so it grows too fast. Liver disease also makes the nails to grow faster than normal.

So when to trim? If your pet nails make a clicking sound when they walks, it’s definitely time to trim.
Another way is to manually check your pet, this is done by holding your pet’s foot and pressing the toe so that the nail gets fully extended, if the nail curves beyond the bottom of the toe pad, grab your clipper and get trimming.


Trimming Nails With Clippers

Ensure you get a good top quality pair of nail trimmers, appropriate for the size of your pet. Clippers are recommended as they are very convenient to use and do not require power to operate and they are less expensive to purchase than a rotary tool. A good top quality clipper can last a lifetime.

Many different types of nail clippers exist, all of which largely do the same job. The most important thing is that the clippers are sharp enough that they snip straight through the claw. Using dull clippers makes trimming your pets nails a lot longer and makes the job harder. You also run the risk of squeezing the quick, which can be painful for the pet.

There are two primary styles of clipper: scissor and guillotine type clippers.

Scissor clippers cut a pet’s nails using a scissor like motion. It’s available in small and large sizes. The small “nippers” are recommended for pets new to clipping nails or if your aim is just to snip the tips. Larger scissor clippers are suited to cutting older, tougher nails but can be used on 'newby' nails as well.

Guillotine clippers use a sliding blade that cuts the nail when you squeeze the handles together. The claw fits into a slot and the blade slides across to clip the nail. These are strong clippers that are good for cutting long, thick nails (but not overgrown nails-large clippers are better suited to that).



If the clippers are sharp your pet won't feel the quick clip. Clippers don't stay sharp forever, so discard them (or send them for sharpening) if you suspect the blades have gone dull.

Signs of this include having to apply a lot of pressure to cut the nail or the nail being “chewed” by the clippers rather than making a clean cut.

Special care should however be taken to avoid the quick which is the pink area within each of the nail, as it is the blood vessels and nerves that supply the nail. Cutting the quick can cause bleeding and considerable pain for the pet.

It’s recommended that you have a pet grade styptic pencil or powder on hand in case you mistakenly cut your pet’s quick. Styptic pencils are readily available from pharmacies and they also come in pet grooming kits. They cauterize blood vessels when touched to the nail and help prevent bleeding. Just hold the styptic pencil to the claw for a few minutes and it should stop the bleeding.

Always trim in bright light as this makes it easier to avoid cutting the quick. Note that the quick cannot be easily seen on dark colored claws making them more difficult to trim without cutting into the quick. Get around this by examining the lightly colored nails first to get an idea of where the quick is in the dark nails.

Professional dog groomers advise that you cut the dark colored claws in several small cuts, this reduces the chance of cutting into the quick, as you cut, hold the nail so you can squarely see the cut tip.

Stop cutting when you see a black spot in the nail as this means the quick is approached. Cut the claw to within approximately 2 millimeters of the quick.

If your pet’s nails are tough, a bath or swim before cutting the nails does wonders softening them. Ensure nails are cut regularly because as the nails get long, so does the quick, and then it's almost impossible to cut the nails short without hurting the dog.


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