Pet Nail Trimming.

Many pet owners are afraid of cutting their pet’s nails for fear they’ll cut the sensitive quick. The “quick” is the tissue area in the nail center that contains the nerves or blood vessels supplying the nail bed. Once you learn where to cut, clipping your pet’s nails is almost as easy as clipping your own.

On clear or light colored nails, clip the nail in front of the pink quick. For dark nails, you may have to use a flashlight to see where the quick begins or as many professionals watch for the darker center of the nail bed which will be be the indication it's the quick. (Ill.1 & 2). Always cut on a 45- degree angle. Next, file the nail in a sweeping motion starting from the back of the nail and following the curve to the tip. In the picture below is an great example of a nail bed that you can clearly see the difference between the nail and the quick when you look at from the underside of the paw, not all pets will have this visual

Remember, it is better to trim a small amount on a regular basis than to try to remove large portions. * See also Groomer Diagram on Nail Trimming.


How many of us put off trimming our pet’s nails until the inevitable veterinary check-up comes around or grooming session comes around and either the veterinarian or the groomer must do it? It is important to remember that untrimmed nails can cause a variety of problems from scratched up floors for you to deformed feet and back problems for your pet. In some cases, they will actually grow back into the dog’s feet.

A good indication that nails are too long is a telltale “click-click-click” when walking on uncarpeted areas.

1. Trim nails so that when the animal steps down, nails do not touch the floor.

2. Invest in a good pair of nail trimmers in an appropriate size for your pet. They can last lifetime. Preferable the pliers like nail trimmers (Ill. 1) The Guillotine (Ill. 2) style is not very accurate and not as highly recommended. A little history the guillotine style was originally designed for tail docking and dew claw removal. Both types come with a nail stopper but not recommended for a reliable source.

3. Make trimming time fun and not a struggle. Sit on the floor with your pet, trimmers, and Styptic to stop bleeding if you nick the quick. The “quick,” a blood vessel that runs down the middle of your pets nail, grows and the nail grows, so if you wait a long time between cuttings, the quick will be closer to the end of the nail. This means more likelihood of bleeding during trimming.

4. Try to trim your pet’s nails weekly to monthly, even if long walks keep them naturally short. Weekly nail trimmings can also alert you to other foot problems your pet may have.

5. Trimming your pet’s nails doesn’t have to be a chore or unpleasant. If your pet is not used to having his nails trimmed, start slowly and gradually work up to simply holding his toes firmly for 15-30 seconds. Do not let him mouth or bite at you. It can take daily handling for a week or more to get some pets used to this.

6. Take one toe at a time in your hands and trim very thin slices off the end of the nail until you see a black dot appear. This is the start of the quick (see #3, above) that you want to avoid. The good news is that, the more diligent you are about trimming, the more the quick will regress into the nail, allowing you to cut shorter each time.

7. If you’re pet will tolerate it, do all four feet this way. If he won’t, take a break. And don’t forget the dewclaws. On most breeds, if they haven’t been removed, dewclaws are 1/4” above the feet on the inner side of the legs. If not trimmed, dewclaws can grow so long they curl up and grow into the soft tissue, like a painful ingrown toenail.

Trimming nails regularly should be part of your weekly but no longer than 4 weeks grooming routine with your pet. Remember that cats as well as dogs can benefit from nail trimming.

One more thing that is becoming popular and some dogs seem to do much better with is Nail Grinding/Buffing. If you plan on doing so be very careful not to over grind because you can expose the quick, that way too. Also use lowest setting possible and do a tap tap when applying the grinder. One more thing to make sure that wont happen especially with long hair and tails is to keep it away from the rotary tool because it will wrap up in it and pull your pets hair.

If ever in doubt or it's just to complicated for you do we are always happy to help you with it, all we need is written proof of the rabies vaccine and no appointment is necessary.

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7155 Jorgensen Lane

Cottage Grove, MN 55016

Phone:(651) 330-8639

2009  Lisa's Fabulous Paws Pet Grooming

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