Paw Pedicure: How to Trim Dog Nails Perfectly

Most dogs don’t like getting a pedicure. That’s why nail trimming can be a bit stressful for owners. However, for dogs, it’s more a matter of maintaining health and good hygiene. So, yes, nail trims are vital for your canine.

how pedicure at home

A dog pedicure is something you cannot leave out of your dog’s grooming. Long and unkempt nails can be potentially dangerous and can cause a lot of pain for your pet. No matter how challenging trims can be, you have to keep grinding for your pup’s sake.

This article will help you understand why you have to keep them short, the tools you’ll need for a proper nail trim, and how to make a pedicure bearable for your pooch and less stressful for you and your canine.

What Are the Benefits of Trimming Your Pet’s Nails?

Knowing the importance of cutting your canine’s nails will surely provide renewed motivation while you do it. The purpose of a pet nail trim is to keep your pup’s nails short and clean. If neglected, long and dirty nails can;

  • Split, break, or be torn off.

Long nails are prone to get caught on surfaces. In worst-case scenarios, your dog’s nails can be torn off completely. Nail trauma can also break or split their nails. You don’t want to cause your pooch that much pain.

  • Affect your dog’s joints.

They put uncomfortable pressure on your dog’s tendons when they walk. With time, this can cause alignment issues that may affect your pet’s feet and make walking difficult. It may also affect their weight distribution, causing other joints in the body to be affected as well.

  • Cause arthritis in the long run.

Long nails can lead to arthritis when your dog gets older because of the amount of stress put on his foot.

  • Grow into the nail pad.

Your puppy’s nails curl as they grow out, and if it’s left for too long, his toenails can begin to grow back into his nail pad. That makes walking torture for your pet.

Tools You Need for a Puppy Pedicure

Getting the right tools is as important as the pedicure itself because the right tools will make the process far easier. For a dog manicure, you’ll need:

  • A Nail Trimmer.

These are the tools that do the actual cutting. You can pick between a nail clipper and a grinder, based on your preferences.

Clippers come in either the scissors style or the guillotine style. The guillotine clippers are usually better suited for small dogs. Regardless of style, a good clipper should be sharp and have a grip so that you don’t put unnecessary pressure on your pet’s toes while cutting.

Grinders work like nail files and remove the excess toenail little by little instead of in one or two big chops. It’s the best option for dark-nailed dogs and is relatively safer. A properly working dog nail grinder should be as soundless as possible with a good hold and fast functionality.

You can ask your vet to recommend a trimmer for your pet, or you can try both and see which one you are both more comfortable with.

  • Clotting powder.

You’ll need styptic powder in case of an injury from cutting into the quick. It helps to stop the bleeding. As an alternative, you can also get some cornstarch. Either of these powders gets the job done.

  • Treats.

Never downplay the role of treats in a dog nail pedicure to reward good behavior. They help to pacify and condition your pet into seeing nail trims as something to be excited about. Together with some reassurance, it will help them to be calm and stay still during the pedicure.

  • Another Person.

It is very helpful to have someone help you hold your dog, fetch tools and feed them treats while you work on their nails. The roles can even be reversed.

How to Cut Dog Nails the Right Way

A dog pedicure is quite a simple process. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Start with a paw bath.

Washing your pet’s paws with mild soap and a washcloth helps you to get rid of the dirt clinging to their nails. Massage their paws while you’re at it. It helps them relax and improves blood circulation. Make sure to rinse and then dry their paws properly.

  • Moisturize.

Use a dog moisturizer or olive oil to massage their paws. It keeps your pet’s paws from cracking.

  • Get your pooch in a comfortable environment.

Familiar surroundings are a bonus, but get them in a good position that allows you to see and reach all their nails. You can place them on a table or place them between your thighs in a cuddle position.

  • It’s time to cut.

Gently but firmly hold your pooch’s paw and locate the quick (a bed of blood vessels and nerves) of the nail. In clear-nailed dogs, it is pink-colored and easy to spot. In dark-nailed dogs, you’ll have to cut away small bits until you spot a black dot in the nail. The quick is usually behind it.

If you are using a clipper, cut a little bit away from the quick, so you don’t end up injuring your pet. Cut in a 45-degree angle so that the top of the nail slightly juts out more than the bottom.

If you are using a grinder, hold it firmly and touch it to the toenail for a few seconds, then release. Grinding for too long can burn your pooch.

Cut or grind all the other nails the same way. Don’t forget about the dewclaw (it is the nail located a little higher on your pet’s leg than the rest.)

  • In case of bleeding.

If you hit your dog quickly, stay calm and stop the bleeding with the styptic powder or cornstarch. If the injury seems serious, then you may need to see the vet.


If you’ve tried everything and still can’t seem to get pedicure right, you can also make use of dog nail trimming services like a groomer.

Owners usually wonder how often and how short they should cut their dog’s nails. Well, as a good indicator, anytime your dog’s nails begin to make that click-clack sound on surfaces, it’s time for a dog manicure. There’s no particular length to cut your pet’s toenails to, but you should try to make sure they don’t touch the ground when your pup is standing.

Along with keeping your pooch’s toes short and healthy, dog pedicures also help you spot some illnesses on time. That’s why you must never neglect it. 

Richard Hayes

Hey there! Meet Richard Hayes, the big boss and marketing guru behind Pet Dog Planet. He's been a total doggo fanatic since forever and loves all kinds of pups, from tiny teacup Chihuahuas to big, burly Bulldogs. His absolute favorite pastime? Snuggling with adorable puppies—he can't get enough of those cute little faces! Plus, he's totally into iced coffee, chilling in hammocks, and, of course, more puppy cuddling!

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