How to Use Dog Nail Clippers: The Best Methods

how to use dog nail clippers

How to use dog nail clippers? There are different types of dog nail clippers. These types of clippers work are different in usage ,but in the end, they do cut the nails.

Before we dive into how to use dog nail clippers, let’s look at why do we clip dog’s nails.

Reasons for clipping dog’s nails

1.) Dog who live in urban areas

Most domestic dogs who live in urban areas need their nails trimmed regularly. Working dogs and dogs who exercise usually get their nails worn down naturally.

While those living indoors do not have their nails worn out.

2.) Discomfort

Long nails in dogs can cause them discomfort. If your dog’s nails are too long, then your dog is putting the pressure of their weight on their nails and and toe joints.

They are basically standing on their nails instead of letting their pads take on all of their weight.

Long nails can split, become torn, or curve back to their pads. Also this is so painful for dogs.

3.) Health problems

When dog nails are untrimmed, they cause serious health problems. To feel comfort, many dogs will have a crouched posture where they will start to spread their toes apart to minimize discomfort.

Long term crouching can affect your dog’s muscles, tendons, and joints. It can lead to other problems such as arthritis and can hinder your dog’s ability to get the exercise they need.

How often to clip dog’s nails?

How to Use Dog Nail Clippers
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It will depend on how active your dog is and the type of surfaces that your dog exercises in it.

Other factor is whether your dog has dew claws or not. If your dog has dewclaws, then they do need regular clipping.

Dog nails need regular clipping around once a month. Make sure you make nail checking a regular weekly routine for your dogs even if you are not going to cut your dog’s nails.

Types of dog nail clippers

  • Scissor clippers: These clippers work like a scissor. Although, the blades are shorter than standard scissors.
  • Guillotine clippers: The guillotine clippers have a hole at the end that you put your dog’s nails through. As you squeeze the handles, the blade cuts through the nail.
  • Grinding dog nails: These are electronic and use a type of sandpaper or board to grind away your dog’s nails at high speed.
  • Styptic powder for your dog’s injuries or bleeding.
  • Nail file to finish off cleaning the nail.

4 Steps on how to use dog nail clippers on your dog

1.) Use sharp clippers

Use clippers that are of high quality and are sharp. Sharp clippers help cut the nail very fast and efficiently. It will also make your dog comfortable as it will cut the nail from the first attempt.

2.) Keep your dog comfortable

While clipping your dog’s nails, they may become scared or irritated during the procedure. It is important to keep your dog seated and laid back so they don’t get hurt.

To keep your dog comfortable, you have to keep them calm by soothing them and then pull their legs.

If you are working alone, let your dog sit in your lap or lay in front of you. If you are working with a large dog breed, you may need help from others to restrain your dog.

3.) Clip in small portions

Cut the nail in a 45 degree angle starting from the bottom of the nail. Next, cut in small pieces so you don’t hurt the quick.

Nail guards can help a lot. It helps you measure the nail so the quick can be avoided. Stop cutting the nail when a dark spot appears in the middle.

If however, you cut deeper through the quick, the nail will bleed. In this situation,you can either apply pressure to the tip of the nail to stop pressure or use styptic powder and put it on the nail.

How to Use Dog Nail Clippers
Credited: Adopt a pet

4.) Treat your dog

Give your dog a treat and praise for waiting patiently and doing a good job. Doing so makes the experience a positive one that your dog is happy to do again.

Tips on how to clip a puppy’s nails

  • Cut away the hairs around their toes.
  • Make sure your clipper is sharp
  • Cut from the bottom edge of the nail
  • Check that you are not cutting the quick
  • Give your dog a treat
  • Make sure your puppy is comfortable

How to deal with a scared dog

If you have an anxious dog, you have to make them used to the clipping process as much as possible. Some of these ways are listed below.

  • Regularly massage and touch their paws. If you dog is used to you handling their nails, the clipping process will be easier.
  • Introduce the nail clippers to your dog and while you do so give them treats and praise as positive reinforcement.
  • Get your dog used to the sound of the clippers and grinder by clipping near their nail but not actually on it.
  • Observe an expert such as a vet or a groomer and see how they handle nail clipping your dog’s nails. Watch them to know the steps.
  • Get assistance and help when you need to restrain your dog. Someone can hold your dog’s nails while you clip them.

How to clip black dogs nails

To clip black dogs nails, you need a sharp nail clipper. Then, you got to clip only small portions of the nail. Always check for the quick, the black spot in the center, while clipping your dog’s nails.

Black dog’s nails are harder to find but you can find them if you look very closely.

Using a dog file

A dog file is used to smooth the nail surface after it is cut. Do not apply pressure to the nails but let the friction from the nail shorten the nail.

Do not let the dog file stay for more than 3 seconds on a specific spot as it will cause your dog a burning sensation by getting the nail too hot.


In conclusion, how to use dog nail clippers requires that you follow certain steps. To learn how to do these step, it is best to see the practice in a real situation.

You can watch a vet or a groomer clip your dog’s nails. Your dog should be relaxed and calm so you can clip their nails.

For more information regarding clipping long dog nails, check Dog Nails too Long: The Best Way to Clip Them. Also , share with us your experience when clipping your dog’s nails.


Welcome to my bio everyone, my name is Nada. Ever since I was little, I have loved animals because they are so loving and kind. All they need is you attention, love, and care but I didn't understand them very well because I didn't get the chance to raise them. Well, That changed when my family and I got our first dog Rocky, a German Shepherd. Rocky was fun and loving with funny quirks. Being loyal and protective of us, he made me see the nature of a German Shepherd. Now, we have another German Shepherd named Mia. She is a wonderful dog and a rescue who just needed a second chance in life. Mia has long grown from being a terrified dog to the brave and caring German Shepherd that she is today. P.S: Here is a picture of our beautiful German Shepherd, Mia.

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