Trimming your pup can be an acid test for you. Especially if your beloved dog doesn’t like it. Yet, we have to deal with it. It’s fine if you don’t want to do it by yourself and take help from the groomer. 

But, if you decide to trim your dog’s nails, and don’t know how to initiate and complete the mission properly. This step-by-step guide on “how to trim overgrown dog nails” can help you out.

As long nails can give you scratches or deep cuts if your dog tries to scramble. Besides, to keep your dog’s hygiene, you need to trim those sharp and overgrown nails. To do it right, you’ll have to be cautious. 

Also, If your pup is agitated or isn’t ready for the nail trimming part, then don’t go for it. Look for dew claw nails while trimming and don’t panic if you cut the quick.

Let’s dive into this guide on how you can trim your dog’s overgrown nails and how you can do it if your dog isn’t comfortable with the situation.  

Importance of Regular Nail Trimming for Dogs

Regular Nail Trimming for Dogs

As Dog parents, we all want to keep our furry friends healthy and happy. One of the ways to achieve this is by regularly trimming their nails. 

Here are some reasons why it is important:

1. Prevents Discomfort and Pain

As pets walk, their nails hit the ground, and long nails can curl and grow into their paw pads, causing pain and discomfort. Trimming your pet’s nails regularly can prevent this from happening.

2. Maintains Good Posture

Long nails can change the way your pet walks, leading to an unnatural gait and bad posture. Regular nail trimming helps maintain good posture and promotes healthy movement.

3. Protects Your Floors and Furniture

Long nails can scratch floors and furniture, causing damage and requiring costly repairs. Keeping your pet’s nails trimmed can help prevent this from happening.

4. Safe for Owners

Your cuddly dog can try to scramble on you when they are happy. In that case, long nails can get you wound or scratched. So, clipping your dog’s nails can help you prevent this from happening.

How Often Should You Trim Overgrown Dog Nails?

The ASPCA recommends trimming a dog’s nails when they nearly touch the ground while walking. The frequency at which you should trim your dog’s nails depends on several factors, including the breed of your dog, their activity level, and the surface they walk on. 

Typically, dogs need their nails trimmed every 4-6 weeks. However, some dogs may need more frequent trimming, while others may be able to go longer between trims.

However, if you want to deal with this trimming task, you may wonder what steps you should take to trim overgrown dog nails. In the next section, we’ve provided an ultimate step-by-step guide on how to trim overgrown dog nails. 

Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Trim Overgrown Dog Nails

Let’s say you have a dog named Lucy who doesn’t like getting her nails clipped. How can you simplify it for her? You need to get Lucy used to the idea of having her nails trimmed. If she’s uncomfortable or scared, it won’t work. Here’s what you can do:

Step 1: Preparation 

First thing first, before trimming your dog’s nails, make sure your dog is calm and relaxed. If your dog is showing signs of anxiety or stress, take some time to calm them down before starting. 

You can do it by offering your dog some low-value treats to make them happy and distract them. While giving calming treats use a positive tone of voice and also use a “yes” command to reinforce good behavior.

On the other hand, it’s important to trim nails in a comfortable and calm environment. This can include finding a quiet room with good lighting and a comfortable surface for your dog to rest on.

Your pup might have had a bad experience with a previous nail trim or might have seen another dog react negatively. You need to understand your dog’s behavior and body language as well.

Some common signs of fear or anxiety in your dogs are:

  • Whimpering or Crying
  •  Shaking or Trembling
  • Trying to escape or hide
  • Biting or Snapping
  • Panting

Step 2: Locating the Quick

Dog’s nails have an outer shell that doesn’t hurt when trimmed. But the inner part called the “quick,” has nerves and blood vessels, so it hurts and bleeds if cut. Regular nail trimming can help to avoid overgrowing quickly. 

Since it can cause pain and difficulty trimming in the future. If you’ve accidentally cut the quick before, your dog may become fearful and agitated during future nail trimming sessions.

To locate the quick in a dog with dark-colored nails, you can try using a flashlight or holding the nail up to a light source. It will help you to you see through the nail. Besides, you can trim a tiny bit of the nail at a time and look at the cross-section of the nail.

If you accidentally cut the quick, it can be painful for your dog, and it can cause bleeding. However, there are several things you can do to stop the bleeding. One option is to apply a styptic powder or cornstarch to the nail. It can help to stop the bleeding quickly. 

Step 3: Gradual Trimming

To avoid breaking your dog’s patience, it’s best not to try trimming all their nails at once. Give your dog little breaks and try again later. Try to treat broken nails too. Always trim small amounts of the nail at a time, especially if you’re unsure of the location of the quick. This way you can avoid cutting into the quick and causing discomfort to your dog. 

Cut at a 45-degree angle and avoid cutting straight across, as this can cause the nail to split. If you’re unsure about how much to trim, it’s better to err on the side of caution and trim less.

Furthermore, it’s better to become familiar with the tools before attempting to trim your dog’s nails. You can even trim your dog’s nails at home without clippers if you prefer. If you do choose to use clippers, there are two types to consider: scissors and guillotine. 

Guillotine clippers are recommended for those with pain or arthritis. Scissor clippers are better for cutting thicker nails on larger dogs.

Step 4: Offering Praise and Rewards

After trimming each nail, reward your pet with a treat and lots of praise. This will help them associate nail trimming with positive experiences. It’s a good idea to mix up high-value and low-value treats to keep things interesting. For better behavior and patience, offer high-value treats. It will assure your dog that they’re doing well. These treats can also be used as a distraction to keep your pet calm and focused during the nail-trimming process.

Step 5: Post-trimming Care

To trim your dog’s nails, you will need a good quality clipper and styptic powder. In case you cut the nail too short. First, get your dog used to having their paws handled and choose a comfortable area to work in. Hold your dog’s paw and clip a small piece of the nail at a time, avoiding the pink quickly. 

Check for bleeding and apply styptic powder if necessary. Give your dog treats and praise, and file any rough edges. Repeat the process every few weeks.

Post-trimming Care for dogs

On top of that, keep an eye on your dog for any signs of discomfort or limping after trimming their nails. By any chance, if you cut the quickly and the bleeding persists, seek veterinary attention. With a little practice, nail trimming can become a routine part of your dog’s grooming routine. It will keep their paws healthy and comfortable.

Managing Long Nails After Neglecting Trimming

Did you neglect the dog’s nail trimming? You shouldn’t have done that. It’s better to keep your dog’s nails trimmed to avoid discomfort and potential injury. Here are some simple steps you can take if you’ve neglected regular nail trimming:

Creating a Nail Trimming Schedule

Why should you create a nail trimming schedule? Regular nail trimming helps prevent overgrowth, splitting, and other nail problems. Here’s how to create a schedule:

  • Consider your Dog’s Breed: Different dog breeds have different nail growth rates. Consult with your veterinarian to determine how often your dog’s nails should be trimmed.
  • Mark Your Calendar: Schedule a regular time to trim your dog’s nails and mark it on your calendar. Stick to the schedule as closely as possible.

Example: Here’s an example of a nail trimming schedule you can use for your dog:

Month 1: Trim nails
Month 2: Rest
Month 3: Trim nails
Month 4: Rest

Identifying the Necessary Nail Trimming Materials

To trim your dog’s nails, you’ll need the right tools. Here are some necessary materials:

  • Nail Clippers: Choose a clipper that’s appropriate for your dog’s size and breed.
  • Styptic Powder: This powder helps stop bleeding in case you accidentally cut the quick.
  • Treats: Use treats to reward your dog for good behavior during nail trimming.

Making Dog Pedicures a Habit

Here are some suggestions for integrating nail trimming into your dog’s regular care routine:

  • Make it a Positive Experience: Use treats and positive reinforcement to make nail trimming a fun and rewarding experience for your dog.
  • Incorporate It into Your Routine: Schedule nail trimming at the same time as other grooming tasks, such as bathing or brushing.
  • Stay Consistent: Stick to your nail trimming schedule to help make it a habit for both you and your dog.

Tips to Make It Fun

Trimming your dog’s nails can be a stressful experience for both you and your pet. Here are some tips to make it more enjoyable:

  • Play Calming Music: Calming music can help relax you and your dog during the nail trimming process.
  • Make it a Game: Incorporate nail trimming into a game of fetch or tug-of-war.
  • Use a Professional: If you’re having trouble trimming your dog’s nails, consider taking them to a professional groomer for help. for dogs.

Which Method is Better for Trimming Dog Nails

When it comes to trimming dog nails, there are two main methods: Cutting and Grinding. Each method has its own pros and cons, which are outlined in the table below:

pro & cons for trimming Dog Nails method

Cutting Method


  • Quick and easy
  • Less risk of causing pain or discomfort to the dog


  • Risk of cutting the nail too short, leading to bleeding and pain
  • Requires some skill and practice to avoid cutting the quick

Grinding Method


  • Less risk of cutting the nail too short
  • Smooths the nail’s edges


  • Can be time-consuming
  • Can cause discomfort or even pain if the nail is ground too short

The best method for trimming your dog’s nails will depend on your preferences and your dog’s specific needs. If your dog has very thick or tough nails, grinding may be more effective. However, if you are comfortable with cutting and can do so without causing pain or discomfort, this method may be quicker and easier.

If You Haven’t Trimmed Your Dog’s Nails in a While

If you haven’t trimmed your dog’s nails in a while, it can lead to overgrowth and curling of the nails. It can cause various issues such as altered movement and joint problems. Besides, long nails can cause property damage.

long nails are a problem

It can increase the risk of injury to both your dog and yourself. Here’s what you need to know. 

Overgrowth and Curling of Nails

When left untrimmed, a dog’s nails can grow too long, leading to overgrowth and curling. Overgrown nails can cause discomfort, and pain, and even affect the way your dog walks and stands. Long nails can also curl and grow into your dog’s paw pads, causing wounds, infections, and other issues.

Altered Movement and Joint Problems

Overgrown nails can also lead to altered movement and joint problems in dogs. Long nails can affect the way a dog walks, causing them to distribute their weight unnaturally and increasing the risk of joint and muscle strain.
Over time, this can lead to arthritis, which can cause chronic pain and discomfort in your furry friend.

Damage to Property

If your dog’s nails are too long, they can cause damage to your property, especially your floors, carpets, and furniture. Long nails can scratch and gouge surfaces, leaving unsightly marks and causing expensive damage that may require professional repair. 

Risk of Injury

Untrimmed nails can also pose a risk of injury to your dog and others around them. Long nails can get caught on various objects, causing painful and potentially dangerous situations. Your dog can also accidentally scratch and injure themselves or others, especially children.

How to Prevent Nail Issues

Preventing nail issues in dogs is simple and requires regular nail trimming. Depending on your dog’s breed, size, and activity level, nail trimming should be done every two to six weeks.

What to Do If Your Dog Dislikes Nails Trimming 

Your adorable dog may not like trimming. In this case, trimming your dog’s nails can be frustrating for you and your furry friend. But don’t worry, you can try a few things to make it less stressful for them. Here are some tips:

  • Introduce the tools to your dog little by little. Make it a positive experience using treats and rewards.
  • Touch your dog’s feet and nails on a regular basis. Even when you’re not trimming them, to get them used to the sensation.
  • Use calming aids like lavender oil or a calming collar to help your dog relax.
  • Take breaks during the trimming process to give your dog time to calm down.
  • Consider getting help from a professional dog trainer or groomer. They have experience working with dogs that are afraid of nail trimming.

Consequently, you can use these strategies while trimming your dog’s nails. Always be patient and gentle with your dog. In this way, you can help them feel more comfortable. Also, you can make the nail trimming experience less stressful for both of you.

Key Things to Remember When Trimming Overgrown Dog Nails

Trimming overgrown dog nails is important for your dog’s health and comfort. Here are some key things to remember when trimming overgrown dog nails:

  • Use sharp and proper nail clippers designed for dogs.
  • Cut small sections of the nail at a time to avoid hitting the quick.
  • If the nail is too long, consider trimming it bit by bit over several sessions.
  • Stay calm and patient during the process to avoid stressing your dog.
  • Reward your dog with treats and positive reinforcement. It will create a positive association with nail trimming.

If you are unsure or uncomfortable with the trimming process, take a break. Seek the help of a professional groomer or veterinarian, if you can’t do it by yourself.

Do Dogs Feel Pain When You Cut Their Nails?

Yes, dogs can feel pain during nail trimming if the trimming is not done correctly. When the nails are cut too short, it can result in bleeding and cause the dog pain and discomfort. Besides, your dog might have had a bad experience with nail trimming in the past. Eventually, it may develop fear or anxiety about the process.

Besides, make sure to reduce discomfort during nail trimming, to do that, use proper trimming tools and techniques. You can use sharp, high-quality clippers. Cutting a small amount of the nail at a time can help avoid cutting quickly. Since it’s the sensitive part of the nail that contains nerves and blood vessels.

Furthermore, the caregiver should also remain calm and gentle during the process. You’ll have to reward the dog with treats and praise. It will create a positive nail-trimming experience. If the dog is particularly anxious or fearful, using a calming aid such as lavender oil or a calming collar can also help ease their discomfort.


So far, we have provided a step-by-step guide on how to trim overgrown dog nails. We have covered the importance of regular nail trimming for dogs. It includes preventing discomfort and pain, maintaining good posture, protecting floors and furniture, and keeping owners safe.

Also, the frequency of trimming depends on several factors such as the breed of the dog, their activity level, and the surface they walk on. This piece provides a step-by-step guide on how to trim dog nails that are overgrown. 

It includes preparation, and locating the quick, and gradual trimming. Besides, it emphasizes the importance of being cautious and understanding your dog’s behavior and body language.