Hearing your dog’s nails clicking on the floor is a good sign that it’s time for a clip. Really, the nails should be even with the pawpad, and anything beyond that should be trimmed. Nails that are too long can put unnecessary stress on your dog’s paw by forcing weight onto the back of the pad. Long nails can also scratch skin, furniture, and other objects.
Many owners are afraid to trim their dog’s nails because they don’t want to hurt him. To help ease your fears, familiarize yourself with the anatomy of the nail and exactly how to complete a clipping before getting started for the first time. Inside the center of the nail is the “quick,” which is easily visible through clear, white nails. You definitely do not want to cut into the quick. Cut the nail below the quick at a 45 degree angle. If you inadvertently cut into the quick, it will bleed profusely, so be sure to have a blood-clotting product on hand, such as silver nitrate. Once you get used to it, cutting your dog’s nails should be as easy as cutting your own, so you should be able to do it quickly and easily, with no fear of hurting your dog.
Purchase a nail trimmer specifically designed for dogs. To trim the nails on the front feet, make sure your dog is sitting, lift and hold one foot about 6 inches or so off the ground, and then start trimming. To trim the nails on the back feet, have your dog stand, lift the foot about 6 inches off the ground, and then trim.