When And How To Cut Dogs Nails That Are Too Long

Last Updated on August 30, 2021 by Marco

Figuring out when and how to cut dogs nails that are too long can be tricky. In fact, you may be wondering why you should even bother in the first place. Surprisingly, there are a lot of great reasons to do so. Some are health-related and others are purely practical for your household.

Unfortunately, cutting your dog’s nails can be tricky if you’ve never done it before. So, below we’ll go over the why, when, and how of dog nail clipping and trimming.

How To Cut Dog Nails That Are Too Long?

There are two common and easy ways for how to cut dogs nails that are too long – clipping and trimming. Both have their pros and cons and choosing between them is usually a matter of personal preference.

With either method, you’ll want your dog to be calm, happy, and preferably laying on its side. You may want to have a family member or friend distracting the dog with a treat or something else.

How To Clip Dog Nails?

This is as straightforward as clipping human nails. In fact, you can even use a standard nail clipper if it’s sturdy enough. Alternatively, there are “guillotine-style” dog nail clippers that some find more comfortable.

Clipping your dog’s nails is all about making sure that you don’t cut the “quick”. The “quick” are the blood vessels and nerve endings inside your dog’s nails. They are typically visible with a naked eye, so, the main risk is your dog moving in the last possible moment and getting its own quicks cut. If/once the dog is used to the process, however, there should be no problems.

How To Trim Dog Nails?

Trimming is usually done with a standard human nail file or the more innovative dog nail grinder. With this method, cutting the dog’s quick is basically impossible. This also allows you to round up the nails’ edges. However, this process is also slower and noisier.

Additionally, you can consider combining the two methods – first, clip the nails short and then smooth their edges with a nail grinder.

 how to trim dog nails

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Why Bother Cutting Your Dog’s Nails?

There are surprisingly many problems that can be caused when faced with the “dogs nails too long” problem. These include both health problems for your dog and practical problems for your home. Here are some examples:

  • Discomfort – this is the smallest problem your dog can experience. Simply put, long nails can make it uncomfortable for your dog to walk and force it to change its gait.
  • Tendon injuries – if your dog has changed its walking pattern because its nails are uncomfortably long, this can lead to tendon problems down the line.
  • Deformed feet – in extreme cases, a bad walk can lead to outright deformities in your dog’s feet.
  • Floor and furniture damage – if you’ve got soft floors or expensive furniture, your dog’s long nails can easily damage them. Even if you taught your pooch to b careful, it just can’t be helped with the nails are too long.
  • Annoying noise – the signature *trak-trak-trak” noise of a long-nailed animal can be cute at first. However, they always get boring and annoying after a while.

Why Don’t Stray Dogs, Wolves, and Their Other Undomesticated Relatives Need Their Nails Cut?

The “natural” way for dogs to trim their own nails is by simply running on dirt for hours every day. So, an outdoor animal doesn’t need its nails clipped because they’ll be kept short at all times anyway. However, if your dog spends most of its time indoors, nail clipping can become necessary. Dogs don’t really use scratching posts the way cats do, unfortunately.

When Should You Cut Or Trim Your Dog’s Nails?

Usually, trimming your dog’s nails once a week or once every two weeks is recommended. But, if you’re looking for a “symptom” of long nails, we’d say – when you start hearing your dog’s nails on the floor.

Other Alternatives To Cutting Dogs Nails

If you really don’t want to or can’t deal with your dog’s nails manually, there is one good alternative – more time outdoors. As we said, the extra time outdoors is the reason most wild animals don’t need to cut or trim their nails. So, give your pooch more time in the dog park or the yard, and the long nails problem will solve itself.

However, if you don’t have time for more than a couple of walks if your dog is the indoors-type if its too old, or if there are other reasons why more outdoor time isn’t an option – then you’ll have to deal with your dog’s nails manually.

Should You Go To A Professional Groomer To Get Your Dog’s Nails Cut?

This is certainly something groomers do, among other things. Then again, even the best groomer can have trouble clipping a dog’s nails if the pooch is obstinate about it. All in all, going to a groomer just for your dog’s nails can be a bit of overkill. However, if you have other grooming needs too, a good groomer can help you out a lot.


In Conclusion – How To Cut Dogs Nails That Are Too Long?

As you can see, cutting or trimming your dog’s nails isn’t nearly as outlandish as it sounds at first. It’s a perfectly natural and healthy practice. Unfortunately, it can also be a bit difficult if it’s your first tie.

This is especially true with adult and older dogs who have never had their nails clipped. More self-minded, disobedient, and/or fearful dogs can also present certain problems. When that’s the case, you’ll need to spend some extra time getting your dog used to the nail clippers, file, and/or grinder.

It’s helpful to “introduce” the dogs and the item first, show the dog how the item looks and sounds. Giving your dog treats to show that the clippers/grinder are “good” is also advisable. Once the pooch is comfortable enough, simply start cutting its nails slowly and carefully. And, of course, if it proves impossible, you can always take a quick trip to the groomer.

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