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How to Care for Your Dog’s Nails

By Heather Russell-Revesz

Click! Click! Click! Click! That’s the sound of your dog’s paws coming toward you from the next room. Although you’re thrilled to see him, that noise is likely an indication that your furry friend’s nails have grown a bit too long and it’s time for a trim. 

Many pet parents dread cutting their dog’s nails. Why? It’s the one grooming task that presents the small chance of causing pain, and no one wants that. This is why the right tools and techniques are essential for this important task.


  • Nail clippers: Magic Coat® Safety Nail Clippers  come in a variety of sizes and feature a rubberized safety grip and a bar to prevent over-trimming.
  • Styptic pen or powder: Both help stop the bleeding if you accidentally nick the quick, the blood vessel running through the nail. The Four Paws® Quick Blood Stopper styptic powder and gel instantly coat the area to control bleeding from nail cutting.
  • Treats: Use treats to reward your dog after you’ve clipped his nails.


1. Allow your dog to sniff the clipper so that he gets used to it. Give him a few treats when he shows an interest in the clippers.
2. Place your dog in a sit or down, whichever is more comfortable for both of you.
3. Take a paw in your hand and fit the clippers over the nail. Cut the very tip of the nail—just a few millimeters. 
4. Avoid the quick. If you accidentally cut it, the nail will bleed, which will cause a little pain. The quick is easy to see on dogs with light nails—it’s the pink line in the center. The quick isn’t visible on dark nails, so cut a very small bit each time to avoid nicking it. If you do cut the quick, use the styptic pen or powder to help stop the bleeding.
5. Give your dog a treat for staying nicely while you trimmed his nails.

Don’t worry if you can’t get all of the nails at once. If your dog will only sit still for a couple of nails at a time, that’s fine. Just keep track of where you left off and keep trying.


How often you clip your dog’s nails depends on how much his nails get worn down with exercise or by walking on rough surfaces. Check the nails routinely; if they’re too long, they can cause the feet to splay or can catch on something and hurt your dog’s paws.

Four Paws®, Magic Coat®, and Wee-Wee® products are available at major pet stores everywhere in the U.S. Please check with your local retailer or our Where to Buy page for product availability near you.