Nail Trimming

It is all too common for even the sweetest pooch to turn into a wild ball of rage at the slightest hint that you’re going to cut their nails. Unfortunately, it is a necessary evil for most dogs, to avoid them splintering or snapping as they get too long, although many active dogs will wear down their nails themselves.

Ask For Advice

It is a good idea to ask a vet or a groomer to help you. Dog’s have a quick just like humans, that runs through the centre of the nails. In pale coloured dogs it can be seen as a pink blood vessel in the middle of the nail. If you trim too far and accidentally nick it, it will hurt the dog and bleed profusely, and can be difficult to stop without an astringent powder. In dogs with black nails it cannot be seen at all, and it can be tricky to know how far to trim without practise.

Choose a Clipper

There are many options for choosing a nail trimmer, so try out a few and find one that suits you and that you find easy to use. JW Grip Soft have a range of options.

  1. Guillotine – these are best for small to medium dogs. They are very easy to use, but do not have the force for larger dogs. There is a small hole to line the nail up in, and then squeezing the handles brings the blade across the hole and through the nail.
  2. Scissors – working just like a pair of scissors but with a rounded blade to more accurately cut the nail. These are the least expensive, but again are most suited to small dogs.
  3. Pliers – ranging in size and strength for different breeds, these are spring loaded, similar to a pair of hedge trimmers. They are still easy to use and have a bit more strength, but can fray very small nails.


Take it very slowly and carefully when you begin to trim their nails. By pairing gentle touching of their feet with treat rewards, you can avoid all the drama that commonly accompanies a pedicure. Over time, you can start to trim small amounts off their nails gently, one at a time so that they aren’t overwhelmed, and not forgetting to reward them plentifully for their cooperation.

If your dog is particularly frightened or struggling, it may be a good idea to ask a groomer or vet to help you. An ill-timed wiggle can result in an accidental cut too high up the nail, and the resultant pain may put them off for life. Alternatively, ask a positive based trainer to help you desensitise them to having their feet touched.

Most dogs have five claws, four on their pads and one further up inside the leg, called a dew claw. Generally they only have dew claws on the front legs, designed for gripping objects, but there are exceptions and some will have hind dew claws as well. These are particularly prone to curling around as they grow, so it is important to remember to trim them. Being up the leg they are often forgotten about.

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