How to Clip Dog Nails Without Making Them Bleed!

Here is a quick post that will give you some tips on clipping your dog’s nails. Most of the important information will be found in the embedded video.

I decided to do a video on cutting nails, because I realized that too many dogs are unnecessarily traumatized during the process. Although, it is good to have styptic powder, corn starch, or another solution available to help with clotting the blood from a nail clipped too short – it should not be considered the norm to always clip the nails until they bleed.

From a dog training point of view it is nearly impossible to desensitize a dog to nail clipping if the nails are consistently cut too short and the blood vessel “nicked” every time it must be done.

It is highly recommended that you use counter conditioning with any dog that has had bad experiences with nail clipping in the past. To do this simply give a treat after each nail is clipped. Some dogs may be extra difficult and require more gradual counter conditioning – whereas they are giving a treat after you simply touch the paw. Then, work your way up to touching the nails and then maybe clipping just one nail per session.

Of course it doesn’t hurt, and i suggest, to condition your dog to enjoy having his/her nails trimmed even if there was never a bad experience to begin with. Therefore, I recommend using the same technique of treating the dog after each nail is clipped as you would if you were counter conditioning the dog from a bad experience.

If anyone has any other tips or thoughts to add, please feel free to comment.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy the video below:

41 thoughts on “How to Clip Dog Nails Without Making Them Bleed!

  1. Stuart

    This video is so good and very well thought out. For years iv’e been trying to find a video as comprehensive as this but to my dismay they lack information and demonstrations. more power to you guys. I hope I can enroll in your site as soon as I can afford it. =)

  2. Jim

    Great video! Thanks. This was very helpful for me. I hope all dog owners will watch & learn from this. I like the way you handled Dixie and you did pretty good with Earl too. I think I’ll have to pass on your next video if it’s going to show how to cut Earls nails though. I’m not sure I’m ready for that. Keep up the good work!

  3. Heather Woodside

    Thank you for your illustrations and help! This really made sense to me with a dog with black nails. Great job, guys!

  4. Joyce

    Thank you for such an informative video! You guys did a great job!! I feel less worried about clipping my dog’s nails now.

  5. Vicki - dog groomer

    Cutting dogs nails can be very stressful for any dog and if a bleed occurs, also very stressful for the owner/groomer and this video will go a long way to educating a lot of people who jump in not knowing what they are doing. Great job guys !!!

  6. beth

    Great video..well done..makes me feel very confident ..thanks..now have done the nails ..turned out great ..my dog doesn’t hate me! You’re the best.

  7. G.Wallace

    I LOVE you guys and your vidio….. however…My Min Pin as well as my insane Chahuahua eat me alive the instant I come at them with clippers in hand. I have tried everything, nothing works. Their nails are almost complete circles now.
    They are otherwise loving sweet dogs. But THANK YOU for your wonderful vid. G

  8. Marls

    That is a brilliant video. I’m really nervous about cutting my German Shepherd’s nails, because they are all black. But you have explained it so well, that it has given me the confidence to go ahead and trim them. Love the humour!

  9. Fiona

    This cracked me up and also helped me out! You gents are cute and funny! DOUBLE WHAMMIE! Lucky Dixie!

  10. melissa

    Nice video thank you! By the way that dog’s back feet are so cute! I love dog’s little tootsies.. keep up the good work guys.

  11. Renee

    LOL Love this video!! I am currently in grooming school and always am nervous about clipping their nails! As a matter of fact, if I can get away with it, I don’t do it. I don’t feel my instructor has given me enough info but this video just gave me the confidence. Thanks guys

  12. Marlene

    Your video’s are very informative and a little funny which adds some humour. Enjoyable to watch
    Thanks Dog Trainers

  13. Tina Garuc

    Love this and all your videos, wish you were closer, taking my pit bull to a behaviorist next week, wish us luck.

  14. Lisa

    Great video, shows exactly what I needed…VERY cute dog by the way! She looks like my Jiggles!

  15. charlie

    well it looked very good. now to try it out. i have a gs and this will be a first for both of us. thanks again for an informative video and i will let you guys know how i did.

  16. Lori

    I’ve been surfing the internet for a long time looking for something like this. VERY well demonstrated! Trips to the groomers are too stressful for my dogs (and my checkbook!), so thank you. And I totally laughed a few times during this video. You two are funny! Thanks again!

  17. Anita

    Kudos to the two of you ! I have never come upon your site or videos before and am glad I did today.
    You made a very good video that is not only informative but funny as well. I feel much more confident to do my girls nails now. Wish me luck…………………..

  18. Sam

    I just adopted two 8 week old pups! I want to thank you for your video. It definitely helped me lower my anxiety in trimming their nails. You guys are the best!

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  20. Scott

    I found the canoe analogy very helpful…Yet the RACIST “indian” remarks are uncalled for! Before the Spanish dumped their horses here, Native Americans relied solely on the dog, for hunting, beasts of burden, etc…they would even allow their dogs to sleep in childrens beds during cold weather… farther North, the Inuit relied on a powerful breed used for sledding as well as hunting. So I think that you should reconsider your ignorance and give the First Peoples of this land a little more respect! Especially when it come to dogs.

  21. Mike Post author

    What is racist about drawing an Indian in a canoe?! Is that somehow hateful? Are they not the ones who are credited with the development of the most well known versions of canoes? I’ll put an Italian eating pizza in it next time if it makes you happy and less paranoid that it was anything other than a silly, yet, helpful analogy.

  22. Claudia

    That made me laugh AND taught me something! On to the clipping!
    Thanks alot – you two crack me up.

  23. Vald

    Awesome vid! Really helped me a lot. I do have a different trimmer compared to what you have but I got the idea. On the other note, I didn’t notice any racist remarks when I first watched the vid. I guess some people are so sensitive and make a big deal out of silly stupid stuff. Maybe perhaps a Viking on a boat? Lol. Thanks guys!

  24. Eric

    Wow!!!!! These guys are using the word “Indian” when then PC way is Native American and what makes it worse is that they are mocking the Native Americans by making a noise with their hand and mouth. Just so you know Indian people are from India! Get it right!

  25. Dave

    Just a hint that will calm the dogs down when cutting their nails put a muzzle on and have treats in hand. Worked great with our Rat Terrier

  26. Mike M

    Thanks for this video guys, I’ve got a 9 year old Yorkie and just noticed he had an abnormally long Dew claw (only on his right paw, so I’m guessing it was missed when he last was groomed). This was the first appropriate link I found when I searched for how to clip a dog’s nails, and I’m glad I did. Wouldn’t have known about the quick otherwise, which could’ve been disastrous!

  27. Dana

    Thanks for this video! I actually laughed out loud at the end…thanks, Dicks! But seriously, I’m preparing to trim my puppy’s nails for the first time and watching the video has given me the confidence I need! Thanks again!

  28. Ashley

    Thanks guys! I have a bit of anxiety on doing my guys nails as he has all dark ones but this technique puts that at ease as I know hes safer :) I thought it was awesome that you used both a diagram and a demonstration on a real dog to show how to follow through with it :)

  29. Mike Post author

    Eric, I apologize for my ignorance. For now on I will only play Cowboys and “Native Americans” with my kids. I will also redo the video to show a “Native American” wearing a suit and driving a sports car toward a casino he owns. Instead of clipping the tip of the canoe, you will clip only the SPOILER off the car.

  30. Pat Piotrowski

    Watched the nail clipping & ear cleaning videos. I’ve been putting this off for quite awhile. I have 2 overweight mini Dachshunds. One has very long black curved nails & yeast infection in his ears. The other one has pretty clean ears & much shorter clearer nails. I had them groomed about 5 months ago and the dog with the clearer nails had one nail that bled all over my house. So after watching your videos, I feel much more confident in clipping and cleaning them myself. Thanks for your help, I think I’m going to put you guys on my desktop so I can find you fast.

  31. Linda

    One thing I thought you might have included was this: If a dog’s nails are very long, the quick grows out along with the nail. You said not to try to clip that all at once, which if you only clip off the end, that is accomplished. But what I have heard suggested is to clip the end of it more often, as the quick will recede as each clipping is done. This will help people whose dog’s nails have grown long. Be persistent, and you will have shorter nails soon.

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