Tips from a Pro for doing your dog’s nails the right way.

Many dog owners know the pain that can be caused by long nails on their beloved pupper. The excited little fellas love to jump around and can scratch you, which can be quite painful, or even tear at your favorite clothes, or scratch the paint on your front door as they watch you leave for work. This can be quite bothersome and the most common solution is to trim those talons.

Not everybody has experience with trimming their dog’s nails and they might be worried about hurting them. It’s true that dog’s have a very sensitive area inside their nails called the quick. Accidentally nicking the quick can draw blood and often a yelp from your pupper and may make you feel guilty and discourage you from doing their nails yourself, instead opting to pay a professional to do their nails for you.

Well lucky for me and you, my readers, my sister, Leeanna, just so happens to be a professional groomer. I brought Maple to her today to get her nails done and to get some tips from a pro about the best way to go about the process.

As you can see from the pictures, Leeanna does not bother using clippers, but instead prefers a dremel for the entire process. This helps her measure the trim more accurately than clippers do and approach the process with more precision and delicacy.

Her own four dogs, Bear, Aurora, Levee, and Diesel are used to the process and sit calmly while she does their nails. Maple is a different story. She is mostly good, but the sound of the grinder makes her jumpy, so she needs me to hold her body while my sister isolates her paws one at a time, doing each nail with professional speed and accuracy, without ever coming close to hurting the almost two year old puppy.

The entire process is quick and painless for everybody taking no more than 3-5 minutes to complete from start to finish. It’s always a good idea to have some treats around to give to the dog periodically to keep them complacent. And having two people involved definitely reduces the chances of the pupper jumping or jerking and potentially leading to them getting injured.

The first thing Leeanna does is isolate the paw using her hand to hold it firmly near the nails. She uses her fingers to maneuver around each individual toe, holding it firm and steady as she grinds away the nail.

She moves the dremel from the bottom of the nail to the top in one quick motion. She starts with one motion straight in the front of the nail, and then follows up by grinding at each side. One straight, one left, one right. This creates a kind of point where she can measure her closeness to the quick as she grinds the nail down. She suggests that after the first three grinds, to go from side to side. This gives you the chance to spot the quick without hurting it if you do end up going that far.


  • Use two people if your dog is jumpy, one to hold the pupper, and one to take care of the nails
  • Isolate the paw with a firm and steady grip to keep the doggo from jerking it around
  • Isolate each nail one at a time using your fingers to separate them making them easy to grind at
  • Use a dremel instead of clippers to allow you to round off the nails while also giving you a chance to properly measure your dog’s nails without going in too far
  • Start the grind from the bottom of the nail to the top
  • One motion straight from the front to shorten it and give it a flat end, removing the point
  • One motion to the left-front and one to the right-front to give you a duller “point” to work the nail down
  • Keep grinding on the left side front to back and then on the right front to back, to allow you to spot the quick without damaging it if you do go too far back
  • Round out the front as you go
  • Keep your dremel under 15k RPM and tap the nails, feeling them occasionally so as to avoid friction burn. Don’t tap too much as that can make your dog jerk. Use smooth motions with your thumb as a guide, pressing down from the top of the toe, to help you avoid the pad.
  • If you hit the quick, don’t panic. It will probably draw some blood and a yelp, but it isn’t something to worry too much about. The dog will likely be fine within a few minutes. Flour can stop the bleeding, then wash the flour off. You may want to apply some antibiotic and keep the dog from licking it to avoid infection.

It’s that simple. If done correctly, it should only take a few minutes to complete and your dog will leave happy and with duller claws that will do far less damage to skin, clothes and paint. How often you trim your dog’s nails is really up to you, and depends on how fast your dog’s nails grow. Of course, not all dogs will react so passively around power tools and may require other methods of nail care and grooming, which I will cover in a later article. As with most pupper advice, this is not a one size fits all method, so use your own judgement and experience when caring for your furry friend.

Here’s a few fun facts about your dog’s nails. Dogs nails actually grow from the last bone in their toes, making them technically claws. They are made of a substance called keratin, which is a protein, and is the same substance that your hair is made of. You may notice as you grind their nails, the smell of burning hair. That is no coincidence. Also, black nails tend to have a stronger scent than white nails as they are grinded.

Here are all the puppies at my grandma’s house right now.

We have Maple, of course. Only visiting. I believe she is a mix of boxer and coonhound.

This is Levee. My sister rescued him from the levee when her husband got his truck stuck in the sand. He is a mix of dachshund and beagle. Learn more about Beagles here.

This is Bosco, my grandmother’s dog. She didn’t realize when she rescued him that he was a mix of black mouth cur and great dane. He’s only nine months old and the biggest dog in the house.

This is Aurora. She is the leader of the pack and keeps everyone in check. She is a great pyrenees and husky mix.

This is Bear, Aurora’s first brother in the pack. For a couple years, they were the only two in the family. He is a shepherd, lab, rottweiler mix.

And finally, we have Diesel. He’s the bad boy of the bunch, never truly satisfied with his position in the pack, and always wanting to assert his dominance. The best guess we have to his breed is a pitt lab mix.

As always thank you for reading my blog. Be sure to check out the Pupper Blog’s other social media pages. Like this page and share it with your friends, and subscribe if you’ve found the information helpful. Leave a comment to let me know what you think or if you have any other tips for doing your dog’s nails. My internet is still down, but I will make it just fine. Thank you everybody who reads this, and as always take good care of your pupper.

Published by jdleeabc

I am a lover of animals, especially dogs. I am a blogger and clothing designer and a freelance writer.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: