How To Trim Puppy Nails

Many pet owners find it hard to trim their pup’s nails without stiff protests from the pet. This is because they have not groomed the dog for this monthly practice. You should give your puppy her first nail trim when she is about a week old in her new home.

After that, you should give her regular nail trimming so that she becomes accustomed to the routine.

Your puppy’s nails would grow big enough to be trimmed every 3 to 4 weeks. If you don’t trim the nails regularly, the overgrown nails have a chance to leave scratches on your body. These could be completely unintentional.

For the puppy, it’s more harmful to have overgrown nails. These nails can get entangled in carpets, sofa covers, or any other sundry objects in the home, leaving the puppy with painful injuries.

Overgrown nails have a tendency to bend and they can bend just into the paws giving your puppy a deformed leg position and possibly some wounds, too. So, how to trim puppy nails? In this article, we are going to present all that you need to know about the subject.

Read on!

Paw-Friendly Conditioning

If you have not clipped the nails of your dog before, it is good that you learn about it. The first thing is to make your dog ready for this regular personal hygiene practice. It will help you prevent some of the common problems that most pet owners face when trying to clip their dog’s nails.

To ensure that your dog does not become clipper-phobic, you should make paw handling a regular feature of all positive interactions with the dog – petting and treating.

You should follow the following steps to handle the paw of the puppy and build confidence in her.

Begin with handling her paws once or twice a day.

Nothing more!

Then, increase the number of times you handle her paws. For a week, give as much contact to the puppy’s paws as possible. Handle her paws and say: you are doing good.

The next week, give him a nice treat at the level of her eyes. As he reaches out for the treat, give her paws a rub with the clipper.

On a similar second occasion, take the clipper over one of her nails and quickly squeeze the handles to cut one of her nails – just one.

The next day you can aim for two nails. Gradually, you can cover all the nails.

If your dog has a white nail, it is easy for you to do the trimming without cutting too close to the nail bed. But if she has a dark nail, you will have to be careful because the nail bed may not be visible easily.

During this entire process, don’t try to calm your dog if she protests. Try to be with her than at her. If clipping is too scary for her, use the files until she becomes comfortable with the clippers. You may find this a bit tedious but it pays off in the long run when the dog understands the need for clipping their nails.

A clipper-phobic dog can be a hard thing to deal with.

Types Of Nail Trimming

There are two ways you can trim the nails of your puppy — with a clipper or with a file.


The best clipper that you will find for your puppy could be a guillotine dog nail clipper. This is a no-fuss device to trim the nails of your puppy safely and comfortably. It isolates the nails clearly and performs a steady cut.


A file for filing the extra nail of your puppy can be bought from a pet store. It has the same look and feels that human nail files have. But its design is optimized for use on the dog’s nails. It has a sandpaper-like texture on a short stick or a rotating tool.

It files the nails not cut them. This makes it a safer option as there is no chance of cutting the nails more than they need to be.


Clipping: When clipping the nails of your puppy, you should be careful not to clip too close to the nail bed. That can result in bleeding. You should aim to cut from the point the nails start to bend. If there are any instances of dewclaw, don’t forget to trim those extra nails.


While filing the nail of your pet, you should take help a family member to pet him during the process, and also offer treats from time to time. This would keep your dog calm throughout the process.

This is important initially when you are trying to familiarize yourself with the filing. You should aim to file the same length of the nail as you would aim to trim. Take small intervals between the filings.

Nail Trimming Tools

You may need different kinds of nail trimmers for different use cases. For example, you may have small puppies, small breed dogs, large breed dogs, and adult dogs. To trip the nails of dogs of each of these categories, you may need specialized clippers.

Depending on what kind of pet you have, you should check out the pet shop and find the right kind of trimmer for your pet.

To begin with, if the puppy is too small, a clipper will not be the best option to trim her nails. It might tear or pull the nail rather than giving it a clean cut. A human nail trimmer may work better for such tiny pets.

Guillotine trimmers have one blade in them and they are supposed to perform better on small breeds. It is because the nails of small breeds are smaller and less tough.

For adult dogs of a larger breed, clippers with two blades are supposed to be a better choice. They may resemble a pair of scissors or hedge clippers. They are extra strong to deal with extra tough and large nails.

However, at the practical level, you may use what best suits your pets. A skilled person can use any of these nail trimmers on any of the dog types.

Final Thoughts

Overgrown nails are harmful to both you and your dog. Clipping the nails of your puppy regularly is a good practice that both you and your dog should adopt. To clip the nails without any problem, you need to groom your dog and also use the right tools and techniques.

We hope this guide would help you with these points.

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