How to Trim Dog Nails That Are Overgrown

Nobody likes to cut their dog’s nails. Nobody. But when they get long, they get unhealthy and bad for your dog. So suck it up, here’s how to trim dog nails that are overgrown.

First Thing, Don’t Cut to the Quick

Dog nails are different than humans in a number of ways. The most important is that dog nails contain a quick. The quick is a nerve and vein that runs through the nail.

If you cut a dog’s nail that includes the quick, it will be painful for your dog and it will ooze blood.

So our goal in trimming overgrown dog nails is to do it without cutting the quick.

Effects of Long Dog Nails

The tricky part is that the longer you go without cutting your dog’s claws, the further the quick pushes toward the end of the nail.

This means the longer you go without trimming, the harder it will be to cut your dog’s nails without cutting the quick.

In addition, overgrown nails are bad for dogs. They can effect how a dog stands and can eventually get ingrown.

How to Trim Dog Nails That are Overgrown

It can be bad, but don’t beat yourself up. You are not alone.

You don’t like to cut your dog’s nails because your dog doesn’t like it either.

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Most dogs don’t like their nails being trimmed, and this makes the process difficult both for you and your dog.

There’s nothing worse than wrestling your dog with a pair of clippers in your hand.

The key comes in two parts. First, try to relax your dog as much as possible.

Second, break it down into small trimming sessions over time to Avoid nicking the quick and allowing the quick to recede.

Let’s get to the first part, relaxing your dog.

How to Trim dog nails that are overgrown

5 Tips to Make Trimming Dog Nails Easy

For future reference, you can train your puppy to get used to the sound of clippers and get your puppy used to having his feet handled.

You can also do that with an adult dog, but the earlier you start, the easier it is. Here are the 5 tips:

  1. Touch your pet’s paws frequently: Have your pet sit in front of you as you touch its feet. If you do this frequently, the dog will get used to placing the paws in your hands knowing that you are not doing to harm it. From this point, you can introduce the idea of trimming.
  2. Make the dog comfortable and relaxed: You need to cut the nails without a struggle, right? Then make your pet sit in the position that it likes most. This way it will feel less scared as opposed to holding it.
  3. Treat your pet well: Try the trick of treating your pet well as it lies relaxed in front of you. You can do this by giving it something like peanut or anything that it likes to lick. Its concentration will be minimal on the paws as you touch them and also put in some minimal pressure. Don’t trim at this stage let it get used to the pressure on the nails so that you can comfortably use the clipper on them next time.
  4. Start with front feet: Your pet will be at peace if it can see what you are doing on its nails. There is no restriction on this; you can as well start from whichever feet you are comfortable with.
  5. Work slowly: By working slowly you will ensure that you don’t injure your pet or that the nail doesn’t crack during trimming. Slow trimming will also help you to distinguish between the quick and the underneath of the nail.

Now that we have some tips to make the trimming easier, let’s cover the overgrown nails.

Cutting dog nails

How to Trim Overgrown Dog Nails

As I mentioned earlier, you can’t go in and just start clipping away if your dog’s nails are overgrown.

This is especially true if your dog doesn’t get out on hard surfaces outside much. Walking on pavement will naturally wear down a dog’s nails and provide some natural regulation.

If your dog doesn’t get out of the house or yard much, the nails will keep growing and the quick will keep filling up the nail.

Before you start make sure you can see the quick. Trim, but not to the quick.

The plan is going to be to trim little by little over the next few weeks. Be sure to wait in between clippings to give the nail time to grow and the quick to recede.

If possible, try to get your dog outside to encourage the natural wear on the nail.


Using these tips on how to trim dog nails that are overgrown, you can get your dog’s paws back on track. The challenge then will be to keep on top of it.

But I know you can, right? Especially after going through all that!

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