Outside view of VIDA Building

Trimming Your Dog’s Nails

Woman holding a dog's paw. Image credit: Ivan BabydovSeptember 2022


Some dogs hate having it done and many dog owners hate doing it. But nail trimming is a simple procedure any pet owner can do. It’s also important. When a dog’s nails get too long it can cause their paws to splay, which can lead to tendon issues. Long nails can also get caught on things more easily, leading to toe, paw, or leg injuries. You may have noticed that your dog’s nails are curved. If left untrimmed for too long, they can actually curve under the paw and cause considerable pain. And beyond your dog’s comfort, long nails can damage your floors.

How do you know it’s time to trim your dog’s nails? If they touch the ground when your dog is standing on a hard surface, it’s time for a trim.

Having the right equipment certainly helps. If you need to purchase canine nail clippers, be sure to match the size of your dog to the size of the clippers. And avoid bargain clippers. A quality pair will make the job easier and stay sharper longer.

One of the first things you can do to get your dog more comfortable with nail trimming is to regularly touch or even massage their paws in a gentle way. It’s best to begin this when they’re a puppy, but it’s never too late to start.

From there, let them sniff your clippers and then touch the clippers to each paw. Give them praise and a treat. Once they’re comfortable with that, try trimming off the tiniest tip from one nail and then give them praise and a treat. Continue tiny clips on additional paws; making sure you don’t advance the process until your dog is comfortable.

Nail Trimming Steps

  1. Sit behind or along side your dog, so you’re facing the same direction.
  2. Pick up a paw and firmly, but gently, place your forefinger on the toe’s pad and your thumb on the top of the toe.
  3. Push your forefinger up and backward on the pad while pushing your thumb forward to extend the nail away from the foot.
  4. Be sure your dog’s fur isn’t in the way.
  5. Clip the tip of the nail straight across.
  6. Avoid clipping past the curve of the nail or you risk hitting the area of the nail that contains blood vessels. A nick there is painful to your dog and will bleed.
  7. Be sure to speak to your dog calmly and praise them throughout the process.
  8. It also helps to finish up by smoothing off any rough edges with a canine nail file.

At VIDA, we feel pets are an important part of our lives and families, so we welcome them. If you are thinking of getting a pet, please reach out to our leasing office for information about our pet-friendly policies. Just call 585-400-VIDA (8432).