How often to trim dog nails

How Often to Trim Dog Nails – How to Use Dog Nail Clippers

Are you wondering how often to trim dog nails? Do your dog’s nails scratch and click when walking on the floor at home? If it sounds like your dog is leaving big scratch marks on the floor then it is time to cut the nails.

Just as with humans, the dog’s nails (read: claws) also grow with time and if they are not worn down naturally, they will need to be trimmed.

For active dogs, those who run, dig and otherwise wear down their nails, you do not have to cut them more than once in a while.

For more passive dogs, and also puppies, however, you need to trim the nails more often.

how to use dog nail clippers

How Often to Trim Dog Nails?

There is no specific interval how often you should trim your dog’s claws. Generally, however, you need to cut the pups’ claws more often than an adult dog.

To determine how often to trim dog nails, look and listen for the following things:

  • Are the claws unusually long?
  • Are the claws worn or damaged?
  • Do they make clicking sounds on the floor when your dog walks?

If you have a puppy, you should generally cut the nails once a week.

How to use dog nail clippers
With puppies, it is generally adviced that you trim the nails regularly. This will help the dog getting used to the treatment and in the long run, will make it easier for you as the owner. (Photo: 3194556 /

This is no requirement in any way, but by cutting the puppy’s nails regularly he will learn that it is nothing to be afraid of and with time it will become easier.

What Happens if You Don’t Trim Your Dogs Nails?

Good question – what if you don’t cut your own nails but just let them grow?

Just as with your own, long nails are easier to bend and break off, this can be a painful story. The same goes for your dog.

Long claws are easier to get caught up in things, which can cause them to damage or break.

Some dogs have problems with brittle claws, which makes them extra sensitive if they are too long. If your dog’s claws break easily, be sure to keep them short by cutting the claws regularly.

A claw that is broken does not have to be a problem, but it depends a little on in what way it is broken. A clean break is no danger, just cut the claw so that it does not have any sharp edges.

If, on the other hand, it starts to bleed, if the claw is pointing in the wrong direction or if the dog starts to limp and shows signs of pain, you may need to seek out the vet. In the worst case, the claw may need to be removed.

How to Use Dog Nail Clippers – Step by step

Cutting the claws on your dog can feel awkward, both for yourself and the dog. Many dogs think it is an unpleasant experience.

Buy high-quality pliers – it will make the process much easier!

The first thing you need before cutting your dog’s claws is sharp pliers that are adapted to the size of your dog. I use the Resco Deluxe Nail Clippers that I bought from Amazon. It stays sharp for a long time and simple to use both for beginners and more experienced dog owners. Just make sure you get the model appropriate for the size of your dog, they come in two different models, Large and Regular.

Dull pliers squeeze the claw and it will not be a clean cut. A dull plier can be a reason why your dog does not like to have their claws cut.

How to Cut Your Dog’s Claws

  • Make sure the dog is calm and relaxed – You will need to hold the dog’s paws which is much easier if the dog is comfortable. I usually cut the claws when we got home from a long walk because then Baxter is so tired that he just doesn’t care.
  • Get a good, firm grip of the dog’s paw so that you clearly see the claws – Make sure you have good lighting so you see what you are doing.
  • Start by cutting a little at a time – Be careful not to cut too far in, then you can access the pulp which can hurt and cause it to start bleeding. If your dog has bright claws, it is quite easy to see where the pulp begins, you see the color change in the claw. But if your dog has black claws it is harder – just be careful and cut a little at a time and you will be fine.

Describing how to properly trim your dog’s nails is easier in video format, so here is a great video from Dog Psychology 101. Remember to be careful, don’t force the trimming and do everything you can to keep your dog calm and relaxed.

My Dog Bites When Cutting Nails

I mentioned it before but just using sharp pliers can make a huge difference. One tip is to try and use a basket muzzle, it helps protect both you and your dog. But don’t force it on your dog, be gentle and make sure there’s no tension between the two of you.

If your dog gets stressed or scared as soon as you bring out the pliers, you need to get the dog to calm down and relax. I know – easier said than done.

My experience with dogs who are afraid of having their nails trimmed is to just take it easy. Make sure both you and the dog are calm. Then cut a little at a time, it’s OK if you are not able to cut all the claws at once.

It is better if the dog does not experience the situation as stressful but gets a positive experience. Reward the dog and show that it has been good. Over time, it will only be easier and easier.


To summarize this article, we have covered when, and how often to trim dog nails. It is important to not neglect your dog’s needs and make sure they have trimmed and healthy nails.

For puppies, it is generally a good idea to trim them regularly, once a week to help them getting used to the procedure. This will make it easier for you when your puppy gets older.

We recommend you use a sharp pair of pliers, as dull pliers will cause more harm than good for your dog. A great set of pliers are the Resco Deluxe Nail Clippers for Dogs, available on Amazon.

Tip: If you have a hard time trimming your dog’s nails, try doing it after a long walk or intense training pass, as he will be too tired to even bother afterwards.

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