Dog and puppy health care questions and answers, articles, videos and images

All About Nail Trims For Dogs And Cats
Pet Pedicure Info and Images

Learn about how to do a nail trim in a dog or cat,
when and why it should be done,
and how to stop the bleeding
 if you cut too close!

Kitten and cat health care questions and answers, articles, videos and images

 I'm getting a little tired of taking my 95 pound mixed-breed hound  to the vet's office to get his nails trimmed.  Hugo isn't happy about it either but it needs to be done about every 8 weeks.  They have to muzzle him and nobody's happy.
     Why can't I do this at home where Hugo will be more happy?  The vet says if I happen to trim a nail too short Hugo could do some severe bleeding.


Answer:    nail trim... why... how to do...
It's almost a necessity to sedate some dogs and cats for their nail trim, also called a pedicure, because of their self-protective nature regarding their paws and toes. Who's doing the pedicure on this big fellow? If the nail trim is really necessary it should be done in the safest and most compassionate way.
     Your dog may not need to have anybody trim his nails if you can walk him a few times a week on an abrasive surface such as a sidewalk, parking lot or gravel road.  Or try having someone tempt him with a treat while you trim one nail at a time.  If he starts fussing, let him go and a day or so later, trim another nail.  In other words, they don't need all the nails trimmed at the same time... do one a day and he'll look forward to his toenail-trimming treats.
      Your veterinarian can show you how and where to trim the toenails.  And if you happen to trim one too close and you slice the quick (the live inner core of the nail where the blood vessels and nerves reside), it is a simple matter to apply a blood clotting agent to stop the bleeding.
Doctor's Notes

Deep Pedicures
     Some dogs such as Bassets and Dachshunds have a deep pedicure done once or twice a year.  The dog is anesthetized and the toes nails are  scrubbed clean.  The nail is then purposely cut close to the toe and deep into the quick.  The doctor then provides clotting techniques to the deep pedicure site and the dog goes home with very short nails.

How often to do...
Most dogs of certain breeds never need  anything done with the toe nails.  It is not true that all dogs need a nail trim procedure.
Click on an image to view a larger version in a new window
a dog toe nail equipment used to trim pet toenails pet nail trimmers clotting powder should be available
Most dogs' nail ends dehydrate and flake  away, or the dog chews at the nails and shortens them without needing a nail trim.

1.  Electric Dremel tool
2.  Heavy duty circular scissors
3.  Common nail trimmer people use
4.  Suture scissors for pups and kittens
5.  RESCO brand of guillotine

Some people prefer to hold this kind of trimmer flipped over so the fingers move the blade stroke  Good idea to have some clotting materials handy such as this clotting powder seen above or styptic pencil or silver nitrate sticks
cat toe nail a cat nail trim walking has many benefits for man and dogs Sonny was one tough little Toy Poodle, and my best friend
The pink part of the nail, called the quick,  is the area of nerve and blood supply  Cats usually permit their nails to be trimmed and the quick is easy to avoid Walks or runs on abrasive surfaces keep the pad in good condition and the nails reasonably short Hard working dogs like little 
Sunny B. Bunzafur, Jr. (above)
seldom need a nail trim

From training sessions to bird feed to dog and cat supplies to pocket pets...

ID tags and thousands of other pet supplies including pet foods!
Amazing Amazon
1-800-PetMeds Pet Supplies Free Shipping $49
Huge selection of prescription and non-prescription medications for your pets

View all topics


View all topics

My groomer always trims my dog's toe nails and doesn't charge extra for it.  But if I have the vet do it there's a pretty big fee.  Why is there such a difference in price to have a nail trim done?

Silver nitrate sticks assist clotting of nails cut too short
Silver nitrate sticks can be helpful
 in stopping bleeding from a 
nail cut too short 

Answer:  nail trim... cost... price... groomer
Many groomers give their clients a set price for grooming each pet.  Obviously a fullgroomers do nail trims on dogs and cats, too bath, clipping, brush-out and nail trim will cost more on a Collie than the same service for a Wire-haired Fox Terrier.  So your groomer includes the time and trouble to do the pedicure in the "price of the grooming".  Most likely, if all you wanted your groomer to do is a nail trim there would be a service fee to do it.  A complimentary nail trim is often done, too, by groomers and veterinarians especially if it is done as a extra during another procedure.
     Keep in mind, too, that at most animal hospitals professional fees are generally higher than similar services at a groomer.  It's really no different from fee differentials among all sorts of professional businesses.  The lawyer may charge more per service or time than a guidance counselor who may charge fees
different from a neurosurgeon.
     Your dog may be easy to work with.  Some dogs, though, have to be managed with a muzzle and have three or more people holding it while the nails are trimmed.  Some dogs and cats actually have to be sedated for a proper pedicure to be performed.


LT - 031610 - 125x125 F&T



To purchase hi resolution images from our inventory of over 8,000 taken during actual veterinary practice, visit


What can I do to keep my dog's and cat's toe nails short without having to do nail trimming?


Answer:  shorter nails... what to do
If a dog or cat has dewclaws that do not contact the walking surface, these nails may need trimming to prevent them from growing back into the skin.  The other toe nails can be kept shorter by...
nail trim and pedicure   walking on abrasive surfaces such as sidewalks, parking lots, or gravel roadway
nail trim and pedicure   using a nail file or emery board as often as needed to gently rasp the nail tip back
nail trim and pedicure   using a commercial electric rotary abrasive such as a Dremel tool 


Call your veterinarian if your dog or cat displays any difficulty walking
 or displays inflammation
 of the paws or toes

Tell your friends about this site!

This site including all images are copyright of T J Dunn, DVM.
You may copy only the text of questions and answers for your own non-commercial use. 
Images can be requested or purchased through