(These notes are for guidance only. Please ensure that you seek veterinary advice to avoid hurting or injuring your dog during claw-clipping.)

Although most dogs do not enjoy having their claws clipped, it is sometimes necessary as allowing them to grow too long can cause other health problems in the paws and even further up in the legs. It is best to start with a regular clipping routine whilst a dog is young so they become accustomed to it and aren’t scared or nervous. If a dog is confident and happy, they may well sit on your lap or quietly on a table while you clip their claws. Other dogs may need to be carefully restrained to prevent sudden movements during the clipping session. You may need to ask someone to help you by holding your dog while you clip their claws.

Firstly, make sure you have the right tool for the job. Buy some high-quality dog claw clippers and keep them sharp and in good repair. There are two types available, a guillotine type and a scissor type. Many dog owners agree that the guillotine type is easier to use. The scissor type is more often used for curling claws such as the dew claw, to clip it and stop it from ingrowing, although the claw can usually be gently pulled away from the skin to allow the guillotine clippers to be slid over the claw for cutting purposes. The cutting blade on guillotine cutters should be replaced immediately when they begin to lose their sharpness.

Dark-colored or multi-colored claws should be cut carefully to avoid cutting into the “quick”, the live area of the claw that contains the blood vessels and nerves. Cut the claw in several tiny pieces – as you cut, look carefully at the cross-section of the claw. When you see a grey-pink oval begin to appear at the top of the cut surface, you should stop cutting as you are approaching the quick.

In paler claws, the quick can be seen through the claw so it obvious where to cut. Never cut closer than 2mm of the quick as this may hurt your dog or make the claw bleed. If in doubt, ask your vet for advice or assistance.