How to cut black Dog nails

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**Dislcaimer : does not provide veterinary advice, nor does it claim to be an alternative to seeking professional advice. All content is therefore for informational purposes only.

How do I cut black dogs nails?

How to cut black Dog nails – I would go so far as to say, that the majority of Dog owners at some point or another, will have had a Dog which needs at least one of its nail’s clipped.  This can be an anxious time, for you and your Dog. Which is very Understandable.

Do Dogs Nails Need Clipping?

Your Dog’s nails will more than likely need clipping if you don’t tend to walk on concrete, or other hard surfaces very often. 

 Many Dog owners exercise their Dogs in fields, woodland or the beach, which is all great; however it isn’t always enough to keep the Dog’s Nails short on it’s own and they can get quite long.  It is definitely worth noting that long Dog Nails can be very painful for your Dog and can also lead to the Dog becoming lame.

What happens if my Dogs nails do get too long?

If your Dogs Nails do get too long, as I mentioned above, it can cause your Dog to become lame, and it can affect their paws, their wrist and inevitably it can lead to joint problems.  So it is better to aim to keep them short.

 A veterinary professional or a groomer will be able to show you how to keep your Dogs Nails at a good length.  (If you feel comfortable clipping your own Dogs nails)

What is a “Quick” in my Dogs nails?

Within your Dogs Nail is a blood vessel (often referred to as the Quick) and nerve.  If the Dog’s Nail is cut too short, this can lead to bleeding and pain for the Dog.

 How can I tell if I am close to the “Quick” when I cut my Dogs nails?

If you have a Dog with light coloured Nails, it is often easier to see the quick in your Dogs Nails as they are slightly transparent.  The quick will show as either a pinkish type hue to the Dog Nail, or can show as slight discolouration.  If you are unsure of how close you are to the quick, you could either:

  • Try taking a smaller amount of nail off to avoid risking clipping the quick


  • You could take your Dog to the groomer or vet nurse, and let them show you the best way forward.

**If you have a Dog with Dark Nails, you can sometimes see the Quick by shining a torch on the nail.  (Or have someone do that for you or use a head-torch like we do)**

Click here to view our own German Shepherd Dog having his Black Nails Cut, on our YouTube channel.

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Click here to see the type of Dog Nail clippers we use.  Or see video at bottom of page.

Then it is a case of clipping a little bit of Nail off at a time.  

Don’t be tempted to take a bigger bit, just small bits Often with Dark/ Black Dog Nails, after clipping some of the Nail away, you can see a hint of the Quick line, and I don’t recommend going further.  As above, if you are in any doubt at all, please do seek advice from a professional.

Will the Quick grow to the end of the my Dogs Nail?

If your Dogs Nails are long and haven’t been trimmed for a while, it may be the case that the Nail Quick has grown further down the Nail.  Caution is needed if this has occurred. 

How can I stop the Quick from growing in my Dogs Nails?

You can’t stop the Quick from growing in your Dogs Nails.  However, you CAN help it to recede back.

By trimming a small amount off your Dogs Nails each week or so, the Quick will slowly start to recede.

What should I do if I clip my Dogs Quick?

If you clip the Quick in your Dogs Nail, it may well bleed quite a lot and cause your Dog pain.  If it is bleeding, & you have a First Aid Kit for your Dog

you may already have a styptic pen/powder that you can use to help stem the bleeding.  (The First Aid Kit shown in the image is the one we use. Please click the image for detailed contents of the kit.)

If you don’t have a styptic pen then I would advice that you call the vet to check what would be a suitable alternative that would be safe to use on your Dog.  (Some people recommend using corn flour or ordinary flour, however, I would check first) Click the image for  details of the first aid kit included contents.

**IF your Dogs bleeding doesn’t seem to be slowing at all, please seek assistance from the vet as soon as possible.  It could be that your Dog has a condition which affects blood clotting, know as Von Williebrand disease This condition is often undetected until the Dog has a situation where he/she is bleeding, and then it comes to light due to the blood not clotting as it should.  It is often referred to as vWD. ( Please ask at your Dog’s veterinary clinic for further information about this.)

And let’s not forget, if you do clip the Quick, try to remain calm.  As your Dog will react to your panic, as well as its own.

When should I start to clip my Dogs Nails?

Ideally, we should be starting to clip our Dogs Nails the first week or so that we have our puppy.  Many breeders clip the puppy’s nails prior to them going to new homes.  When you first go to see the Dog you are looking to bring into your family, it is well worth asking the breeder to show you how to clip the puppies Nails. Most will gladly show you.

When they are small, the breeders tend to use baby nail clippers, (like the ones we use on our babies) as the Nails are tiny and soft.  However, by starting them young, they get used to the clipping noise and sensation.  And once completed without fuss they can have the occasional treat for being calm.  This process will stand you and the Dog in good stead for the years ahead.

What clippers do I use to clip my Dogs Nails?

There are different types of Nail clippers for Dogs Nails.  

There are:

Guillotine Pet Nail Clippers

Guillotine Clippers – These sound a tad harsh. Basically the Dog Nail goes into the clippers and your squeeze the handles to cut the Nail.  I am not a personal fan of these, however I know many owners who have always used them without problems. 

Grinder Pet Nail Cutter

Grinder Tools These I have used, and I found that with larger Dogs, I took me a long while to get the Nails down, as the part of the tool that the Nail goes to in order to grind it down, tends to get warm, and smells like burning.   My other concern with grinders is that they do tend to make a noise, not always a loud noise, however couple it with the vibration on the Dogs nails and it could take a while to desensitise them enough to not have a  Dog trying to get away from having nails filed.  However, there are no doubt owners who also swear by them.  I can only tell you my personal experience with them.

Scissor Type Pet Nail Clippers

Scissor Type Pet Nail ClippersI have only ever used one pair of Scissor type clippers, and they didn’t seem strong enough to work on my big breed Dogs Nails. They didn’t cut the whole nail, and broke before I could try to redo most of the Nails.  They may be more suitable for smaller breed Dogs. 

Plier Type Pet Nail Clippers

Pliers Type Pet Nail Clippers These are the ones I always refer back to as I have never had a problem with them. All our Dogs Nails have been cut great with these Pliers type of clippers.

If you check out our YouTube videos, you will see one of our Dogs having his Nails cut with a pair of Mikki Nail clippers.  

Click on the YouTube button below to view our own German Shepherd having his Black Nails Cut.

**Dislcaimer : does not provide veterinary advice, nor does it claim to be an alternative to seeking professional advice. All content is therefore for informational purposes only.