The Dos and Don’ts of Claw Clipping

by K Marie Alto July 12, 2020 3 min read

The Dos and Don’ts of Claw Clipping

Unlike clipping your own nails, which are just made up of keratin, a dog or cat’s claws are attached to the bone and also have blood vessels and nerves so it’s important to know how to properly trim.  We’ve put together a list of some dos and don’ts to help you get started.

The Don'ts

1. Don’t Rush

The ideal situation would be to get all the claws clipped in one session, but if you don’t have a willing participant, this can be a challenge.  The goal is to not make the process stressful, so if you can only get a couple of claws done at a time, consider that a win and come back at a later time to continue the process.

2. Don’t Hesitate to ask for Help

If you’ve never clipped claws before, it can be a little intimidating.  Don’t hesitate to ask your groomer or your vet for pointers at your next appointment.

3. Don’t Forget the Dew Claw

You might be wondering, what the heck is the dew claw?!?  That’s the claw that’s essentially equivalent to our thumb, it’s higher up on the paw.  This claw doesn’t hit the ground, so it’s likely to be sharper than the others.

4. Don’t Cut the Quick

The quick is the portion of the nail that is filled with nerves and blood vessels.  It can be especially hard to see if your fur baby has black nails. 

5. Don’t Panic

In the event you accidentally hit the quick, the first thing to remember when you see blood, is don’t panic.  This might be easier said than done especially if you fur baby lets out a little cry!  Remember your fur baby can feel your stress, so take a deep breath and use some flour to stop the bleeding.

The Dos

1. Understand the Importance of Clipping

Nails that are too long can prevent you fur baby from balancing properly and left uncorrected can lead to spinal issues.  In addition, log nails can begin to turn inward digging back into your fur baby’s skin, ouch!

2. Get your fur baby used to the process

Starting at an early age is a great way to get your fur baby used to the process.  If you are starting with an adult, you can begin by handling their paws without doing any trimming.  This will allow your fur baby to understand that nothing scary is going to happen when you press on their paws.

3. Do Make the Experience Positive

Giving lots of positive feedback during claw clipping is essential.  Give pats during and after each session and consider giving a special treat when the session is complete.  Another trick is to provide a distracting snack during the clipping, such as a little scoop of natural peanut butter!

4. Trim just the Tips

You might be tempted to trim large portions of the claw so you don’t have to do it as frequently, but that can lead to injury.  It’s best to remove only a small amount of the claw at each trimming.  Smaller and more frequent trimmings tend to be safer than the alternative.

5. Do Choose the Right Tool

Scissors might be tempting to use, and may even work on kitty claws, but this is not recommended.  Choose a claw clipper that is sharp, especially when clipping thick claws.  A dull blade can cause a lot of pressure and discomfort for your fur baby.  We also recommend getting a clipper with a safety, that prevents you from taking off more than just the tip of the claw.  You may also want to get a file to soften any pointy edges after the trim.

If you’re looking for an awesome tool to trim your fur baby’s claws, consider The Clawper PRO enter PAWDICURE at checkout to save $2!

Check out the video below for quick tips for a claw clipping beauty session and if you need more details check out our in-depth guide How to Train Your Dog to Let you Clip their Nails.

K Marie Alto
K Marie Alto

K. Marie is an animal lover, wife, kitty mom, dog auntie, writer and co-founder of Toe Beans, a proud American family-owned online boutique pet supplies store focused on the improvement of the life of furry family members via pet parent education, better products, and advocacy. She has over 20 years of experience as a pet momma. She loves sharing her personal journey and experience as a pet parent via her blog and Facebook page where she currently has more than 19K followers (@furrytoebeans) and counting :-).


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