To cut dog toenails without hurting the dog, choose a relaxed environment, always cut the nails at a right angle, have plenty of treats on hand and avoid cutting into the live quick. When the trimmer cuts into the quick, which is the pink filling inside the nail, it causes the dog pain and provokes bleeding. To prevent this, cut no closer than two millimeters from the quick.
The quick is easy to see when a dog has clear nails. If a dog has dark nails, it is best to trim its nails one sliver at a time. Once the pink or gray oval of the quick starts to appear, stop trimming. Another hint to avoid hurting the dog is to ask an assistant to hold a flashlight. The quick within a back-lit nail is easily visible.
When a dog is afraid, he is more likely to jump, twitch or move suddenly. This might cause the trimmer to make a mistake. To avoid this behavior, spend a few days preparing the dog to have his feet and nails handled. Begin by picking up the dog’s paws and gently touching the toes and nails. Always reward the dog with a treat afterward. Next, touch the clippers to the dog’s feet and toenails, and then reward the dog with a treat. Finally, trim one or two nails and give the dog a treat.