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How to Trim Dog Nails at Home, Including Black Dog Nails | Pupford

April 4th, 2023

Filed under Pet Parenting

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Learning how to trim dog nails can seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools and advice, it can be safe and simple for you and your pup!

In this video,
Quinci Cole, a groomer with over 14 years of experience, walks you through step-by-step how to trim your dog's nails with simple dog nail clippers. She demonstrates how to trim black dog nails and also how to trim white dog nails.

An important note from Quinci is to take it slowly and always start by taking off a very small amount of the nail, to begin with. It can be overwhelming and stressful, so have patience for yourself.

So, without further ado, check out how to trim a dog's nails safely and effectively.

Note: You will learn the most by watching the entire video below, Quinci is an expert in this field! 😃



As Quinci discusses, the key to trimming dog nails is to have the right tools. She uses a simple clipper and has seen that to be the safest and easiest to use for at-home grooming.

Cutting your dog's nails is a little different depending on whether your dog's nails are white or black. White nails are easier because you can see the pink inside (the quick). Black is harder since you can't locate exactly where the quick is.

Remember you do NOT want to cut the vein as that can result in bleeding. But if you do accidentally cut too far, you'll want something on hand like:


trimmed white dog nails close up | Pupford

As mentioned previously, trimming white dog nails is a little bit easier than black nails. You want to keep an eye on your dog's vein (also called quick) and not cut down to that, as that can cause bleeding.

Here are quick steps to trim white nails:

  • Look at the hook on a white nail, you'll trim right off the hook (not all dog nails have a hook)
  • If no hook is present, just identify the quick ⬇️
  • Identify the quick (pink), push barely in front of it, and then trim it off


a dog with black nails about to get them cut at home | Pupford

Cutting black dog nails requires a bit more care and gradual trimming. Since you can't see the quick, you want to start small and only gradually cut more.

Here are some tips for cutting black dog nails:

  • If your dog has hair around paw pads, brush that hair up
  • Put a finger on your dog's pad then push on the back and grip (shown in the video)
  • Take very small sections of the nail at a time and trim
Nail Trimming graphic | Pupford

A couple of ways to help make cutting your dog's nails simpler is to give them something to distract them. We recommend using a Pure Focus Lick Mat to help keep them distracted while you do the nail trimming. Get a lick mat here.


Remember not to feel rushed or stressed! Keep the experience positive for you and your pup and opt for trimming less than more.

Be sure to keep an eye on your dog's body language and find ways to make them as comfortable with the process as possible.

If you'd like to learn all about how to groom your dog at home, check out the
At-Home Grooming Course taught by Quinci Cole here.

Good luck as your trim your dog's nails, and let us know how it goes in the comments.

PS- Here's an article all about caring for your dog's paw pads!


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