top of page
  • Writer's pictureNicola Smith

Everything you need to know about giving your dog a pawdicure

Cutting a dog's nails can be a very daunting undertaking for a lot of people; for you and for your furry friend. However, for your dog’s overall health, it has to be done often enough to keep your dog’s nails short.

Typically a dog that has the opportunity to be outdoors on a regular basis, walking on pavement and rigid surfaces will very naturally wear their nails down to a shorter length, and therefore, they may not require regular nail trims. But because most people are at work all day and their dog is not spending a full day out of doors exploring, their nails do not have a chance to be naturally shortened. Whether you choose to try to trim their nails yourself or take them somewhere to have it done, it needs to be done!

In this article, we are going to explain why your dog needs to have their nails trimmed, how to help them through the process if you are doing it yourself, and if you are taking them to professionals for this purpose, we are even going to recommend a few places to go.


1. Reducing Risk of Injury

Long nails can easily get caught in things and tear or even snap. They also force the paw to go up which throws their bodies out of alignment, jeopardizing their balance by messing with their weight distribution. This shift in alignment renders them susceptible to multiple bodily injuries. It can also make for a rather uncomfortable walk or run! In extreme cases, their nails could even grow into the pad of the paw. All of these scenarios could be serious, painful and eventually require visits to the vet that could have been avoided.

2. Helps to prevent damage to property

Those sharp nails can be knives not only harming your pup but damaging your property. Long nails can destroy flooring, costing you thousands of dollars to repair, and can wreck your furniture, your clothes, and of course your vehicle.


If you haven’t known whether to clip their nails or when to do so, that clicking sound they make while walking across your floors will alert you to this imminent need. Try to make a schedule to trim their nails semi-monthly or at a minimum monthly; this way things will never get too out of control. To assist you in remembering this important and necessary task, put it in your calendar so that on the first Thursday of every month (or any day of your choosing), it’s time to do a nail trim. And also remember, the more often and regular, the better the experience for both you and your dog.

If you adopted a dog whose nails are already too long, you should be trimming them more frequently. Once a week would be a healthy goal to help them get used to it and to help the nail recede.


Nail clippers

There are a couple of different styles to choose from, but no matter the type, their effectiveness is entirely dependent on the blades being good quality, sharp and clean. Nail clippers are great because they are easy and quick to use; they are also quiet and do not require a cord

Guillotine trimmers

These have a hole at the end, where the dog’s nail is inserted; when the handles are squeezed, an internal blade cuts off the end of the nail. This tool is best suited for small to medium size dogs. Make sure to replace the blade regularly so that it stays sharp.

Nail Grinder

Nail grinders are great because they leave your pet with smooth nail edges and some dogs with clipper anxiety prefer them. But because all dogs are individuals, any one tool will not work on all dogs. Some dogs react to the noise of any electrical appliance, including nail grinders.

If your dog hates the nail tools

Some dogs hate these tools. To help your dog make positive associations with your nail trimming tool, we recommend picking up the clippers (or grinder) in one hand and giving your dog their favorite treat with your other hand. You should do this repeatedly until your dog seems relaxed; a wagging tail in response to you picking up your tool is a sure sign that they have made a positive association. Now that your dog is happily expecting a treat when they see you pick up your tool, you can gradually move the clippers toward your dog, allowing them to smell it; allow the clipper to touch their leg, their paw while giving them more treats. You should also touch your dog’s paws regularly so that they become accustomed to being handled in this way. Eventually, you should be able to cut your first nail. If this is stressful for your dog, just do one paw at a time. Don’t stress them out to get all 4 paws done immediately; do one paw a day for 4 days until their tolerance increases. Also do not try to cut them too short. Just do the smallest amount at a time until you and they are completely comfortable.

If you cut too short

The nail vein is referred to as the quick. If you have not done it before, you should know that if you cut the nail too short, this vein can bleed a lot. Should this happen, have styptic powder at hand for instant application to quickly curtail the bleeding; and stay calm to prevent further stressing your pup. Remember they feel your energy and will react accordingly. Be calm, gentle and confident; no big deal. Then keep your dog from doing any exercise for a few hours so that the vein can close up in the healing process. Also, for a reasonable amount of time, try not to let this paw get wet!

If you don't want to do it yourself

If you aren’t comfortable trimming your dog's nails yourself, we don’t blame you!

We have two recommendations from our areas where we offer daily dog walking services in Toronto. These are our favorite places to go and get your doggies pawfect pawdicures and much more.


12 Irwin Ave

The Beaches

2116 Queen Street East


bottom of page