Many dog owners shy away from cutting their dog's nails, but if you know what you're doing, it's not that difficult
A number of nail cutters are available, including the guillotine and pliers types. The guillotine, or Resco, style is constructed much like a cigar cutter, and the pliers...well, like a pair of pliers. A file or rotary tool designed for smoothing rough edges after the cut can be used...if you can get your dog to sit still that long. Sharp edges normally wear down on their own within a few days. A walk on concrete or blacktop does a great job of this.
It's recommended that nails be cut every 2 to 3 weeks, to avoid problems from overgrown ones, like split or ingrown nails, and even lameness.
The quick is a bundle of blood vessels and nerves. And it has the potential to quickly complicate clipping your dog's nails. If the quick is cut, it will cause your dog a great amount of pain, and the bleeding can be difficult to stop.
If your dog is lucky enough to be blessed with light-coloured nails, the quick is visible as a dark or pink area that runs up the centre of the nail. Its end is obvious, and that's important, because you don't want to cut into it. For these fair beauties, nail cutting instructions are simple: Cut the nail at a flat 90 degree angle, 2 mm from the end of the dark-coloured quick.
More common dark nails are also more complicated to cut. The quick is not obvious, so it's best to snip small amounts of the nail at a time, rather than all in one slice. With every cut, look into the interior of the nail. With the first snip, you'll see the light-coloured core of the nail. Cutting into this part is not painful. Continue until a second interior, grey or pink, area is visible. This is the beginning of the quick, which means stop cutting! Ideally, you'll want to cut the nail 2 mm from this area in the future.
What to do if the quick is nipped? First, there will be no mistaking the cut. Your dog will let you know. Second, understand that it's not uncommon for an injured quick to bleed rather profusely. If it happens, don't panic, and cover the bleeding with a towel. Commercial products, such as styptic pens, quick-stop, clotting powders, and clotting solutions are also available. Bleeding should stop within 10 minutes.
It's important to be cautious and precise when trimming your dog's nails. If a quick is cut, he may be shy about having it done again. Any dog will naturally be anxious about the whole process. If you introduce him, as a puppy, to paw-handling and the tools you will use, anxiety will be reduced and he will have a quick and successful nail clipping session.