Animal Behavior Network

Positive Dog Parenting®

by Rolan Tripp, DVM and Susan Tripp, MS/P

Invest just minutes daily learning how to raise the dog of your dreams and a best friend for life!

Need Help? 

Call 1-800-372-3706
to speak to a Veterinary Behavior Technician

Paws To Speak!

Member Main Menu

Gentle Grooming

Pet Professional Tip
Show clients how to apply pressure in the event a nail bleeds during a trim.  Offer some type of styptic powder for purchase at the practice.

Help is at your fingertips by library, email and phone.

Click on Library Icon
to learn more

All Pets | Topics by Age | Topics by Category | All Dogs | Media Center |    Print

Introduction to Nail Trim First Aid

One of the ways that you can tell if nails are too long is if they click-clack when the dog is walking on a smooth, hard surface.


A natural way to keep nails short is to exercise the dog on hard surfaces, like sidewalks. If a dog receives exercise on a hard surface, the nails are worn down so that the dog walks with only the pads touching, eliminating the click-clack of the toenails contacting a hard surface.

Always introduce new things, such as nail trims, when the dog is hungry to make the treats more desirable and distracting.

Begin with the end in mind...

An over-exuberant nail trim will cut the tissue in the center core - the sensitive quick of the nail - and result in pain and bleeding. Therefore, as a precaution, it is recommended to purchase some styptic powder just in case of an accidental short clipping.

The most common brand is called Stop-Quick®. There are other brands that are just as useful.


If the nail is clipped short and the dog yelps, act jolly as if nothing bad happened so as not to make it seem worse. Apply a little pressure on the nail to slow the bleeding and then apply some styptic powder to the cut surface of the nail. Do not cut any additional nails at this time, just plan on some "make-up" time later. Take the dog on a walk or begin another fun and rewarding activity.

Next time you approach cutting a nail, begin with a make-up time, by just touching the nails and then giving special food treats. It may take days of doing this make-up exercise before the dog is relaxed enough for you to return to trimming a nail.  Take you time!  In the long run, the dog's perception of the nail trim far outweighs the time the dog goes with a nail that's longer than ideal.



When it comes to trimming nails. the goal is a cooperative canine not a fearful, struggling pooch. Trim one nail a day. Be careful to only snip the end to avoid causing pain. Give your dog a treat to make nail trims worth his or her while.


Improving Relationships between People and Pets!

MyABN         Library         Contact ABN         Privacy Policy

Copyright © 2001-Present All Rights Reserved Dr. Rolan and Susan Tripp | Animal Behavior Network & Affiliates