How to Cut Overgrown Dog Nails? The Right Way

Last Updated on January 21, 2022 Ashley Camelia

Some dog owners dread the job of clipping a dog’s nails. But, this is something we need to do regularly for the health of the animal.

If you have left things too late, or if you have adopted a dog with overgrown nails, you need to create the best nail clipping regime possible. This means:

  1. Finding the right tools for the job.
  2. Taking care to learn how to clip dog nails carefully.
  3. Prioritizing the physical and mental well-being of your dog.
  4. Making sure to do it all again before they get too long again.

How to Cut Overgrown Dog Nails?


Why is it so important to trim overgrown dog nails?

Out pet dogs inherited their nails from their wolf ancestors. Once upon a time, they would have been useful for catching and eating prey. They would also have maintained the length of the nails by digging and walking on rough ground. Some pet dogs don’t have too many problems if they are active but still need some regular nail grooming. Small companion dogs can develop overgrown nails because they are too used to our lawns and upholstered living rooms.

If these nails get too long and grow past their footpads, this can make it difficult for dogs to walk. It can also be very painful and put a lot of pressure on their paws. Therefore, you need to create a regular nail trimming regime to keep them at the right length.


The 2 Types of Nail Trimming Tools 

There are two main types of products that you can use when learning how to cut a dog’s nails.

1.) Nail Grinder

The first is the nail grinder, which sands away the nail to the right length. Here are the pros and cons of nail grinders:

  • A gentle motion that makes it easy to find the right length
  • A smooth finish to the nail
  • Often easier to use than some nail clippers
  • The noise of the device can scare some nervous animals
  • Requires main power or a battery, so it could cut out


2.) Nail Clipper

The second is the nail clipper, which is very similar to those we use ourselves. The following are the pros and cons of nail clippers:

  • One quick movement for each nail
  • No mechanical noise to scare the dog
  • No need for batteries
  • Some dog owners find them difficult to use
  • They can leave a jagged edge so require an additional emery board


Looking for the best nail grinder for overgrown dog nails?

If you decide that the nail grinder is the best option, you need one that is ergonomic and easy to handle for a long period. You might find that cordless nail grinders are preferable. But, make sure that it has a long enough battery life.

Check the specifications of the top dog nail grinders to see if they promise to be quieter than the average device. Also, make sure that it is powerful enough without being aggressive. The following are the recommended grinders.

Dremel 7300-PT 4.8V Cordless Grinding Tool
  • Speed: Two rotation speeds
  • Lens: 24-200mm, f/2.8-4.5
  • Viewfinder Type: EVF
Hertzko Electric Pet Nail Grinder
  • Megapixels: 20.1 MP
  • Lens: 24-200mm, f/2.8-4.5
  • Viewfinder Type: EVF
Oster Gentle Paws Grinder
  • Megapixels: 20.1 MP
  • Lens: 24-200mm, f/2.8-4.5
  • Viewfinder Type: EVF
Furminator Nail Grinder
  • Megapixels: 20.1 MP
  • Lens: 24-200mm, f/2.8-4.5
  • Viewfinder Type: EVF
ConairPRO Dog Nail Grinder
  • Megapixels: 20.1 MP
  • Lens: 24-200mm, f/2.8-4.5
  • Viewfinder Type: EVF

Finding the best nail clippers for overgrown dog nails.

If you would prefer to have a nail clipper, this too needs to be easy to use for a safe grooming process. Make sure that you can work the mechanism one-handed and that they are comfortable to hold. Look out for safe dog nail clippers that come with nail guards to prevent accidents. Also, you may find grooming packs that also have the emery board and scissors included.


Cutting the Nails to the Right Length.

Ideally, you need to make sure that the nails aren’t touching the ground anymore. This means that you can reduce any pain or discomfort your dog might experience as they walk. Determine the right length that is comfortable for the animal and use your new grooming tools to create a smooth finish.

A jagged edge could be a health hazard. Always take your time and work paw by paw. Don’t switch paws halfway through as this may confuse the animal. Also, it is a good idea to trim any long fur on the paws first. That way it won’t get tangled in the grinder.

Cutting the nails to the right length

Source: Quora


What if the nails are really long and overdue for a trim.

If the nails are excessively long, you may need to do this in a series of stages. The first reason for this is that it means that your dog doesn’t have to sit still for too long. The second reason is that you need to avoid the quick. The quick is a soft cuticle located on the nail which is filled with nerves and blood vessels. This continues to grow with the nail. Cut into it and the dog will bleed and feel pain.

If this happens, you can stop the bleeding with septic powder or cornstarch. The quick will shrink back after each session, so you can gradually get the nails to the right length without any harm. It is much easier to identify the quick in lighter nails. If your dog has black nails, it is better to be cautious and trim too little.

 Remember that the welfare of your dog always comes first when learning how to clip dog nails. 

Always put the health and safety of your dog above your desire for a quick, simple procedure. This means that you should:

  • Work slowly and methodically with all the tools.
  • Have that first aid kid handy in case of accidents.
  • Stop if the animal is stressed or uncomfortable – even if you have only done one paw.
  • Provide a comfortable, calm environment for your pet.
  • Train them to have their paws handled.


Train your dog to keep them calm.

If you are still don’t know, you can check out this reputable dog training course from trainpetdog.

Nail clipping training is a lesson that some dog owners neglect to offer to their puppies. They soon realize their mistake when their pet becomes scared of the grinder and won’t give you their paw. Work with them from an early age to show that it is OK for you to touch their paws.

Let them get used to the sound of the grinder before using it on their nails. Remember to have plenty of treats and soft toys around to comfort them during the nail clipping session. Lavish them with praise after each paw is finished.


The act of clipping overgrown dog nails doesn’t have to be a chore.

Don’t treat this grooming process as something that you have to do. Instead, look at it as an opportunity to pamper your pooch and bond with them. With care and practice, you can learn how to cut a dog’s nails efficiently. You can use either an effective grinder or clipper to trim the nails with ease.


Watch Video: Clipping & Grinding the Overgrown Nails