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Can I trim my puppy’s sharp toe nails?

Puppies have very sharp toe nails. They can be trimmed with your regular finger nail clippers or with nail trimmers made for dogs and cats. If you take too much off the nail, you will cut into the “quick”and bleeding and pain will occur. If this happens, neither you nor your dog will want to do this again. Therefore, a few points are helpful:

1. If your dog has clear or white nails, you can see the pink of the quick through the nail. Avoid the pink area, and you should be out of the quick.

2. If your dog has black nails, you will not be able to see the quick so only cut 1/32″ (1 mm) of the nail at a time until the dog begins to get sensitive. The sensitivity will usually occur before you are into the blood vessel. With black nails, it is likely that you will get too close on at least one nail.

3. If your dog has some clear and some black nails, use the average clear nail as a guide for cutting the black ones.

4. When cutting nails, use sharp trimmers. Dull trimmers tend to crush the nail and cause pain even if you are not in the quick.

5. You should always have styptic powder available. This is sold in pet stores under several trade names, but it will be labeled for use in trimming nails.