Help! My Dog Hates Me Trimming His Nails


by Jessie Miller

Think about the many uses your fingernails serve for you; they help you peel, pick, scratch, and they protect your finger by offering support.  The same thing applies to a dog’s toenail; only the purposes are different.  Toenails on a dog serve to help them walk, run, play and balance.  Imagine if your fingernails were so long you could not perform everyday activities or your long nails caused injury.  Injuries caused by untrimmed toenails are common in veterinarian offices.  When a dogs unclipped nails overextend, they can easily get caught in or snagged on things while they play or exercise.  The nail will often break, or it can pull from the base.  The nail is very sensitive, just like humans, and the breaking or pulling can be very painful for a dog as you can imagine.  Often the dog will have to see a veterinarian and be put under to remove the nail completely.  Fortunately, it is preventable by keeping the nails trimmed.

How Often Should You Trim?

If you have a dog that is not very fond of the clippers the less often you have to trim the better, right?  A few factors will determine how often you should trim your dog’s toenails.  The breed of your dog will affect growth and how active is your favorite pooch?  Dogs that have a high activity level and walk primarily on sidewalks and pavement will need less trimming.  The hard surfaces help to wear down the nails.  Less active canines and those that spend time on soft surfaces like grass will need to be clipped more often.  Just like humans all dogs vary and some individual dogs and certain breeds will have nails that grow faster than others.

The best indicator that your best friend needs a nail trim is when they walk on the kitchen floor, and you can hear the clicking of the nails, then you know it’s time. Of course, if you have a pup whose nails curl and they impede walking then that is an immediate indication it is time to trim.

My Dog Doesn’t Like Nail Trims

Many dog owners complain that their dogs are difficult, hard to restrain, and scared during a nail trim.   The nail is sensitive and if the quick (the blood vessel that runs through the nail) gets clipped it is painful and will bleed.  Once a dog experiences a clipped quick, it is even more challenging to trim the nails.  We just learned that Nail Trimming Is A MUST.  The best approach is to work with your dog slowly.  Allow him to let you hold his paw first and introduce the clippers through positive reinforcement.  Learn how to spot the quick (ask your veterinarian to show you) and avoid it.  Seek professional help by a groomer, your vet’s office, or some kennels offer nail clipping services.

Help your canine companion walk with a bounce and avoid a painful nail encounter. Remember keeping your best friend at optimal health will help live a long and happy life.  Happy Trimming!

Jessie Miller is an avid animal advocate who loves to write and educate. She runs a nonprofit, EPIC Animals Outreach, which focuses on humane education outreach teaching compassion for people, animals, and the environment. As an HSUS District Leader and a Feral Friend Network partner for Alley Cat Allies, Jessie is on the cutting edge of progressive change for the betterment of people and animals in our communities. Jessie lives in Florida where she spends her time at the beach, running, writing, reading, and with her rescued animals; 4 dogs, 5 cats, and a rat. Please visit You can also read more about her writing at and on as the Jacksonville, FL Pet’s Examiner Writer.

Twitter: @epicanimals2015