Clipping Black Toenails, One Paw At A Time

Clipping black toenails on a dog can be a challenge due to the quick being completely hidden  inside the nail.  Trimming dog nails is easier if you are lucky enough to have a dog with light toenails. The quick is readily visible running right through the nail. With black toenails on the other hand, things get a little trickier. You look at their nail and all you see is a long, black nail. That fact alone, makes some people unsure of just how to go about trimming them. Believe me, I’m not crazy about cutting black nails either!

The last thing you want to do is cut into the quick. It bleeds like crazy and is very painful for your dog. Add that to the fact that nail trimming events will probably be a nightmare from that point on. The method I use, is to wait until my dogs are tired so they are nice and relaxed. I will either cut them all at once or if they start to play around, I’ll cut some and finish the rest the next night. I try to keep the nail trimming events as low key as possible.

You can see the quick on black nails by looking at the nail from the bottom. Take a paw and either bend their leg so you can see the paw pad or catch them when they are laying down on their side (my method). Look from the bottom or paw pad side on black nails. The nail is open underneath. Where the nail first begins at the toe, it is closed. As the nail extends, the closed part ends and the nail opens up. Where the nail first opens, you will see what looks like a sort of filler in the nail right where the nail opens. Do not cut that because that is where the quick ends. Instead, cut off what is hanging past that filler. Make sure you grab your dogs paw firm so he doesn’t jerk or move his paw before you cut. I believe with this method, you have a pretty slim chance of cutting the quick.

It would probably be a good idea to have a tube of styptic powder to stop the bleeding just in case. You should be able to buy a tube any pet shop and if not, check your local men’s barber shop.  In a pinch, I believe you can use corn starch.

I prefer the type of trimmer that has a scissor like cutter on it. This allows me to snip any sharp edges off very easily. But the type of clipper you use is just personal preference. Happy cutting!

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