Nail Trimming

Often, the most challenging part about trimming nails is trying to identify how much of the nail can be safely removed. In this picture, the tip of the pointer identifies where the sensitive structures of the nail begin. The nail should not be trimmed below this point. In lighter colored nails, this area can be identified by the transition from light colored nail to a pink or dark coloration.


In this nail, the same area is identified by the nail trimmers. Notice the transition from the light, almost transparent nail to the darker colored sensitive structures.


For darker nails such as this one, the bottom of the foot pad can be used as a landmark. Any part of the nail that hangs below the foot pad can usually be removed. If there is any doubt, be conservative and trim the nails more frequently.


After the appropriate area for trimming the nail has been identified, the nail trimming device should be placed over the nail. Gently squeeze the instrument until it is touching the nail. Make sure the trimmers are in the right place and then in one quick motion clip the nail completely off.


Be sure to use sharp trimmers and try to clip the nail in one quick motion. If the trimmers are dull or the cutting motion on the nail is done slowly, the nail has the tendency to crack or split. The nail in this picture has been cut properly. A video of this procedure can be found below.


If bleeding does occur after the nail has been trimmed, simply apply direct pressure to the nail with a sterile cotton ball or pad. Keep the pet relaxed and confined to allow the blood to coagulate. The pet may be somewhat sensitive in this area until the nail has had time to grow back and protect the sensitive structures. If bleeding cannot be stopped, seek professional help. A video of this procedure is found below. 


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