We are supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Thank you!

Are you trying to cut your puppy’s nails? Many times, trimming a puppy’s nails can be very frustrating since some puppies can be uncooperative. Starting young with training your dog to tolerate you trimming their nails will make the task much easier in the future. With some help from this post your puppy will learn to tolerate having their nails trimmed in no time!

How to Teach Your Puppy to Tolerate Nail Trimming?

These are steps that you can take to teach your puppy to tolerate nail trimmings:

  1. Teach your puppy to tolerate touching their feet
  2. Get your puppy used to the nail trimmer
  3. Learn how to properly cut your puppy’s nails

A Guide to Nail Trimming your Puppy

You may have a puppy who doesn’t mind you trimming their nails.  At first, most puppies hate the process and will need time to get used to having their nails trimmed.

Don’t get discouraged, though. Sometimes it may take your puppy a while to tolerate getting their nails trimmed. If it is a constant struggle, it may be better to let a groomer, or the vet trim their nails.

When you are teaching your puppy to get their nails trimmed, remember to be patient.  You always need to have a great attitude, give your puppy lots of praise, and always have treats ready to give them when they are doing what they are told.

Be sure to read our new eye-opening post, Is Pet Insurance Worth It: 5 shocking facts you need to know... You might be in for a shock!

This will help make nail trimming fun and enjoyable for your puppy.

As you proceed through the following steps, remember that some puppies will learn quickly, and some need more time and patience. Don’t get discouraged; most puppies will eventually learn to have their nails cut without a problem.

Get Your Puppy Comfortable with You Touching Their Feet.

Before trying to clip your puppy’s nails, pick up their feet, and hold their paws. Do this every day as some dogs hate having their feet touched.

This will train them that it’s okay for their feet to be touched. The earlier in life that you begin training your puppy to tolerate their feet being touched, the quicker and easier that they learn.

TIP: It’s always best to start touching and handling your puppy’s feet and looking in their mouths as soon as you get them.

In the beginning, you may only be able to touch your puppy’s paw when they are on the ground. Slowly work with your puppy until they allow you to hold their paws.

Once they allow you to hold their paws without fighting you, then you can gently hold one of their toes and move the hair from around their nail.

Repeat this process for each toe until you have touched and held all their toes. Once your puppy is used to you touching and holding their feet and toes, it’s time to get them used to nail trims.

Getting Your Puppy Comfortable with Nail Trimmers

Sometimes your puppy may fear the nail trimmer or grinder. So start off by introducing the nail trimmer to your puppy so that they can be more comfortable with the trimmer.

Step 1 – Let your puppy see the nail trimmers 

Take your nail trimmer or nail grinder out and let your puppy sniff the clippers and grinder. Give them treats and praise.

Leave the clippers lying around the house, so that your puppy is used to seeing these being around them. Sometimes a new object may be scary for your puppy.

Step 2 –Touching your puppy with the nail trimmers

Take your clippers and grinders and touch them to your puppy’s paw. Do not turn on the nail grinder just yet.

If your puppy tolerates being touched by the clippers and grinders, give them treats and praise them. After they are used to being touched with the trimmers, turn on the grinder so that your puppy can hear the noise and feel the vibration.

Step 3 – Trim your puppy’s nails

Now that your puppy is used to the nail trimmers, it’s time to start to trim their nails.  Start with just one or two nails a day, and slowly increase the number of nails until they let you cut all their toe nails at one time.

Different Types of Nail Trimmers

There are many types of dog nail trimmers. These are some of the most popular kinds:

  • Scissors Type
  • Guillotine
  • Nail Grinders: These grinders are used to help make your dog’s nails smooth while they are being trimmed. This is like you filing your nails to remove any sharp points.

All of these have different pros and cons. When looking at nail trimmers, get the type you are the most comfortable with or the type that your puppy seems to like the best.

How to Clip Your Puppy’s Nails

When trimming your puppy’s nails, these are the steps to follow:

  1. Gently pick up your puppy’s paw, move any hair out of the way of the first nail.  Place your pointer finger on the pad of your puppy’s first toe. Put your thumb on the top of their toe.
  2. Push your pointer finger up on the bottom of their pad, while pulling your thumb backward. This will push the nail forward and pulling the hair backward. This will help move any hair out of the way so you can see the nail.
  3. Put the nail of your puppy’s toe in between the clippers. You will only want to trim the tip of the nail. Make sure that you put the clippers straight across the nails before trimming to ensure you don’t cut into the quick.
  4. Do not clip past the curved tip of the nail. This will risk you hitting the quick. The quick is the pink area of your puppy’s nail that contains the blood vessels. If you accidentally hit this area, it may be painful and will bleed.

Do not forget to trim the dewclaws. These are your puppy’s thumbs that are located on the inner side of their paw. Some puppies do not have dewclaws because they were removed when they were a few days old.

For puppies with white nails, you can easily see the pink part or quick through the nail.  This makes it very easy to avoid the quick. Dark nails can be more difficult. Start by trimming a little bit and slowly trimming away until you get the nails even with the footpad.

When you start trimming your puppy’s nails, you may accidentally cut one short and make it bleed. It’s always a great idea to have some styptic powder or clotting powder around to help you stop the bleed. Even once you are great at nail trims, your puppy may wiggle a little, and you cut it a little too short.

If you have never cut a puppy’s nails, you may want to see if your vet or groomer can give you a quick lesson on how to do it. They can also show you many of the different trimmers and even let you try them out. This way you know which ones you like best.

What If My Puppy Never Learns to Tolerate Nail Trimming?

If your puppy never learns to tolerate nail trims at home, consider taking them to the vet or groomer for nail trims. Some dogs may even need to be sedated to have their nails trimmed.

Most vets are used to handling dogs who wiggle, struggle, and yelp for nail trimmings and can quickly and easily handle your hyperactive puppy.

How Often to Trim Puppy’s Nails

You can trim your puppy’s nails once every 3 to 4 weeks, however the more regularly you do it, the more they will become accustomed to it. A good plan is to trim their nails a small amount once per week.

How to Make Puppy Nails Less Sharp After Trimming

You can use a grinder tool which will shave off the sharp parts of their nails. If you have clippers, then try a human nail file to gently smooth away the sharp areas.

Final Thoughts

Nail trimming may seem like a scary task at first, but with a little patience and practice, your dog can easily learn to tolerate nail trimmings. The key is to get them comfortable with touching their paws, and used to the trimmers themselves. Treats will help you through this process.

If you find your puppy difficult to get under control, you may find this article useful: Calm Down Your Crazy Puppy: A Complete Guide