Dog Grooming: How Often Should You Clip Your Dog’s Nails?


When it comes to dog grooming, nail clipping tops the list of tasks that dog owners would rather not have to do. Because there is no one-size-fits-all answer, many people allow their pup’s nails to grow too long—or cut them too often and too short. I’ve seen dogs come in to Doggies Gone Wild that sound like tap dancers as they trot across the floor of our indoor playground. As funny (and cute!) as this is, it can make it uncomfortable—even painful—for your doggy to walk. The fact is, many dog owners just don’t know how often they need to clip their little furry friend’s nails.

Here’s what you need to know about trimming your doggy’s claws:

Why You Need to Clip Your Dog’s Nails

First, let’s look at why dog grooming for your dog’s nails is so important. Aside from the damage that doggy nails can do to furniture, floors, and human skin, long claws can be quite painful for your pet and cause them to become injured. When your dog has long nails, each step that they take on hard surfaces like concrete can be painful.

Long nails are also more likely to get caught on fabric and carpet, which can actually result in the nail being torn off. In addition to all this, untrimmed nails can make it difficult for your dog to find traction on flooring that is slick, like linoleum and hardwood floors. When they are running around on these surfaces, they can fall and get hurt or pull or strain a muscle. Lastly, nails that go too long without a trim can curl and pierce your dog’s paw pads, which is painful and can lead to infection.

How Often You Should Clip Your Dog’s Nails

Finally, the answer you’ve been waiting for. Unfortunately, it’s not a simple answer.

Because different dogs have different nail growth rates, it’s impossible to say something like “you should trim your dog’s nails every two weeks.” The rule of (non-opposable) thumb is that if your dog’s claws touch the floor when they are standing, they need to be trimmed. It’s a good idea to let your dog get accustomed to getting their nails trimmed, so even if you’re not taking off very much each time, the more often you do it, the better.

What to Do If You Clip Your Dog’s Nails Too Short

One dog grooming fear that I hear from dog owners concerns clipping the nail too short. The experience can be traumatic for both dog and human alike because when cut too short, dog nails often bleed. When you cut to the quick, or blood supply inside each nail, your dog may also yelp in pain because there are nerve endings in each claw.

You can actually tell where the quick is by looking, if your dog has clear or light-colored nails, but it can be difficult to discern how short is too short with dark nails. Either way, go slowly. Give your dog lots of praise and be sure to have plenty of treats on hand for a reward.

Need Help with Dog Grooming?

Let the professional groomers at Doggies Gone Wild safely clip your dog’s nails. Call us today for an appointment or check if we offer concierge pickup and drop off in your area.