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How Often Should I Trim Dog Nails?

dog paw with clipped nails and LuckyTail logo

Written by: Robert Lewis from

Just as humans periodically clip their fingernails, dogs need to have their nails trimmed every so often as well. Nail care is an essential part of your pet’s hygiene and wellbeing. Untrimmed nails can bleed, break, or even grow into their feet. To avoid all these problems, every owner needs to take care of their dog’s nails. Many owners do not want to perform this task, but it is very easy with the right tools. This article will outline everything you need to know about trimming a dog’s nails. After reading, you will be wondering why you ever thought trimming nails needed to be done by professionals.

How often should you trim dog nails? That depends on many factors, including activity levels, age, environment, breed, and nail length. Robert Lewis

How Often Should You Trim Your Dog’s Nails / How to know when?

How often should you trim dog nails? That depends on many factors, including activity levels, age, environment, breed, and nail length.


If a dog is very active, you do not have to trim their nails as much as if they are very inactive. If a dog is playing, running, etc., they will naturally wear down their nails, so they won’t require as much care.


Older dogs generally move much less than younger dogs. They go on shorter or fewer walks and may not have the physical ability to run in a field for a long time. Due to this lack of activity, they wear their nails down much less than younger dogs, and you’ll need to perform clipping fairly often.


Certain environmental elements also impact your canine companion’s nails. An indoor dog will need more maintenance than an outdoor dog. There is nothing in the typical household to naturally wear down the dog’s nails, so taking care of them becomes your responsibility. If your dog spends a significant amount of time on hard surfaces like concrete, their nails won’t require as much grooming.


Some dog breeds grow nails faster than others. On average, you should aim to trim them once every 7 to 14 days. As soon as you notice the nails making contact with the ground when your pup stands up, it’s time for some maintenance.

Nail Length

Dogs have tissue and a blood vessel in their nails called the quick. When nails grow longer, the quick gets bigger, causing the nails to grow faster, which ultimately leads to overgrown nails and more frequent cutting. If you keep the dog’s nails shorter, the quick is smaller, and the nails will take more time to grow.

What Do You Need For Proper Dog Nail Care?

There are two main types of tools that will keep a dog’s nails short: clippers and grinders. As their names suggest, clippers will snip the nails off while grinders will grind them down. Many dogs won’t let you trim their toenails and don’t like having their feet touched. They sometimes get anxious due to past bad experiences involving nail clippers. It’s best to start training as early as possible to avoid any problems with trimming. You can teach your dog to relax during the trimming procedure. Take it slow and make them feel comfortable. Here are some helpful tips for getting your pup used to the experience: 
  • Lots of pets and treats, of course!
  • For the first two weeks, have the device near the dog and then on the dog without doing any trimming. Continuing lots of positive reinforcement.
  • If the device is a grinder, make sure to turn on the grinder near them a few times before putting it to use. 
  • Create a distraction, put peanut butter on your head or get an item that will stick on the wall and hold the peanut putter. 
  • Don't rush! You want to make sure your pet is as comfortable as possible during this process so take your time to establish trust between you, your bestie, and the device. 

It’s also useful to have anticoagulant powder or cornstarch nearby in case of any nicks or cuts during the clipping process. These powders can help stem the flow of blood if pressed into the wound.


Most people are familiar with the standard nail clippers. The nail trimming process is very fast and takes only a second. They are also silent compared to the buzz of the grinder. Clippers do not require any electricity or batteries. Another reason many people get clippers is their price. Clippers generally cost less than grinders. They’re not always the best choice, even if the price is appealing. Cheap clippers won’t clip the dog’s nails very well. They can be very dull and can cause breaks or cracks in the nails. One major disadvantage is how easy it is to cut the dog’s quick. If you don’t know where it is or don’t pay attention to where you are cutting, it is very easy to hit the sensitive part of your pet’s toenails. After this happens once, your dog may be scared of the clippers and may not let you use them ever again. Even if the clippers don’t cut the quick, they can pinch or squeeze it, causing pain and discomfort for the dog. The Safari nail trimmer has stainless steel for extended durability and a soft, rubber, non-slip grip. This tool is usable for medium to large dog breeds, but only if they’re accustomed to trimming. It also features a safety stop to avoid injury.

Get Your Professional Pet Clippers


Grinders are a much more viable option for taking care of your dog’s nails. They grind the nails away instead of using sharp edges to snip the nail. Grinders are a perfect option for owners with dogs that are afraid of the clippers. If a dog has a bad experience with nail clipping, a high-quality grinder will probably be a better option. A grinder provides very clean, smooth, and rounded nails compared to the jagged edges you usually get with clippers. Rough edges can cause all sorts of trouble for the dog and the owner, from damaged carpets and flooring to scratches during playtime. Dogs that have thicker nails can also benefit from the grinder, as these nails can be tough to cut through with clippers. There is still a possibility to hit the quick with a grinder, but it is much less likely to happen. If you haven’t trimmed your dog’s nails in a while, we recommend doing it outside. Using a grinder creates some dust, similar to a sander on a smaller scale. However, if all you’re doing is minimal weekly or bi-weekly maintenance, you can do it inside. The LuckyTail grinder is by far our number one choice.


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