In this article, I will describe how to clip a dog’s nails, clean his ears, and give him a bath.

12895047_f520It’s a bit hard to describe where to clip a dog’s nails, so I have included a few images for reference. All dogs have a blood vessel inside their nails called the quick. For dogs with white nails, the quick is visible—it looks like a pink filling. Clip off the excess nail about a quarter inch past the end of the quick. The cut should be angled at about a 45-degree angle (see the image below). For most dogs, the quick ends abruptly within the nail, so a quarter of an inch should be enough of a margin to prevent bleeding, which we call “quicking the nail.”

However, some quicks do not end abruptly. I have personally found that pugs, springer spaniels, and border collies are breeds that are more likely to have quicks that taper off. These quick become so thin, you cannot see where they end, even in white nails. We call this “having long quicks.” I have no idea why this occurs or why it’s common in these breeds, but those are my findings after being a dog groomer for 11 years.

With these breeds, I recommend trimming a little off the end at a time until you find the quick on one nail. Usually, how much you cut off of one is the same amount you will be able to safely cut from the rest, so trim the rest of the nails to be just a little longer than the one you quicked (so as not to quick them as well). Watch for nails that appear to be more worn down than others. Not all dogs walk/run correctly all of the time, which may cause uneven wear to their toenails. If you discover a worn down nail, you must make an educated guess as to whether any more needs to be cut based on how long it is compared to the length of the other nails.


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