Nail Basics

This post is still under construction. Please feel free to look around anyways.

We interviewed Bree with Daisybelle Paw Spa to answer some basic nail question new owners might have. Listen to our audio only interview here and read below for additional information.

The information below is a mixture of our interview with Bree and our own knowledge. Thank you for listening and learning.

The above is a diagram showing you the anatomy of a dog's nail.

Keeping Their Nails Short

Why is it important to cut their nails?

  • Dogs can easily tear their toenails when playing which could lead to exposure of the quick. If exposed infection can easily occur.

  • The longer a dog's nails are, the more pressure their nail bed will be under when they touch the floor. This pressure will result in discomfort and can cause the dog to distribute their weight differently when walking. This can affect the way their toe and paw joints potentially leading to arthritis and continued pain.

  • A dog's nails can curl and become embedded in their paw pad or foot which is painful for them.

When should you start cutting them?

  • The breeder should start cutting your puppy's nails before you get them. By the time you get your puppy depending on the last time their nails were cut, you can begin furthering their nail training!

How frequently should they be cut?

  • We recommend every week or as needed based on length.

  • If your dog's nails are already too long then consult a groomer to get a better handle on shortening your dog's nails. If you're comfortable cutting them yourself afterwards then you can maintain their nails once it's kept to a safe length.

Do It Yourself (DIY)


  • Human Nail Clipper. You'll want to use human nail clippers while your dog's nails are small.

    • Baby size - When 1st getting your puppy their nails may still be small enough to use this tool.

    • Adult size - As you puppy gets a little older an Adult sized nail clipper will be needed before moving onto dog nail clippers.

  • Electric Toothbrush - For training before you use a dremel so they get used to the vibration.

  • Dog Nail Clipper

  • Dremel

  • Styptic powder (To stop bleeding if you cut their quick)

  • Treats so your dog can associate getting their nails cut with snacks.

How to cut them?

Visual on how Bree holds a paw

Tips to distract or calm them down?

  • Talk to your dog

  • Pet their face

  • Rub their belly

  • Use a food or snack they like to distract them

  • Try to get them to avoid seeing what you're doing

  • Have another person there to help.

What to watch out for during DIY?

  • If your dog is too nervous and wiggly then you may need an assistant to help you keep their paw steady.

  • Keep styptic powder on-hand just in case you cut their quick.

  • If your dog has a dewclaw, make sure they aren't missed when getting cut.

How do you know when to seek medical attention after cutting their nails?

  • If your dog's nail doesn't stop bleeding

  • If your dog's nail separates from their paw

  • Your dog's nail bed is swollen

  • Pus or other fluids coming out of the nail area

  • Their nail(s) become discolored

  • They begin limping when trying to walk

  • Their paw becomes painful

  • They have brittle nail(s)

Using A Service

  • Dremel or clippers?

How early can you take your puppy to a groomer?

  • You can start taking you puppy to the groomers after their 1st DHCPP or Parvo shot.

  • Taking them in to even meet the groomer for a first easy experience can help them relax for their follow up visits.

What owners need to know before going to a groomers?

  • Your dog will be nervous at first. The other dogs being groomed and the groomers themselves are strangers.

  • Waiting a long time before taking your dog to the groomers can be more traumatic for them since they are not used to being touched and grabbed when being given care.

  • Sometimes dogs can take longer than normal at the groomers because they're too nervous or don't like their feet touched. Your groomer may be working with your dog at the speed your dog is willing to be cared for.

  • Proof of vaccination(s) may be required before getting your dog cared for at a groomer.

  • Although precautions are taken to prevent the spread of infection it is always best to keep your dog vaccinated.

  • A good tip to help your dog transition to being cared for at the groomers is to play with their feet, hold their paw for longer and longer periods of time, and using an electric toothbrush to desensitize your dog to a dremel.

Interview with Bree at DaisyBelle Paw Spa

I started grooming my Yorkie when I was in the 5th grade and I groomed her until we lost her. At 17 I took my Shiatsu to a groomer for the first time and her eyeball got cut! I was terrified to have anybody else groom her again so I went to grooming school to figure out how to do it myself.

I've been grooming for 8 years now. I was working for another salon and they were looking to sell their business. My family and I decided to look into it and start our own salon instead.

When we needed to pick a name for our salon we decided to name it after my first dog Belle, She's what got me started grooming. And Daisy, Belle's sister from the next litter. We started our salon early in 2022. My sister is Bathing Manager, I'm the Salon Manager, and my Mom runs the front desk and accounting. It's been great being able to work with my family and to build up this amazing team we have at our salon.

To learn more about Bree and her family business visit DaisyBelle Paw Spa!

Disclaimer: Anything written on this website should not be considered medical advice. It is purely informative. Please refer to your local veterinarian for any health related concerns.