As part of your normal dog grooming process, your dog's nails should be trimmed. Trimming a dog's nails can be intimidating if you have never done it before. It really is not as difficult as it sounds though. Once you get the hang of it, it is actually very easy. You should start trimming your dog's nails when he or she is still a puppy. By starting the nail trimming when a dog is young, they are more likely to become used to the process and not give you as hard of a time as an older dog. Don't be surprised if your dog constantly pulls his paw out of your hand, many dogs do not like their paws touched and held because they are not used to the feeling. In between nail trimming, hold his or her paw and gently stroke it so the dog has a good association between his or her paw being held and you.
Give your dog a nice long bath before starting a nail trim. The water will make his or her nails softer and easier to cut.
Use only nail trimmers made for dogs. Do not use nail clippers made for people. Nail clippers made for humans will not work well, most dog's nails are too thick to properly fit between the blades and this can lead to an injury. Dog nail trimmers are available at pet stores.
Locate the area known as the quick. This area will be a different color than the ends of the nails. The quick is generally a reddish color. The quick contains many blood vessels and will bleed if you cut the nails too short. If your dog has dark colored nails, the quick will not be visible.
Hold your dog's paw with your thumb on the pad of his paw and gently squeeze. Clip a little of the nail off at a time. Be sure to stay away from the quick. If you do nick the quick use a stypic powder or pencil made for dogs to stop the bleeding.
Use a file to smooth away any jagged edges.