How To Use Dog Nail Clippers With Guard

There is nothing grandiose about how to use dog nail clippers with guard. It is basically the same as using a regular nail clipper, except that it is safer.

How To Use Dog Nail Clippers With Guard
Image by Nature_Blossom from Pixabay

That said, before we talk about how to use nail clippers, it is important to know the kinds of nail clippers available.

Kinds Of Dog Nail Clippers

There are basically two kinds of dog nail clippers: the scissors-like clippers and the guillotine-like clippers.

The scissors-like dog nail clippers usually do not feature a guard and are not as safe as their counterparts.

As a result, it is advisable to not use this on really big dogs and generally dogs who are difficult to restrain.

You also do not want to use this on dogs who have shown serious aversion to getting their claws cut. And this is basically because with these dogs, they could move suddenly and without a guard, there could be blood.

The other kind of nail clippers looks like a guillotine and is the kind that most likely comes with a guard.

The guillotine kind of clipper has an opening through which you insert the nail you want to cut. In that opening is the blade that does the actual cutting.

What the guard then does is to ensure that there is a restriction to the length of nail that can be cut. This way, even if your dog shakes or freaks out, you won’t accidentally cut off anything.

However, bear in mind that this guard does not decide the length of nail; you decide. The guard just makes it so that you do not go over the boundary you’ve set.

When you are using the guillotine kind of nail clippers, you want to make sure that the cutter is facing you and not the dog so that you can be sure of what is going on.

In this position, the cutter should be cutting from down to up and not up to down.

Watch this quick visual representation of what to do with the guard on nail clippers

That said, here are some tricks to cutting your dog’s nails.

Cutting Your Dog’s Nails

You want to be really careful when cutting your dog’s nails because blood vessels grow into dog nails.

So, while you might be really enthusiastic about ridding your dog of their long claws, here are a number of things to pay attention to.


So, first off, if your dog is small or medium sized, you could lay them on your lap and do the cutting. It is recommended that you start early to cut your dog’s nails so that they are used to the whole process.

That said, if your dog is big or has shown a great aversion for having their nails cut, you might need assistance to keep them still.

If you, however, do not have any assistance, it would be easier to lay your dog on a table such that you can stand to cut their nails.

Then you do not want to cut the nails of the paw closest to you; you want to reach over and cut the nails on the other side.

This way, you are putting some weight on your dog, keeping them in place. If your dog is extra fussy, you could place the hand that isn’t cutting on their neck for further support.

Cheshire Animal
Image by ulisesbeviglia from Pixabay

Different Nails

First off, the nails on your dog’s forelimbs are usually different from those on the hind limbs.

The forelimbs usually sport really long nails requiring more frequent cuts while the hind limbs are usually shorter requiring less frequent cuts.

Furthermore, dog nails could differ in shades. Some could be really light while others are pretty dark. The light colored nails are easier to cut because it is easy to notice where the blood vessels are.

For the light colored nails, you’ll notice that from the root of the nail to somewhere close to the top is pinkish. You want to stop cutting where the pink stops (or starts, depending on where you’re looking from).

On the other hand, it is impossible to immediately sport blood vessels with dark colored nails. So, you’ll have to cut really small bits and pay attention to the crown.

Once you cut to the point where you can see a greyish substance on the crown, you can stop your cutting right there as you are really close to the blood vessels.

Some dogs will have nails that are a combination of light and dark. It is advisable that you cut those like you would a dark colored nail.

Still talking about the kinds of nails, there is this one nail that isn’t attached to a paw but is attached to the limb by loose skin.

This nail is called the dew claw and is usually curved inward. Just make sure you do not forget about that one.

That said, using sharp clippers makes the entire process of nail cutting faster, seeing as you’ll only need one slice to get the nail off.

And finally, if you run into any issues and cut into a blood vessel, do not panic even though it is really painful for your dog.

Freaking out would just make your dog more agitated. Using a styptic pencil to stem the blood flow should take care of things in no time.

Check out these other articles:

How To Use Dog Nail Clippers With Guard — FAQs

Which Way Do You Hold Dog Nail Clippers?

Hold the dog nail clippers in such a way that they are around the nail. Make sure the solid plate is facing towards your dog with the cutter facing you. This way, the cutter should be down not up. So, it’s basically cutting from down to up and not up to down.

Can I Use My Nail Clippers On My Dog?

You shouldn’t try to use your nail clippers on your dog because they are actually not strong enough. Just from touching your own nails and your dog’s, you’d have come to the conclusion that your dog needs something more powerful than your own nail clippers.

Now, let’s be clear, we are not particular about preserving your nail clippers. We are more concerned about the fact that using a pair of blunt clippers to cut anybody’s nails could do serious damage to the owner of the nails.

Do Dogs Feel Pain When Having Their Nails Cut?

Dogs don’t necessarily feel pain when they are having their nails cut, despite the fact that they might whine or even bark. They whine and bark because the experience is uncomfortable for them and they would rather not be doing that.

However, be sure that what we just mentioned only applies if you are doing the cutting correctly. If you happen to cut the quick of your dog’s nail, it would really hurt them.

What Happens If You Don’t Cut Your Dog’s Nails?

If you leave your dog’s nails to grow too long, not only will they make a lot of noise as your dog walks, they’ll begin to curl inwards and grow into the pads of your dog’s feet. And that could be really painful.

If that doesn’t happen, the nails could split right down to the quick which would begin to bleed. Need we say more? Please cut your dog’s nails.

Does Walking Your Dog Trim Their Nails?

Whether or not walking your dog will trim their nails is dependent on the kind of surface.

If you are taking your dog out on walks on grassy lawns, chances are those nails aren’t getting trimmed. However, if you’re walking them on pavements and rough terrains, those nails would get trimmed.

Nonetheless, walks should never substitute for cutting your dog’s nails. They could help reduce the frequency but should never eliminate the act of cutting.

What Is A Good Length For Dog Nails?

If your dog’s nails do not touch the floor when their feet are on said floor, you have your good length there.

You could also just look at their nails and gauge whether or not they look to be protruding from the paws. If they are, they are certainly too long.

Can You Soften Dog’s Nails Before Clipping?

If you’re trying to soften your dog’s nails before clipping them, you could try clipping their nails immediately after a bath.

Using your own nails as a point of reference, you’ll notice that your nails get softer after they’ve come in contact with water. This could also work for your dog.

Leave a Comment