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

Basically, there are two kinds of dog nail clippers. One of them is scissors-like and usually does not feature a guard.

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.

About Cutting Your Dog’s Nails

The first thing to be aware of (which you probably already know) is that blood vessels grow into dog nails.

So, while you might be really enthusiastic about ridding your dog of their long claws, you want to be really careful and 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.

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