Trimming Black Dog Nails the Safe Way. Easy Once You Know the Trick.

Trimming Black Dog NailsHow do I clip my dog’s nails when they’re black? Where is the quick on black dog nails? Many dog owners fear trimming black dog nails because they will cut the quick and hurt their dog. But once you know how to clip black dog nails, it is just as easy as clipping lighter colored nails. The most important thing is to cut up to the pulp and no further.

Here is all the information (including photos) to give you confidence about clipping your dog’s black nails.

If you want to jump ahead (especially to the black nail pictures), please click the links.

What Happens if my Dog’s Nails Grow Too Long?

A major aspect of grooming your dogs is keeping their nails at an appropriate length. There are a number of things that can go wrong if you let your dog’s nails grow too long. First, your dog won’t be able to walk or run properly.

Imagine trying to walk around with your toes curled under your feet. When the dogs can’t walk properly, it puts a lot of unnecessary strain on their muscles and their spine. If the nails grow too long, they can become ingrown, and those ingrown nails are prone to infection and cause your dog a lot of pain.

When Should I be Trimming Black Dog Nails?

Trimming Black Dog NailsDogs’ nails should be trimmed whenever they get too long, no matter how old they are.

This includes puppies.

To tell if your dog’s nails are too long, you can see if you hear their claws click against a hard floor or path when they walk.

If their claws are clicking against tile, timber or concrete floors, they need to be trimmed.

You can also tell by holding up their paw and looking to see if the nail comes down over the pad of the paw.

Clippers or a File? Which is best for trimming black dog nails?

You can choose to use nail clippers or nail files to shorten your dog’s nails, depending on which you feel more comfortable using.

The clippers are quicker, while you’re less likely to have an accidental cut with a file.

A file will be very slow and your dog may not have the patience to tolerate it. If you want to file their nails, it’s best to use a Dremel dog nail grooming tool which is an abrasive rotating tool.

Don’t hold the Dremel rotating tool on your dog’s nails for too long at any one time because it can become hot. Use the Dremel for a few seconds and then stop and start again on another part of the nail.

When Should I Start Clipping my Dog’s Nails?

It’s very important that you start trimming your dog’s nails when they’re a young puppy. If you get them comfortable with having their nails trimmed early on, it will make everything much easier moving forward.

To get your puppy comfortable with having its nails trimmed, you should first get them comfortable with the sight and sound of the clipper. Give them some peanut butter or a treat, and clip the clippers near their paws without actually trimming their nails.

After some time doing this, they’ll be happy to see the clipper. Make sure you take things slow, because you don’t want to make your puppy afraid of the clippers. When clipping your dog’s nails, it’s very important that you don’t clip the quick.

Where is the Quick on Black Dog Nails?

The quick is the part of the nail that is colored differently and closer to the dog’s leg. On some nails, the quick will appear pink and the actual nail will appear white, while on others, it may appear black on black. This is when it becomes more difficult. When you’re trimming black dog nails you cannot see the quick from outside the nail.

If you clip the quick, it will not only cause tremendous pain to the dog, but the cut will bleed heavily. Avoid clipping the quick by making multiple small cuts and making your way up slowly before you go too far.

The trick to trimming black dog nails is to find the pulp.  The best way to decide on where to stop cutting the black nail is when you reach the pulp. As you cut, you’ll see a white color on the cut surface. This means you haven’t reached the pulp yet. The pulp is located just before the quick. It is dark in color but able to be identified by a circular appearance.

PICTURES on Trimming Black Dog Nails and Finding the Pulp (to avoid the quick on black dog nails)

1.  In this first photo you can see the nail clipped. It shows mostly a white color on the end.

Trimming black dog nails to avoid the quick 1


2.  After another clip…this photo starts to show some of the darker color in the center.

Trimming black dog nails to avoid the quick 2


3.  After yet another clip…now you can see the black pulp clearly in the center of the nail. This is when to stop. The pulp is just before the quick. Stop once you see the black pulp like this (below), otherwise the nail will bleed if you do another clip.

Trimming black dog nails to avoid the quick 3


Why is it Important to Cut Up to the Pulp on Black Nails?

As mentioned, the pulp is just before the quick. If you only take a minimal amount off the nail the quick will continue to grow longer. After trimming black dog nails (or lighter color nails) you actually want the quick to recede. Otherwise it will become difficult to cut the dog’s nails short enough the next time.

By cutting a dog’s black nails up to the pulp, this encourages the quick to recede. This is what you want. It helps your dog to stay in good health and helps avoid painful problems from long or overgrown nails in the future.

What if I can’t Locate the Pulp on Black Nails?

Trimming black dog nails is daunting the first few times. If you’ve looked at the photos and educated yourself, but you’re still worried about doing it yourself, it’s time for a dog professional. You can get a dog groomer to show you how it is done on your dog.

They can show you how to clip the nail up to the pulp and where to stop. There is nothing better for learning, than seeing it first-hand. They might even recommend the clippers they use and the brand of styptic powder (just in case). Styptic powder is used to stop bleeding if you accidentally clip the quick.

Trimming black dog nails is the hardest grooming task for any dog owner to conquer. We all worry about hurting our dog. The best place to start is by making your dog happy around the clippers and the Dremel. Give your dog treats and praise. Aim for a relaxed experience and you and your dog will both enjoy it (to see this in action, see the video below).

Want to know the best tips for getting rid of matted dog hair? Read them here.

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