How To Cut Black Dog Claws – Without Cutting Nerve

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cutting black claws on dogs

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If you have a dog with black claws, then the nail-clipping task can be one that causes some anxiety. For our own dog, a border terrier, we used to stress about cutting his claws after our very first attempt which resulted in a small injury. After that first attempt, we did some more thorough research into the question of how to cut black dog claws.

Our dog, Alfie, is now seven years old, so he’s grown a lot since we took the picture shown above. And of course, we now trim his claws as a matter of routine rather than an event causing trepidation.

How To Cut Black Dog Claws – Without Cutting Nerve

Alfie As PuppyAlfie didn’t look too confident in our abilities when he was a puppy!

How To Cut Black Dog Claws: Tools, Accessories,  and Guide

Even when you exercise caution, it is still possible to cause injury to your dog while cutting his claws. The most common problem can arise with dogs that dislike having their paws touched. Dogs like this continuously try to pull away their legs during the trimming process. With such dogs, it is advisable to have one person gently hold the paw, while you do the trimming.

If you do happen to cause an injury that bleeds, have some cornstarch to hand. To use this, pour some cornstarch into your cupped-hand and then place the dogs’ paw into your hand into the cornstarch.

If you don’t have any cornstarch, then flour can also be used.

Please Note: using home remedies such as cornstarch or flour do not work as quickly as the more recognized solutions used by vets. Your veterinarian would typically use styptic powder. If you opt for the cornstarch or flour, then be prepared to press your dogs’ claw into the powder with some slight pressure and hold for 2 to 3 minutes. Repeat if the bleeding continues and maintain light pressure for longer.

The trimmer we use for Alfie is the guillotine style manufactured by Resco. Our main reason for buying this brand was because Resco invented the guillotine clipper back in 1937, and we figured that it would be the best for this reason (we have never been disappointed!) You can see the latest price on Amazon here: Resco Trimmer.

How To Cut Black Dog Claws – What To Look Out For

Please refer to this diagram and the following instructions which accompany the picture:

cutting black dog claws instructions

I have created the above diagram to show you what to look out for when trimming your dogs’ claws. The following steps accompany this diagram.

  1. For the very first snip, make sure to only trim-off a tiny amount. If the claw is sharp, then just trim off the very tip (the point). The entire process is going to involve trimming-off very thin layers one at a time. I try to aim for 1/2 mm approx.
  2. While the diagram shows four stages, the actual process may take 8 to 14 very fine trims for each claw. I showed 4 to show the overall progress while trimming the nail.
  3. With each fine cut, you’ll see the black nail around the edge, and within that, you’ll see a white, almost chalky inner layer.
  4. At stage 4 in the diagram, I am showing when to stop trimming this particular claw. In the picture at step 4, and on your dogs’ claw, you’ll eventually see a small dark grey or black spot. When you see that dot –  stop trimming!

We have been trimming Alfie’s claws using the method above for seven years now,  and we’ve had no injuries at all. The only casualty was during our first ever attempt before we started using this ‘black dot’ technique.

Finally, this is what a grateful border terrier looks like :)

Grateful Happy Contented Border Terrier