Trimming a dog’s nails is an essential grooming practice for all pet owners. Long toenails not only look bad, but they can cause health problems and impact your dog’s wellbeing. If left untrimmed, long dog nails can actually be very painful to your dog.

When you can hear your dog walking and tapping their nails on the floor, or when they accidentally scratch you, you know it is time to cut their nails. But what if you have an uncooperative dog? Does your dog get anxious and start to panic when you grab the nail clipper? Do you have to chase your dog around the house just to clip one nail? And when you’re able to hold them for that dreaded nail clip, does it seem like a fight? Well, you are not alone.

We have gathered some simple tips that may help you trim your uncooperative dog’s nails. But first, you need the right tools to be able to get the job done painlessly and efficiently.


1. Dog Grooming Hammock

A dog grooming hammock is one of the best tools you can use to trim you dog’s nails. It’s a great tool if your dog gets anxious when you try to cut their nails. A grooming hammock holds your dog in place, helps them to relax, and most importantly you won’t have to chase your dog around with the nail clipper, which can actually be a little dangerous.

The grooming hammock helps your dog stay still so you can cut their nails in a matter of minutes. We love the Freshly Bailey Grooming Hammock because it is of the highest quality that you’ll find on the market. It is lined, breathable, and comfortable. It also includes a nail grooming kit, which is a plus!

Before you purchase a grooming hammock, keep in mind that professional groomers recommend only using the hammock with dogs that weigh 30 pounds or less. Using a hammock for a larger dog may not be safe.

2. A Quality Nail Clipper

There are many different types of nail clippers on the market. The best one really depends on you and your dog. Find one you feel comfortable with and one that is designed for your dog’s nails. Some clippers are made for smaller dogs, and some are made for large, thick nails.

You may also like try a nail grinder. Some people like to use only the nail grinders on their dog’s nails, and some use them just to add the finishing touch on the nails after trimming them with a clipper.

3. Styptic powder

It is great to have styptic powder on hand when trimming you dog’s nails just in case you cut too much and their nail starts to bleed. If this happens, you can apply a little bit of styptic powder right away to stop the bleeding. You may also use cornstarch or flour.

4. Treats

Have your dog’s favorite treats ready to reward them. This is very important as it will create a positive grooming experience when getting your dog’s nails cut.


1. If your dog weighs less than 30 pounds, a grooming hammock is the best option to cut an uncooperative dog’s nails.

Get your dog into the hammock. Make sure they are calm. Use treats to reward their good behavior. Most people that get a grooming hammock are able to cut their dog’s nails in a matter of minutes as their dog is now calm, relaxed, and can’t go anywhere.

2. If you do not have a grooming hammock or are not able to use one, you want to prepare your dog and make sure they get familiarized with the process before trimming right away.

Follow these simple tips to get them familiarized:

A. Begin by holding and lifting your dog’s paws. Hold for 5 to 20 seconds, and then try for 15 to 30 seconds. Reward with treats for good behavior. Do this daily until they get accustomed.

If your dog reacts aggressively, gently restrain them by placing your arms around their neck, and firmly say “NO”.

B. Take your dog for a swim or get their toenails in water as this can soften the nails making it easier and faster to trim each nail.

C. After your dog seems used to you holding their paws, and they are calm and relaxed, begin by carefully cutting only one nail. Wait for your dog’s reaction, and if they are compliant and tolerant, keep going. If they get agitated, stop, and begin the process again the next day.



1. Grab your dog’s paw in a comfortable position.

2. Decide which toe to start with and expose the nail.

3. Cut the nail.

Pro Tip: For white nails - don’t cut the pink part. For black nails, cut a little bit at a time. When you start seeing a black dot in the middle of the white chalky area, stop!

4. If the nail starts bleeding, you have cut the quick. Quickly apply styptic powder to the nail.

5. Cut the rest of nails if your dog is tolerant and compliant.

6. Reward with treats.

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