Dog toenails grow as do human fingernails and toenails. The nails should be kept in good trim to avoid scratching when the dog paws at a bare human leg and to keep the dog’s structure as sound as possible. Long nails can cause the dog to rock back on his paws, causing strain on his leg assemblies and interfering with his gait.

Sometimes, dog nails grind down if the dog exercises on concrete. Otherwise, the nails should be trimmed regularly. Regular nail trimming is important to your dog’s health and well being, especially the dew claw. Never use ordinary scissors to trim your dog’s nails. Use trimmers that are specially designed for dogs. Hold the dog’s paw firmly and cut off the tip of the nail with a single stroke. Be very careful to stop short of the quick, the blood vessel inside the nail. Cutting the nails right after bathing will make the quick more visible; applying baby oil will serve the same purpose. Follow up by filing your dog’s nails with a nail file. No matter how careful you are, you can accidentally hit a nail quick and cause some bleeding at some point.

Don’t panic. Here are some things that will stop the bleeding:

  • Kwik-Stop (a powder) or any styptic powder. This stings but is highly effective. Take a pinch of powder and press onto the tip of the affected nail after wiping away the blood.
  • Cornstarch or flour can also be used in a similar manner
  • You can press the affected nail into a bar of mild soap
  • For minor problems, simply applying pressure to the tip of the nail may be effective