Trim A Small Dog's Nails At Home

#1 Method to Trim a Small Dog’s Nails at Home

Updated 03/25/2024 by Ava Jaine

Do you get stressed at the thought of trimming your dog’s nails? You’re not alone! This is truly one of the biggest challenges all dog parents have to face.

For me, I couldn’t continue the fighting and biting anymore. I knew there had to be a better way – and there is!

I found the best Method To Trim A Small Dog’s Nails At Home.

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Table Of Contents


Dog Bites When Trimming Nails?

Many dogs hate getting their nails trimmed. As a result, they fight and they bite to avoid it. But, it is important to trim your pup’s nails on a regular basis, so how the heck do people get through it?

I’ve wrestled, tackled, and wrapped my pups in a thunder vest while trimming dog nails over the years. It was always a three person job, and yes, it was stressful on all of us…especially on our dogs.

My Dog’s Nail Trimming Reaction: My dachshund, Eko’s, eyes would literally turn black, he thrashed his body around like a fish on a hook, and he would bite really hard.

I knew that his constant flailing around could majorly injure his back. We needed another way, because just holding him down wasn’t working.

Trim A Small Dog's Nails At Home

How To Cut Your Small Dog’s Nails Without A Fight

If you have multiple dogs at home, you know that taking all of them to the groomer is just too expensive. So, many of us often have to learn how to cut our dog’s nails at home.

Unfortunately, cutting dog nails can be stressful on you and your pup, so it is best to use a method that makes it so much easier.

My Secret: The Grooming Hammock

My dogs, Eko, Bastian, and Gretta did awesome in the dog grooming hammock. I purchased the medium-sized dog hammock for my pups.  They all fit just fine, despite their different sizes. 

The dog hammock, size medium, can fit dogs up to 65 pounds.  They also have dog hammocks in size small and large.

No more wiggling and no more biting! This hammock helps hold your small dog in place while you trim their nails, and YES – this really does work!

See my pictures of my pups, Eko and Gretta below.

Trim A Small Dog's Nails At Home
Trim A Small Dog's Nails At Home

Before Trimming Your Dog’s Nails

Before you cut your small dog’s nails, practice touching and holding your dog’s paw gently for a few seconds at a time. Then, give them a treat.

This helps your dog stay calm when their paws are being touched. Do this a couple times per day to prepare them for their dog nail trimming.

Prepare Your Tools:

Before you sling up your pup, gather all of your tools ahead of time and have them ready to go.

You will need:

  • Grooming Hammock
  • Pre-cut soft dog treats
  • Clean scissor-style dog nail trimmers
  • Small bowl of corn starch
  • Paper towels or gauze
  • At least one helping hand
  • Scoop of peanut butter or super treat

How To Trim A Small Dog’s Nails: Step By Step

  • Grooming Hammock:

    A minimum of two people is required to be present when using the dog grooming hammock to ensure safe and proper use.

    Carefully put your dog into the grooming hammock and hook it up to your strongest shower or closet pole. I always have my husband help me with this to make sure we both have a good grip.

    Note 1: Never leave the room once your dog is hanging in the hammock.

    Note 2: Please fully read the Dog Grooming Hammock Usage Disclaimer.

  • Treats and Talk

    Throughout the nail clipping process, have a helper give your pup small easy-to-chew treats.

    Also talk to your dog. Try to keep them distracted with your voice and treats as much as possible to help them stay calm.

  • Clipping:

    Gently hold onto your dog’s paw and insert your dog’s toenail into the clipper. Take a moment before your snip to make sure your pup is holding still and cut off the tip of the nail.

    You only need to take off a small amount, about 1 millimeter.

  • Praise:

    After each nail is trimmed, verbally praise with “Good” and have your helper give them a small treat.

    Staying calm, giving positive verbal praise, and providing delicious dog treats are going to help you and your dog through this process.

  • Positive Ending:

    When you are done cutting your dog’s nails, give them a super yummy treat.  Something like scrambled eggs or peanut butter. Make it really special and positive.


What If My Dog’s Nails Bleed?

If you are trimming your dog’s nails and accidently cut them too short, there’s going to be a bit of blood.

Stay calm and don’t panic.

Your dog will mirror your reaction with anxiety and stress, and will in turn hate the nail trimmings even more.

So, take a breath and concentrate on fixing the nail.

To stop the nail bleeding, apply some pressure to the nail with a thick paper towel or some gauze to slow down the bleeding.

Then, push your dog’s paw, with the bad nail, into a small bowl of corn starch.

You can also add a pinch of corn starch to your dog’s nail manually to help pack it in. This helps to stop the dog nail from bleeding.

Give your pup some extra love and treats.


Nail Trimming Tip

If you don’t think you cut your dog’s nails short enough after the first clipping, NEVER clip them a 2nd time.

This was a mistake that I made in the past, and I have learned from it. It will always cause a bleeder, avoid re-trimming the nail.

Trim A Small Dog's Nails At Home

Alternative Nail Trimmer

If you notice that the nail trimmers are just to hard to use or your dog’s nails tend to bleed easy, try the Dremel PawControl Dog Nail Grinder instead.

That way you can take a little off at a time and watch closely to avoid a nail bleed.

Trim A Small Dog's Nails At Home

How Often Should You Trim Your Dog’s Nails?

Many dog trainers and groomers recommend getting a dog’s nails trimmed more often, like once per week, to help them get used to it.

Personally, I manually trim my dog’s nails at home every 2-3 weeks.

Tell us about your dog nail trimming experience.  What works for you?

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Disclaimer: Dog Grooming Hammock Usage

The dog grooming hammock recommended on this website is intended to facilitate the grooming process for pets. While I believe it can provide a convenient and comfortable solution, it’s important to note that improper use may lead to unintended outcomes.

Users are responsible for following the manufacturer’s guidelines, instructions, and safety precautions when using the dog grooming hammock. Failure to do so may result in injury to the pet or the user, or damage to the product itself.

Ava Jaine and are not liable for any misuse, neglect, or failure to adhere to proper usage instructions that may cause harm, discomfort, or negative consequences. Users assume full responsibility for their choice to use the recommended product and are advised to exercise caution, especially if unfamiliar with its operation.

If uncertain about the correct usage or if the pet has specific needs or conditions, it is recommended to seek guidance from a qualified veterinarian or professional dog groomer. By using the recommended dog grooming hammock, users acknowledge their understanding of this disclaimer and agree to use the product responsibly and at their own risk.