Toenail Trimming

Allowing the toenails to grow excessively can cause the following problems

  • Foot deformities
  • Nail bed infections
  • Pain when walking
  • Injury to pet — such as scratching the eye
  • Scratching the owner and the house


Don’t make the mistake of buying cheap toenail trimmers. The steel in the blades of cheap cutters is not strong enough to cut toenails smooth, but rather “crushes” the nails, which can be very harmful to the interior parts of the toenail.



 Cutting the toenails too short will result in bleeding. Although it looks like a lot of blood, it really is not. It is impossible for a pet to “bleed to death” from a toenail trimmed too short. Commercial preparations are available to stop the bleeding. A simple home remedy is to push the bleeding nail down into a bar of soap.  The soap will pack up into the nail putting pressure to stop the bleeding.


The “quick” grows out as the toenail grows longer. Keeping the toenails cut short allows normal walking pressure to keep the “quick” short.  If the toenails are not kept trimmed, the “quick” will grow out so far that the toenails cannot be trimmed back properly without making them bleed.  In cases where this has happened, we recommend a toenail cautery procedure. This procedure involves sedating the pet to prevent pain so the toenails can be cut back to proper length.  After they are trimmed to proper length, the “quick” is cauterized to stop bleeding and seal the “quick” to prevent infection. Sometimes oral antibiotics are dispensed if nail bed infections were discovered at the time of the procedure. It is important after the procedure to keep the feet clean and dry for the next 7-10 days until healing occurs.

To watch our video of how to trim nails, visit

-From the Veterinarians of Heritage Veterinary Hospital (Drs. Joe, Julie, Stephanie and Jessica)


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