How to Cut Extremely Overgrown Dog Nails

Love Your Pets!

If some time has passed between nail trims, your dogs nails probably got super long.  How to cut dog nails that are too long is a common question from dog owners.

Find out below how to cut extremely overgrown dog nails yourself, even if they're black!

Health Issues and Long Dog Nails

Oh boy, you've let your dogs nails grow and grow.  Let this be a lesson to you to keep up on your dogs hygiene which includes not only shampooing and brushing your dog but also trimming their nails on a regular basis!

Why You Need to Trim Your Dog’s Overgrown Nails

Your dog can develop some serious health issues if you don't keep their nails short enough.  When the nail becomes so long it's pushing against the floor, that creates pressure on the pads of your dogs foot.

This then changes the way they walk.  This change in their walk can cause them pain all along their legs and even into their back.  These changes could permanently impact the way your dog walks and runs, causing arthritis and even the bones the change shape.

If your dog's nails get so long that they are curling over, they can actually pierce the pad of your dog's foot causing severe pain and even infection. 

How Often Do You Cut a Dog’s Long Nails Down?

Check in every 2-3 weeks and check the growth on your dog's nails.  Make sure that they are just touching the floor as a guide for when you need to trim them.  For overgrown nails. you need to trim them once per week until they are the proper length.

How to Cut Extremely Overgrown Dog Nails

how to cut extremely overgrown dog nails

So, you're ready to get those overgrown nails trimmed.  Just know, you won't be able to get it all done at one.  This is because the "quick" of the nail (the pink part on the bottom of the nail) grows out with the nail.  If your dog's nails are overgrown, the quick will be really long.

If you accidentally cut the quick, your dog will get hurt and it will bleed.  This will definitely teach your dog that nail trims are scary so be very careful here. Have some styptic powder on hand to stop the bleeding by dipping your dogs nail into the powder.  Keep reassuring your dog so they don't associate nail trimming with a negative or bad experience.

One tip is to use a flashlight and shine it behind or underneath the nail.  It will easily show you the quick.  

You will have to cut your dog's overgrown nails in stages to teach the quick to shrink.  The nail trimming stages should be about a week apart to give the quick enough time to shrink.

how to cut overgrown dog nails

My Pet District Tip

Another tip is to get someone to help you hold your dog and reassure them that this is a pleasant experience.

We've even seen people putting saran wrap around the top of their heads and covering it in peanut butter to both distract and reward their dogs while clipping their nails.  What a great idea!

If your dog hates having their nails trimmed like mine, I take her to the groomer.  They do nail trims for around $10-15.  They work magic, and my dog lets her do it without even a slight struggle!

If you need to get it done yourself, you can save a few bucks, if your dog is ok with it.  Follow our step by step instructions on how to cut extremely overgrown dog nails and get on top of your dog's nails for good.

Step by Step How to Cut Extremely Overgrown Dog Nails

Start training your dog when they're a puppy that nail trimming is a regular thing.  Just like brushing and other types of grooming, the sooner you start to teach your dog that this is a normal part of life, the easier it will be for you to do basic grooming yourself.

The best time to trim your dog's nails is when they're in a relaxed mood.  Right after they wake up or when they are tired and ready to go to sleep or when they are being super cuddly are perfect times.  

Have some treats handy as a reward for behaving while you trim their nails.  Just know that you might not be able to get all the nails done at once and have to try again later the same day or the next day, depending on how well your dog tolerates nail trims.  Be patient, your dog can tell if you're anxious of frustrated and will act the same way and associate nail trimming with something bad.

  1. Gather your guillotine nail clippers or normal nail clippers
  2. Start when you dog is tired or just waking up
  3. Give them a treat or two and pet them.  Speak to them softly so they are calm and happy
  4. FInd the nails that you think are the worst (curled over/super long) and start trimming those ones first
  5. Only cut a small amount off before the quick by looking at the nail and finding the pink part.  Cut before the pink part so you don't hurt your dog.
  6. Trim as many nails as you can without causing your dog any anxiety.  You might have to try again later that day or the next day.
  7. Enjoy Your dog's fully trimmed nails!


There you have it, how to cut extremely overgrown dog nails is a step by step process.  Once you've got their nails under control, you can sit back and check them every 2-3 weeks without worrying.