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How To Cut Dog Nails That Are Black? (Top 3 Simple Tips)

Last updated on December 18th, 2023 at 02:37 am

Trimming your dog’s nails makes them more comfortable as well as reduces scratches on your floor. However, this can be a stressful task for both you and your dog. So how do you cut dog nails that are black? After reading this guide and knowing all the handy tips, you’ll dive in full of confidence!

Black dog nail anatomy

Your dog’s toenail is divided into two main parts. The first is the hard outer shell. It doesn’t have nerves, so your dog won’t feel anything when you cut this part. The second is the quick. It contains blood vessels and nerves that run through your dog’s nails. Nerves in this part of the dog’s nails can cause bleeding and discomfort when cut. 

Learning to avoid the quick when trimming your dog’s black nails will save you and your pet a lot of stress. 

How do I know when to trim my dog’s nails?

How often should you clip your dog’s nails

A good rule of thumb is to cut your dog’s nails when you hear them clicking on the ground. Dog’s nails will grow and expand until they curl outward, or worse, inward, just like human nails.

Long dog nails can break off and injure dogs, leaving you with a mess and your dog with a painful broken nail. 

How often should you clip your dog’s nails?

Your dog’s nails need to be trimmed regularly – anywhere from once a week to once a month.

The best dog nail trimming tools

Dog nail trimming requires a few essential tools to make this session go smoothly. To trim your dog’s nails, you need to gather the following items:

1. Treats

tips for trimming dog nails

Treats will make trimming nails easier for both of you! Give your dog treats before and during the cutting session to make him perceive it as a pleasurable activity.

2. A small pair of scissors to trim the hair around the nail

3. Dog nail trimmer or grinder

Not all nail trimmers are created equal, and buying the right style and size for your dog will set you up for success.

There are two main styles of nail trimmers for dogs: scissor style and guillotine style. Scissor-style trimmers can be easier to use, but guillotine-style trimmers are commonly stronger and more precise. Make sure you buy sharp, well-designed trimmers for your dog’s size and replace the blade frequently to make the job easier.

It’s up to you whether you want to clip your dog’s nails with a nail trimmer or a grinder. Many owners, however, claim that nail grinders give them more control, which is beneficial when clipping black dog nails. They gradually grind down the nail, making it less likely that you’ll cut the quick (which is difficult to see).

4. Nail file to smooth out rough edges (optional)

how to cut dog nails that are black

5. Styptic powder to stop any bleeding.

Make sure you have styptic powder on hand to stop bleeding, regardless of the trimmer you use. It rapidly constricts blood vessels to slow bleeding.

How to find the quick on black dog nails?

To find the quick on dog nails, you need to trim slowly and check at the bottom of your dog’s nail after each cut. Checking their paw from the bottom helps you distinguish between the nail and quick. Then you can determine where it’s safe to cut.

When you get close to the quick, the center of the nail will look darker. So when the middle part of the nail starts to darken, you can stop trimming.

How to cut dog nails that are black and overgrown

How often should you clip your dog’s nails

Follow these steps to clip your dog’s nails once you’ve learned how to detect the quick on darker nails:

    1. Hold your dog’s paw in your hand (firmly but gently) and push any hairs out of the way to expose the nail.
    2. If you’re using a grinder, you may want to trim the fur around nails with grooming scissors so it will not get stuck in the blades.
    3. Position the clippers to cut the nail from top to bottom (not side to side)
    4. For black nails, trimming little by little is the only way to go. You can cut a small length of their nails (about 1/16 inch) and continue making little cuts and checking the bottom of their nails after each one.

When to stop cutting dog nails? Check the bottoms of your dog’s nails on a regular basis to see whether you’re getting close to the quick, which signals you should stop.

Top 3 pro tips for trimming dog nails

how to cut dog nails that are black
    • Make sure to give your dog treats so they may think of nail trimming as a fun activity. For example, feeding them something yummy like peanut butter can make a big difference. 
    • If your dog’s nails are naturally dry and crack or flake frequently, clipping them after a bath while they’re still moistened will help prevent further cracking.
    • If your dog is very resistant to nail trimming, ask someone else to help gently restrain your dog while talking to them. 

What happens if I accidentally cut my dog’s quick? 

Even if you’re a practiced nail trimmer, accidents still happen sometimes. So how do you make a dog’s quick stop bleeding? You can apply pressure to the tip of your dog’s nail with styptic powder until it stops bleeding.

If you don’t have styptic powder and need something quickly, try home remedies like flour, cornstarch, baking soda, plain bar soap, etc.


To trim your dog’s nails, you have to prepare a few essential items such as treats to encourage them, a pair of scissors, a dog nail trimmer or grinder, a nail file, and styptic powder.

How to cut dog nails that are black? For black dog nails, trimming little by little is the only way to go. Cut the nail from top to bottom (not side to side). Whether you’re getting close to the quick, stop nail cutting session.

Last but not least…

Many readers have loved learning how to train their dogs based on scientific methods from a free workshop conducted by Dr. Alexa Diaz (one of the top service dog trainers in the U.S.) and Eric Presnall (host of the hit Animal Planet TV show “Who Let the Dogs Out”) at the K9 Training Institute. In the free workshop, you’ll discover:

    1. How to train your dog using body language rather than verbal cues
    2. The 3 key techniques that service dog trainers use to train dogs and how you can use them too
    3. The most important step that “normal” dog owners have been missing (this is very important to get your dog’s attention, and it works 100% of the time)
    4. How to stop bad behaviors like excessive barking, pulling on the leash, jumping, etc.
    5. Why a lot of dog owners are unable to establish the amazing bond that service dog trainers have with their dogs


Whether your dog is a puppy or an adult, this pre-recorded workshop will help you train them successfully. You may not want to miss the chance to learn these groundbreaking techniques. Here’s the free workshop.

About us: Pet Chao is a community for Asian dog breed enthusiasts. Our goal is to keep you and your four-legged friend healthy and happy by providing valuable resources and fostering a like-minded community.

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