As a responsible dog owner, it is important that you keep your dog's nails trimmed. Trimming your dog's nails regularly will help to prevent painful cracks and breaks as your dog runs on the sidewalk and other hard surfaces. Additionally, keeping your pet's nails trimmed helps to prevent scratches in the event that your dog gets excited and jumps up on someone. 

Since you cannot see the quick in a black dog's nails, trimming them requires extra knowledge and care to prevent pain and bleeding. Follow these steps to trim your dog's black nails safely:

Use an Appropriate Tool for Your Dog's Nail Size

For a very small dog, such as a poodle, you can use human toenail clippers to keep their nails trimmed. Since they are small and easy to handle, this type of clipper works the best for a small breed dog.

Medium and large size dogs' toenails should be trimmed using either a nail clipping tool or a sanding tool. The advantage of using a clipping tool is that the procedure is faster and doesn't require your dog to stay in one location for a long period of time. However, using a sanding tool allows you to remove the nail one layer at a time and stop immediately at any signs of pain or bleeding. Ultimately, which tool you choose is simply a matter of personal choice.

Identifying the Quick Location in Black Toenails

Whether you choose to cut or sand, you need to identify the quick's location in each toenail so you can avoid cutting into it. If you cut into the quick, the toenail will be painful for your dog and it will bleed for a little while. 

Note: If you cut the quick in your dog's nail, do not panic. The dog will not bleed to death or be seriously injured. Simply dip the bleeding nail in some corn starch from your kitchen pantry and it will stop the bleeding.

The easiest way to determine the quick's location in a black nail is to place your dog in a lying position where you can see the underside of their nails. You will see the quick as a triangular area on the portion of their nail closest to their foot. On the end of the nail, you will see a thin piece that connects to the point of the quick. You should cut or trim the nail only on the thin end and leave a small bit of the thinner nail next to the quick just to be certain you don't cut into it.

Seeking Additional Help

Finally, if you do not feel comfortable tackling the job of trimming your dog's nails yourself, then you can have them professionally trimmed by your veterinarian or a groomer. Contact a company like Grove Center Veterinary Hospital for more resources.