Finding the Quick on a Dog Nail

Finding the quick on a dog nail isn’t always easy. Many dog owners who want to trim their dog’s nails are worried about cutting into the quick causing it to bleed. However, there are ways of finding out where the quick starts and when to stop trimming.

Finding the quick on a white dog nailFinding the quick on white and light-colored dog nails

On pale dog nails you can usually see the pinkish outline of the quick just by looking at the nail. If you’re having difficulties take a torch and light up the nail from behind and it should become visible. Alternatively, rub it in baby oil or look at the underside of the nail where the quick is visible as a pink line.

Finding the quick on dark and black dog nails

Well, basically you can’t, not before you start trimming. Trim off a 1/16˝ or so to start, then take a look at the trimmed surface. If you are getting close to the quick you will see a whitish circle. If you are very near, there will be a dark dot in the middle of the whitish Finding the quick on black dog nailsarea. If the surface is uniformly colored continue to trim just a sliver of nail at a time until you see signs of getting close to the quick.

On the picture, the nail to the left has been cut right up to the quick. It is actually bulging out a little. So, no question of trimming any further! The middle nail shows mainly a whitish surface with just a hint of a black dot, so another sliver can be cut off. The nail to the right has a whitish ring with a clearly defined black dot in the middle and this is where you should stop.

Cutting into the Quick

If you are very concerned about cutting into the quick, an electric dog nail grinder is the best tool to use as the gradual grinding action allows you to continually check your progress which gives you much more control.

With pliers style clippers or a guillotine, remember to keep some styptic powder handy to help stop any bleeding.

Cutting into the quick is not dangerous in itself and the bleeding usually won’t take long to stop. However, if it does happen it’s important not to let your dog get the idea that it’s a terrible thing. He will remember it next time you you want to trim his nails and be much less willing to cooperate.

So, if you do cut into the quick and it starts to bleed, keep calm and don’t make a fuss of it. Pack some styptic powder on the end of nail and continue trimming the other nails with plenty of praise and a treat for each nail.

 Go to Dog Nail Grinder Guide

Go to Dog Nail Clippers Guide

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Mari C

Product researcher with a business degree and a MA in English Literature. Firm believer in learning by doing. Over the years, we've had many different dogs in our family, mainly working dogs like scent hounds, gun dogs, and cattle dogs. Presently, we have a determined little Shih Tzu/Tibetan Spaniel girl whose only job is to delight us with her merry company.

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