Do dogs feel pain when cutting nails?

Anatomy of a Nail

Just like human nails, dogs do not have any feeling in the nail itself, but the quick contains a nerve that transmits sensations back to the brain. When trimming the nail, it is important to stay far enough from the quick to avoid causing pain or drawing blood.

Since years, pet owners have struggled with the dilemma of how to properly trim their dog’s nails.

However, the answer is that dog nails do indeed contain nerves. As a result, when a dog’s nails are being cut, the owner should be aware of the nail’s anatomy and avoid cutting the area where the nerve endings are located.

The History of Dogs’ Nails Causing Pain

Do dogs feel pain when cutting nails?

Since the first veterinary colleges and practices were established, we’ve learned more about dogs’ nail pain. This takes us back to 9000 BC, in nations like Egypt and Iran, where sheepherders treated and healed their injured animals, including dogs and sheep, using their early veterinary skills.

Even though we are unsure of how nail pain specifically affected our cherished canines during this time, we know that if it wasn’t treated, the dogs wouldn’t be useful for working.

It wasn’t until the late 18th century that veterinary medicine and practices began to take off. The first veterinary school was established by Claude Bourgelat in France in 1791, marking the start of the field of veterinary medicine. Veterinary schools continue to expand from France in nations like Germany, Sweden, and Denmark. London, England, which opened the London Veterinary College in 1791, came next.

In terms of veterinary advancement, North America wasn’t far behind, establishing the Veterinary College of Philadelphia in 1852. From there, veterinary medicine spread all over North America. The oldest veterinary school in America that is still in operation is currently the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

It is evident that the veterinary movement represented a global concern for the welfare of animals, particularly dogs. Our understanding of dogs experiencing different types of pain, and more specifically nail pain, developed after the establishment of veterinary practices.

Dogs use their nails for traction and balance when walking or running, and overgrown nails can cause accidents. Too-long nails increase the likelihood of a dog slipping and falling. A dog’s feet are positioned differently, in a “plantigrade” position, due to their long nails. In other words, to maintain balance, the nails “push” the dog’s toes up and cause the “heel” to drop, putting strain on the leg muscles and ligaments. Older, arthritic dogs find these changes to be particularly uncomfortable.

A relatively simple method of preventing injury to your pet is nail trimming. Your veterinarian or technician would be happy to assist you if you feel uncomfortable performing the task yourself. If your dog is active and their nails grow quickly, you should trim them every one to two months. Never let the nails get so long that your floors start to “click.”

The main reason to trim your dog’s nails, despite the fact that it can be frightening, is to prevent injury. The following are three unpleasant outcomes that could result from not trimming your nails.

One of the more difficult aspects of dog ownership for many people is nail trimming. It can be challenging to determine how short to cut a dog’s nail before it hits the “quick,” the blood vessel in each nail, if the dog’s nails are a dark color. Due to this behavior’s potential for dominance or because they may have had a bad experience in the past, many dogs find it repulsive to have their feet touched. It is best to start training your dog to accept having its feet handled when it is still a puppy.

Torn Nails: If a dog’s nails are too long, they may snag on anything, including carpet fibers and outdoor rocks and branches. This is especially common if your dog has dewclaws. If they exert enough force, the nail’s exterior can be torn off, revealing the quick and nerve endings. This can be very painful, and these kinds of wounds frequently become infected. In most cases, your dog will need to be treated at your neighborhood veterinarian, and in the worst cases, sedation may be necessary so that the wound can be cleaned and repaired.


Your dog may be in pain in their nail or paws if you suspect that they are trying to bite or pull out their own nail.

Your dog’s discomfort could be brought on by a number of things, including:

  • Allergies- If your dog is allergic to something, it could be causing them to lick or chew at their paws until they bleed.
  • Injuries- A cut, broken nail, or any other sort of injury can cause a dog to lick or chew at the area until it bleeds.
  • Nerve damage- If your pup has diabetes, they may experience nerve damage which can cause them to feel pain in their paws and nails.
  • The nails are too long and need a trimming or clipping.
  • Keep in mind that a dog or puppy with excessively long nails will start to experience pain in their toes and feet. When a dog’s nails are too long, their toenails curl into their paws, which can lead to back pain, knee injuries, and misaligned feet. Your dog’s nails should always be kept off the ground. If your puppy or dog’s nails can be heard “clicking” on the floor as they walk, their nails are too long and it’s time to break out the clippers!


    Does cutting dog nail quick hurt?

    The good news is that you can stop the bleeding from trimming your dog’s toenail too short in three simple steps. The bad news is that striking the quick will hurt your dog, make you nervous, and leave a bloody mess.

    Why does my dog scream when I cut his nails?

    Adult dogs might be afraid of the clippers and the sound they make, especially if they’ve had a bad experience in the past (having their nails “quicked” or cut too short). Desensitizing older dogs to nail trimming takes patience.

    How do you cut dogs nail without hurting them?

    Never cut across the finger with the clipper blades; keep them almost parallel to the nail. Use your fingers to separate the toes for clipping – don’t squeeze them – and hold the paw gently. Since cutting hair quickly dulls clippers, trim excess toe hair with a pair of blunt-edged children’s scissors.