The Anatomy of Dog Nails

As you probably know, if you cut the nail too short, it will bleed. And it will hurt your dog too! That’s why many poodle owners are very apprehensive about trimming dog nails.Anatomy of Dog Nails

By understanding basic nail anatomy, you will be trimming dog nails with confidence in no time.

In this diagram, you can see the “quick” in the center of the nail. The quick is made up of blood vessels and nerves. It is the blood supply to the nail.

For dogs with white nails

… the quick can be easily seen from the outside of the nail. The pink part of the nail is where the quick is showing through. The narrower curved end of the nail extends beyond the quick and is white.

Trim just beyond the pink of the nail. When looking at the cut edge of the nail, you could trim until you just start to see a pink dot in the center of the cut end.

Watch a helpful video for trimming white nails on our Dog Nail Trimming page.

For dogs with black nails

… it’s impossible to see where the quick is from the top of the nail.

But if you look at the underside of the nail, you can see a groove in the nail where the hard nail turns to a softer inner tissue. The soft black tissue (pulp) on the inside of the nail is the part you want to avoid.

Trim small bits off at a time, looking at the cut end after each snip. When you can see a black dot in the middle of the cut end, stop. That’s the quick.

It’s important to realize that the quick grows out along with the nail. If the nail grows too long before being clipped, you will have to trim only a small amount and then wait for a week or so while the quick recedes before you can trim more.

It’s much easier to just get in the habit of checking your dogs’ nails routinely and trimming when needed.

Overgrown Dog Nails Can Affect Gait

Unlike people, dog’s walk on their toes. Because of that, their gait can be affected adversely when nails are allowed to grow too long.

And the nails hitting pavement can damage the nail bed. So trimming your poodle’s nails is not just cosmetic. It’s a necessary part of your grooming program.

Nail Trimming Nail Clippers

Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day.John Grogan