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Here’s How to Cut Your Pet’s Nails Without Anything Fluid All Over Your Nails

Despite their happy nametags, puncture wounds are nature’s way of reminding you that your fur baby is a fully-fledged animal (much like the blister pads they can shed). But yes, you can love your pooch while snapping sharp nails out of his knuckles, and so can your dog-but they’ve got to be done with the traditional 20-second cut — don’t even think about a whole nail-crushing pain or sore claws the next time you go for a walk.

While we’ve seen a slew of quick tricks for dog owners, human health and shelter programs might not be in the picture, and if they are, they’re not always easy to deploy. If you have a normal round nail, a simple cut with straight nail clippers or a pencil will do the trick. Alternatively, a Tickle attack can require a small nail-clipper, while an open wound will require a towel or soft cotton bandage. It might seem messy, but there are ways to remove all the shingles without any trace or hint of fluid or alcohol residue on your nails.

Bonus tip: if you’re a double dog-parent, and you’re using old-school tools (clippers, brad pins, or dog syringes), clean out your “stuff” first. “Getting your things in order prior to a trip like this can help make the task far less messy for everyone,” says Regina Pulcari, a volunteer advocate with the New Jersey Veterinary Hospital Association.


As a refresher on the methods, here are tips for doing a proper nail-cutting — don’t forget to ensure everyone is sterilized beforehand.

Nail clippers

A small needle-nose pliers is all you need to cut the nail. The nail can be scraped out of the nail, popped right out, or cut out and placed in a baggie for a more clean-cut result.


A straight razor blade is perfectly capable of cutting up the entire nail. This option works well for larger “upskirt” cuts.

Nail-clipper or razor blade

While a mouse-scraper-style knife is likely too overpowering, if you have a topical nail-cutting product, it’ll work well.


Nail-clipper or razor blade cut-and-put-bandage. Place the bandage on top of the nail, then carefully put the nail-clipper over the affected side to secure it in place. Leave it on for ten minutes or so.

Tickle attack

This is a biggie, so read on.


If you’re dealing with a preemie cut, a towel or soft cotton bandage will do. However, if you’re dealing with a swollen wound, a thin gauze can be placed directly over the open wound. Again, read on for more details.


This is another try-out option. Cut a small circle on the base of the nail. Apply a few drops of acetone to a cotton ball and place it over the already treated wound. Once dissolved, remove the excess.

If you’re dealing with a flare-up