Dog’s nails should not be touching the floor when your dog is standing straight on all four paws (refer to picture below). If the nails touch the floor they may be pushing up on the toe and causing an uncomfortable and unnatural foot position. If your dog bleeds when you attempt to cut the nails to the proper length, you may need to work on shortening the quick. Do not continue to cut the nails if you are causing bleeding. Use styptic powder to stop minor bleeding by holding powder against the injury. The quick is similar to a human nail bed. It is made of soft tissue and contains the veins and nerves that attach to the digital pads.
Parts of the nail
How to shorten the quick?
Routine weekly or biweekly nail trims should help shorten the quick over time. Using a dremel may help you get closer to the quick without hurting it. Refer to the chart below on how to cut the nails. Remember, it is best to do a little bit at a time to minimize stress.. Doing small shaves makes cutting the quick less likely.
The chalky layer will be white on both colors of nails. You may see some brown or tan in the nail of light colored dogs. This may be due to dirt or natural coloring. The quick may be pink (even with black nails) or black and have the texture of hardened skin
Dogs with light fur/skin typically have slightly transparent nails. You should be able to see the pink quick from the side as shown in the tables above and below.
Top nail is wet with water to remove chalky texture and show structure.
Dark Trimmed Nails
Black nails are typically more difficult as you cannot see the quick from the outside. Look at the size of the chalky layer while trimming. As you get closer to the quick, this layer will grow as seen in the diagram to the left.