How To Cut German Shepherd Nails

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Trimming your German shepherd nails is important when grooming your dog, it is beneficial to the dog and the owner too. Cutting German shepherd nails is an easy task but can get complicated if not done the right way. So, what is the right way to cut your German shepherd’s nails? 

When cutting your German shepherd’s nails you should have everything needed for the process ready. Look for a comfortable location free from distractions and ensure that your dog is calm. Using a nail clipper, trim the nails bit by bit. Ensure you have treats to keep him calm. Trim the nails to prevent rough endings. You should have a first aid kit in case you cut the nails quick.

This article has everything to do with dog nails like structure, the process of cutting them, the advantages of cutting the nails, and more.


German Shepherd Nail Structure

Their nails are made of keratin (hard protein with dead cells) which enables them to have a stronghold of things like a predator while herding or a prey while hunting.

All canines have a soft center in their nails containing blood vessels and nerves and it nourishes the nails. If the quick is cut, it bleeds and causes a lot of pain to the dog and infections to the nails. Avoid cutting the quick to avoid these problems.

The dog’s nails vary in color from one dog to the other, they can be brown, black, or white. The light-colored nails are easy to identify the quick compared to the darker ones. You should know the color of your dog’s nails so that you can notice any change from their original color, it can be an indication of a health problem.

The Steps To Take When Trimming German Shepherd Nails

 Step1: Find A Good Location

 Find a place that is free from noise and movement of things that can distract your dog. The place should have adequate light to help you locate the quick easily, it is advisable to trim the nails in daylight.

 Step 2: Assemble Your Tools

Keep the tools required for the process in one place, this is because some GSDs will be in a hurry to get away from the nail cutting business and will take the chance to leave anytime you wake up to look for the next tool. These tools include a nail clipper, a nail grinder, leash, muzzle, and powders to stop bleeding like cornstarch powder or styptic powder.

Step 3: Find A Comfortable Position

Know the best place that’s comfortable with your dog, it might be on the floor, the coach, or on the laps. The position you choose should make him comfortable and at the same time easy for you to access his paws.

Step 4: Hold His Paws In The Right Position

Hold the paws softly but firmly and cut the nails. You should not be in a hurry when cutting the nails to avoid cutting the quick.

If at any point your dog shows signs like he wants you to stop, pause and wait until the next day to continue. Forcing him will make him hate nail trimming forever.

If you have problems cutting the nails, ask for assistance from the vet or a groomer.

Benefits Of Cutting German Shepherd Nails

  • Trimmed nails enhance the hygiene and health of your dog.
  • Allows the dog to play comfortably without any pain.
  • The dog will not damage the carpet or flooring.
  • The nails will not be at risk of cracking and splitting.
  • It is beneficial to the owner because he will not be scratched while playing with him or the kids.

When To Trim Your Dogs Nails

You should regularly check your dog to decide if they need trimming or not. The rate of nail growth varies from one dog to the other.

The surfaces that the paws of your dog come into contact with also determine whether they need trimming or not. If your dog normally walks on hard surfaces like concrete, his nails will wear off and will not require regular trimming.

Why Do German Shepherds Hate Having Their Nails Cut

Pain or Trauma

Your German shepherd will refuse or fear his nails to be cut if he has joint problems or someone in the past had cut his quick.


If your dog is not used to being held on the legs, he can feel ticklish when touched.

Dominance Issue

A dog can have dominance aggression that makes them feel inferior when you take his leg and hold it. This type of aggression is rare in dogs.


Cutting German shepherd nails is an easy task that requires one to be extra keen to avoid hurting him. Remember to use the right tools when cutting German shepherd nails and have them assembled before starting the process.

Make a habit of holding your dog’s legs so that he can be comfortable whenever you are cutting his nails.


Carol is a paw parent, and her love for dogs started when she was just 5. She adores her two German Shepherds and a Bengal cat, who she says, "life would be incomplete without"

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