How to Cut Shih Tzu Nails


how to cut shih tzu nails

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It can be a little daunting to cut your Shih Tzu’s nails for the first time. This is because they’re so small, and there’s always that fear of hurting them. But with a bit of practice, you’ll be able to get the job done quickly and easily. In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps on how to cut Shih Tzu nails correctly. So read on to learn more!

How to Cut Shih Tzu Nails

Shih Tzu’s nails are flatter than most other dogs, making them easier to cut. However, the quickness is not very apparent in their nails, so you have to be careful while missing; otherwise, you will accidentally cut the quick and cause bleeding.

Things You’ll Need:

  • Nail clippers
  • Mat for the dog to stand on
  • Soft treat or kibble
  • Water

A Stepwise Guide on How to Cut Shih Tzu Nails

Step 1: Determine How Long Your Dog’s Nails Should Be

Shih Tzu breeds need to have their nails trimmed every 2-3 weeks. How often they need clipping will depend on how fast their nails grow. If you can hear the dog’s nails clicking on the floor, it is time to trim. You also need to listen to if your dog or puppy has his paws up against something and what it sounds like when he takes them down from that surface.

Step 2: Purchase an Appropriate Pair of Dog Nail Clippers

There are different types of clippers, including guillotine, pliers type, and scissors. The best choice is usually determined by what fits best in your hand and offers a good grip. On the other hand, some types may be harder to maneuver. Another deciding factor is how much money you are willing to spend on nail clippers. You can purchase high-end models like the Dremel, which allows you to grind nails rather than cut them. There are also battery-operated ones that do not require hand strength at all.

Step 3: Prepare the Area and Make Sure It’s Dry

It is best to cut the nails after the dog has had his bath, so they are clean. You can also clip them outside if it is a nice day or in the comfort of your home, but you should ruffle up their fur with your hands first because it can be slippery when wet. Also, the surface you place your dog on should give him enough room to spread out his legs without struggling comfortably. It also needs to be non-skid and absorbent for safety purposes.

Step 4: Prepare Your Dog for the Nail Clipping Process

The first step is to get your dog or puppy used to having his paws handled so he won’t resist when it comes time for clipping. Spend several minutes every day just getting him used to the feeling of having his feet touched and lifted. While doing this, put a favorite treat between your fingers, so he has an incentive if he holds still long enough for you to touch all his paws.

This will also help him associate nail clipping with something positive instead of a bad experience that he will try to avoid in the future. These steps will help in how to cut shih tzu nails.

Use Nail Clippers

Step 5: Soften Up the Nails

Before you clip your dog’s nails, they should be softened up first. How you do this depends on whether there is a blood supply to the claws. If there isn’t, then soaking them in warm water for 10 minutes and then applying some Kwik Stop Styptic Powder can help minimize bleeding.

How well this works will depend on how long your dog’s nails are and how sensitive their skin is. To make sure this step has been appropriately applied, use a flashlight and see if you can see a pinkish

Step 6: Hold Your Dog When Cutting Nails

Make sure that the dog is standing on a hard surface, like floor tiles. If it is standing on soft surfaces like carpets or towels, this might cause discomfort when you cut its nails.

To prevent causing your dog pain during the procedure, give him a treat. This way, he will understand that nail clipping does not equal pain and be more comfortable with it in time. Also, give him small pieces of kibble or treats if he seems bothered by what you are doing.

Alternatively, you can put the dog into a ‘down’ position before clipping his nails. Tell him to lie down and follow through with giving him his treat once he complies. If the dog tries to get away while you are trying to clip its nails, hold on tightly with both hands until it stays in position.

Step 7: Clip Your Dog’s Nails

After doing the appropriate preparation checklists, you can cut your dog or puppy’s nails. Use treats when necessary. How much pressure is needed will depend on how close the blade gets to the pink area inside each claw, also known as the quick.

You need to make sure that this part of their nail does not get clipped because there is a vein there that would be easily damaged, resulting in bleeding if cut too short. Be very careful not to cut into this area since blood cannot clot appropriately inside the dog’s paw.

Use Nail Cutting Tool

Clipping the nails will be done with one hand holding the dog steady while resting its body on a soft surface and clipping with your other hand. The blade will stop short of the quick, but you need to make sure that you don’t overshoot it for this not to happen.

When checking each nail individually, put a small amount of pressure on them to see where they start to curve and become darker in color, which is usually a sign that you have made it too far.

To clip a claw, take hold of it close to the footpad and away from its tip. Once your grip is secure, lower the rest of your hand towards the ground just enough for the clipper to meet it. At this point, make a smooth cut across the nail with your other hand without applying too much pressure. Never squeeze the clipper, as it will end up causing more pain for your dog and might also cause you to clip the quick instead of the nail itself accidentally.

When you do this, please pay close attention to how high or low your dog holds his paw when you let go of it. This way, you can avoid cutting into that area on any claw if he plays the ‘pick me up’ game so he can steady himself with his nails against something solid like a floor tile.

Step 8: Deal With Bleeding Nails

For minor scratches, use styptic powder to stop them from bleeding. How well this works depends on how long the nails are and what type of dog you have. For dogs with light-colored claws, it might be easier for you to see where the quick is since there may not even be one. This should help if you get a tiny scratch when clipping their nails without knowing it.

However, if your dog has dark-colored nails, then the quick will not be visible, and blood can get everywhere, which makes it relatively more challenging for you to fix by using styptic powder. This is why long canine nails can pose quite a problem in most cases and why most people like to cut with help whenever they need to clip shih tzu nails.

If you end up cutting into the quick, it will be harder to stop any bleeding from happening, and you will need to get a vet if it persists for more than a few minutes.

At best, using styptic powder should only buy enough time for your dog to calm down or relax before stopping them from scratching each other or themselves with their sharp claws until either a vet visit occurs or they might develop infections that could become lethal without proper treatment.

Step 9: How Often You Cut Your Dog’s Nails

Ideally, it would help if you were clipping your Shih Tzu’s nails every four weeks to maintain a healthy, well-groomed appearance. How often you need to do this depends on your dog and how quickly its nails grow, so try looking for overgrowth signs, such as a sharp edge.

Doggy nail clippers are available from many pet stores or online. There is also the option of taking your dog to a professional groomer or veterinarian if you don’t feel confident enough to clip them yourself.

If you’re not sure about doing it at all, you can take your Shih Tzu to a professional grooming session every 2-3 months, where they will be able to do it for you instead. How much this costs usually depends on how far away you live from the grooming parlor and how long it will take the groomer.

It’s a good idea to have your dog’s nails trimmed before going on a long walk or hike so you don’t accidentally cut into the quick while out in nature since this can happen more often than not when doing it at home.

Some owners will also do this right before their weekly bath, where you would also clean its paws with an antiseptic solution to avoid problems occurring between toes due to bacteria buildup. These steps will help in how to cut shih tzu nails.

Deal With Bleeding Nails

Tips and Warnings


  • Be sure to reward your Shih Tzu for good behavior. For example, when trimming their nails, please give them a treat afterward. This will make the dog more willing to cooperate with this process.
  • Make sure that you are using a high-quality nail clipper made specifically for dogs. If you use one made for humans, it could damage your dog’s nails and cause pain during clipping sessions in the future.
  • If your dog has light fur, you might have trouble seeing where the quick ends on the nail and don’t want to cut into it and cause bleeding or pain accidentally. This would not be very beneficial if you just clipped its nails!
  • When clipping, always be sure that your hand is entirely in control of the clipper. The last thing you want to do is scare your dog by moving too quickly or for the clippers to slip out of your hands.
  • If your dog is terrified, try allowing it to smell the clipper beforehand so that they are not caught off guard with a loud sound. A familiar scent will comfort them and reduce their anxiety during the clipping process.


  • If you are unsure how to cut your dog’s nails, it would be wise to take them to a groomer or veterinarian for assistance. You will want to make sure that the nails are adequately shortened to don’t hurt their feet!
  • Be very cautious when cutting your Shih Tzu’s nails. Their quick is very close to the nail’s surface, so if you do accidentally nick it, you will need to take them straight to a vet. In addition, the dog might bleed quite a lot and experience pain or discomfort while doing everyday activities in the future.
  • Don’t forget that dogs can also get ear infections just like humans if their ears aren’t taken care of! How frequently you clean out your dog’s ears depends on various factors, but it is recommended that you use a cotton ball and some hydrogen peroxide to clear away any waxy buildup.
  • If your dog starts shaking its head while trying to get the attention of its owner, this could be a sign of ear pain or an infection. You should clean out their ears more frequently or take them to the vet for further examination if they seem uncomfortable.
Use Nails Clip


We hope you have gone through the article on how to cut shih tzu nails. When it comes to cutting your Shih Tzu’s nails, always remember to be careful. It is essential not to cut too deep and cause bleeding or trim the nail bed quickly and damage. However, with a bit of practice, you will be able to clip your dog’s nails like a pro.