how to cut shih tzu nails

How to Cut Shih Tzu Nails: 2023 Comprehensive Tips

No more nail-biting experiences! Explore how to cut shih tzu nails safely and effectively for a stress-free grooming session.

Preparing for Nail Trimming

Gathering necessary tools (nail clippers, styptic powder, treats)

Before starting the nail trimming process, it’s important to gather all of the necessary tools. This includes a high-quality pair of nail clippers that are specifically designed for dogs. Avoid using human nail clippers as they may not be strong enough to cut through your Shih Tzu’s thick nails.

In addition to nail clippers, you should also have styptic powder on hand. This is a fine powder that can help stop bleeding if you accidentally clip into the quick (the blood vessel inside your dog’s nails).

Styptic powder is available at most pet stores and online retailers. You’ll want to have treats nearby to reward your dog for good behavior during the trimming process.

Choosing a comfortable and well-lit area for trimming

Selecting a comfortable and well-lit area in your home is essential when it comes to trimming your Shih Tzu’s nails. Lighting is important because it allows you to see where the quick is located in each nail before making any cuts. A bright overhead light is typically sufficient, but additional lighting sources like lamps or flashlights can also be helpful.

As for comfort, choose an area where both you and your Shih Tzu feel relaxed and calm. Many people find that a table or counter can be helpful because it brings the dog up to eye level making it easier for them to see what they are doing.

Calming Your Dog Before Starting The Process

It’s common for dogs to feel anxious or scared during the nail trimming process. However, with patience and practice, you can help make this experience more positive for both you and your furry friend.

Before starting the process of cutting their nails, try calming techniques such as petting or giving treats. If your dog is still feeling anxious, you may want to consider using a calming supplement or pheromone spray that can help ease their nerves.

It’s important to take things slow and not force your dog into anything they are uncomfortable with. If they seem particularly stressed or resistant, take a break and try again later when they are feeling more relaxed.


Preparing for nail trimming is just as important as the actual process of cutting your Shih Tzu’s nails. Taking the time to gather the necessary tools, create a comfortable environment, and calm your dog beforehand can make all the difference in making this experience go smoothly.

Make sure to be patient and gentle during the process of nail trimming, rewarding your dog for good behavior along the way. With practice, both you and your furry friend can become more comfortable with this essential grooming task.

Positioning Your Dog: Placing your dog in a comfortable position (sitting or lying down)

Before starting to trim your Shih Tzu’s nails, it’s important to position them in a way that is both comfortable for them and allows you easy access to their paws. You can either have your dog sit or lie down, depending on what they’re most comfortable with. Make sure they’re relaxed and calm before proceeding.

If you choose to have your Shih Tzu sit, place them on a non-slip surface such as a yoga mat or towel. Have them sit close to you so that you can easily reach all of their paws.

If you choose to have them lie down, place them on their side with their head resting on one of your legs. This will allow you access to all four paws.

Make sure that the area where you’re trimming your Shih Tzu’s nails is well-lit so that you can see clearly. If possible, have someone else hold your dog or distract them with treats while you trim their nails.

Identifying the Quick: Explanation of what the quick is and how to locate it

The quick is the living tissue inside your Shih Tzu’s nail which contains blood vessels and nerves. It’s important not to cut into the quick as this can cause bleeding and pain for your dog.

Identifying the quick can be tricky, especially if your dog has dark nails where it may be hard to see. To locate the quick, look at the underside of each nail where it meets the pink part of the nail.

The quick will appear as a small pinkish or reddish area near the base of each nail. If you’re still unsure about where the quick is located, it may be better to err on the side of caution and only trim off small amounts at a time until you get the hang of it.

Trimming the Nails: Step-by-step guide on how to trim each nail safely and effectively

Once you’ve positioned your Shih Tzu in a comfortable position and located the quick, it’s time to start trimming their nails. Hold your dog’s paw gently but securely, making sure not to squeeze too tightly which can cause discomfort.

Use a pair of sharp nail clippers designed specifically for dogs. Start by trimming off just the tip of the nail, avoiding cutting too close to the quick.

If you’re not sure where to start, you can trim off even less at first and work your way up until you reach a safe length. Make sure to cut straight across each nail rather than at an angle.

If your Shih Tzu has dark nails where it’s hard to see the quick, take small amounts off at a time until you see a small black dot appear in the center of the nail. This is an indication that you’re getting close to the quick and should stop trimming.

Using Styptic Powder: How to apply styptic powder in case you accidentally cut the quick

Accidents can happen, even with experienced dog owners. If you accidentally cut into your Shih Tzu’s quick while trimming their nails, don’t panic.

Apply some styptic powder directly onto the bleeding area with gentle pressure for about 30 seconds or until bleeding stops. Styptic powder works by constricting blood vessels and stopping bleeding quickly.

If styptic powder isn’t available, cornstarch or flour can be used as an alternative home remedy. After applying styptic powder or another home remedy, make sure to reward your Shih Tzu with treats and praise for their cooperation during this potentially uncomfortable experience.

Tips for Successful Nail Trimming

Consistency is Key: The Importance of Regularly Trimming Your Dog’s Nails

Keeping your Shih Tzu’s nails trimmed on a regular basis is essential to their overall health and well-being. Long nails can cause discomfort and pain when they touch the ground, as well as increase the risk of injury or infection.

Therefore, it is important to trim your dog’s nails at least once a month, or more frequently if you notice them getting too long. Consistency is key when it comes to nail trimming, so try to establish a routine and stick to it.

Positive Reinforcement: Using Treats and Praise to Reward Good Behavior During Nail Trimming Sessions

Nail trimming can be a stressful experience for both you and your Shih Tzu. However, positive reinforcement can make the process less daunting for your furry friend.

Offering treats and praise throughout the session can help reinforce good behavior and make nail trimming a more positive experience. Give your dog plenty of positive feedback when they remain calm during the process, especially if they are easily frightened or anxious.

Patience and Persistence: Understanding That Some Dogs May Be Difficult to Train

While some dogs may take naturally to nail trimming, others may be more resistant or fearful. It is important to be patient and persistent when training your Shih Tzu how to tolerate nail trimming.

Go slowly during each session and always stop before either of you becomes overly stressed or frustrated. If your dog becomes agitated or unmanageable during the process, try taking a break and coming back later with fresh energy.


Trimming your Shih Tzu’s nails may seem like a daunting task at first but with consistency, positive reinforcement through treats/praise along with patience/persistence this can become a stress-free routine. Remember that regular nail trimming is essential for your Shih Tzu’s overall health and well-being, so don’t neglect this important part of their grooming routine. By following the tips outlined in this article, you can ensure a safe and successful nail trimming experience for both you and your beloved furry friend.

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