How to Cut Golden Retriever Nails – the Golden’s Grooming 2021!

Trimming the nails of the dogs is an essential part of their grooming routine. Aside from that, you will prevent the occurrence of scratches over your legs and on the surface of your floorings. So, religiously cutting down the nails of the Golden Retriever is a must. But, how will you able to do that if you do not know how to cut Golden Retriever nails?

In this blog post, we will have you covered. We will guide you with the step-by-step procedure on the appropriate way of cutting Golden Retriever nails. Here are also some of the tips that you may consider before and during the nail cutting process. Check them all out below!

How to Cut Golden Retriever Nails: Its Frequency

Part of the Golden Retriever’s grooming that is really challenging is cutting their nails. Some dog owners are finding it a hard task, yet it should not be that way. Cutting the Golden Retriever nails quickly and effectively so that the behavior of your Golden won’t be compromised.

One way of identifying the proper ways on how to cut Golden Retriever nails is to know how frequently do you need to do it. Well, this generally varies from one dog to another. Here are some cues that you must have to look for in order for you to know when it’s already time to cut down the nails of your Golden Retriever.

Once the nail grows long – this is only applicable for cutting the nails of the Golden Retriever that always run around hard surfaces. Their nails are being trimmed down and maintained short because of the hard surface.

Hearing the clicking of the nails on the ground – once you hear it, automatically, it means that the nails of your Golden Retriever already needs cutting

Once every two weeks – perform a frequent regular nail cutting to the Golden Retriever if they usually love to put their paws on soft surfaces or carpets

Once a week – do this if you want to intentionally shorten the nails of the Goldens even if they are always running on soft grounds

Things to remember when cutting the nails of the Golden Retriever

When you do the cutting of the Golden Retriever nails, always keep the following tips in mind:

Length of the nails to be cut – the ideal measurement of the nail to be cut is about 2 millimeters of the quick. Quick is the part of the nail that is usually pinkish and located in the middle part. It generally holds the blood supply on the claw area. In case your Goldens has white nails, finding the quick spot is very easy because of the color.

how to cut Golden Retriever nails

However, if you are in doubt, it is better to check or ask your veterinarian or dog groomer whether the nails of your Golden are already long enough and ready for cutting. Also, don’t forget to ask where the area of cutting is.

Do not cut the nails in just one sitting – here’s the catch, one way on how to cut Golden Retriever nails is to do one nail in a day especially if you notice that your Golden Retriever is less distressing with it. However, it is very important for you to remember the order of the nails in which you’re cutting. Moreover, in case you cut one nail or two every day, it is important to keep them in short length.  

Ways of Cutting the Golden Retriever Nails: Tools to be Used

In cutting the nails of the Golden Retriever, you need to be aware that there are types of nail clippers for Golden Retrievers available for use. Here are those and let’s see their difference:


In general, scissors are the most popular type of nail clipper. Using it features great and easy maneuverability and, at the same time, cut Golden Retriever nails without cracking down the toes of your Fido. It has the ability to cut across the nail straight or within a smaller angle based on the length of the dog’s nail that you want to cut.

The appearance of the scissors for dogs looks similar to a pair of pliers. Miller’s Forge Trimmers is the other name of the scissor-type nail clippers. Additionally, scissors nail clippers may also offer excess force required for large dog breeds with bigger and thicker nails.


The guillotine is another type of nail clipper for dogs. Some pet owners who are cutting the nails of their doggo find it easier to use compared to the scissor type. It works simply by placing the dog’s nail into the guillotine, squeeze it then press it down to cut the nails. The cutting of nails using the guillotine nail clipper is actually straight across.

Yet, one of the downsides of using this type of nail clipper is that there is more pressure applied over the toe of the dog. In contrast to the scissor-type, the guillotine is highly ideal to cut nails of small to medium-sized dogs. These dogs have nails that fit perfectly and exactly on the clipper hole. Moreover, a guillotine nail clipper is good to use when you opt to clip dewclaws.


  • A quick process of dog nail trimming
  • Also, a quiet method of nail trimming
  • Tools needed for cutting dog’s nail generally cost less
  • No electricity required to make the tools operate
  • May cut the quick in case the dog is moving which might result to injury, blood, and distrust from your Goldens
  • The quick may be pinched or squeezed for quite some time
  • Worsen the already damaged nails of dogs that may break, crack, and split easily

How to Cut Golden Retriever Nails: The Process

If you would ask about the comparison of the process on how to cut Golden Retriever nails to that of human, I would say that process of cutting dog’s nails is more complicated. Primarily, the dog has this wiggly behavior especially when they not used to that kind of routine. Another thing is that cutting within the quick is very easy which may result in pain and bleeding of the dog’s nail. So, you have to be very careful with this.

In case you decide that you will be the one to cut your Goldens’ nails, the first thing that you should do is to familiarize the look of their nails. Additionally, check on things that you must have to be aware of. You may consider looking at dog nail dummies as its diagram has a great visual of the inner part of the dog’s nail.

Generally, the individual claw of the dogs has the nail part and the quick. Usually, the nail is the portion of the dog’s claw that is highly insensitive. Cutting the nail part itself may not really cause any pain. Moreover, there is the quick part which is the sensitive one that contains the supply of the blood.

So, cutting the nail of the Golden Retriever in too short length may result in cutting the quick. With that, the Goldens may experience pain and there would also be some bleeding. Because of that incident, your pooch will be scared and might feel threatened on the next nail cutting session.

What You’ll Need:

Check on and be ready for the following prior to starting the nail cutting session of the Golden Retriever:

  • Dog treats
  • Nail clippers
  • Spacious area with good lightning
  • Styptic powder – you may use this in case bleeding occurs for accidental cutting of the quick

Procedural Guide on Cutting the Golden Retriever Nails

how to cut golden retriever nails

Usually, some dog owners perform the cutting of Golden Retriever nails before bathing, yet there are others who prefer to do it right after the dog’s bath. Yet, for me, it would be easier for you to cut Golden Retriever nails after a bath because their nails are softer making them easier to cut. That way, you do not need to exert extra pressure on their toes.

Now, if you’re ready, here is a step-by-step process on how to cut Golden Retriever nails:


Initially, hold your Goldens in a steady position but ensure that it is gentle enough. Also, it is very important that the dog is calm. Keep in mind that if your dog is constantly moving during nail cutting will not give you a good result.

That’s why having treats available on hand is crucial here. Give it to them as well as praise them every time they make a good move. Moreover, the Goldens will also learn that nail cutting is a good experience and it should not make them threatened.


Begin cutting Golden Retriever nails on the hind legs. The nails on that part of the dog are less sensitive. Additionally, your Goldens will be prepared and make them at ease with the nail cutting process.


Put a small piece of the Golden Retriever nails amidst the nail clippers. Do the cutting from the bottom side. Make sure that your movement is fast and smooth-sailing. This will help to keep away your Goldens from being agitated.


Decide whether you cut directly across the nail with a 90O angle or on the 45O angle. It is better to do that most likely if you know exactly where the quick spot is and you want short nails for your Goldens. In case the nail of the Golden Retriever is quite darker or black in color, the best way to cut is straight across. Cut it little by little instead of trying to perform the 45O angle cutting method.


After cutting each individual nail, check on it and try to see if you are cutting close to the quick. Once you see a gray area starting to emerge within the white nail, that’s an indication that you must have to stop. Moreover, find if dew claw is present and also trim it. Usually, the dewclaw resides in a slightly higher position on the leg and normally attached by loose skin. Dewclaw is easy to find because it does not touch the ground.

* Don’ts in Cutting Golden Retriever Nails:

how to cut Golden Retriever nails
  • Do not squeeze the toe of the Goldens during nail cutting because the pressure from squeezing may contribute to the pain that they will feel.
  • Don’t panic if you accidentally cut the quick. Apply a styptic powder over a piece of cotton and gently swab it to the bleeding nail.
  • Don’t forget to praise your Goldens and reward him by giving treats for the good behavior he showed during the nail cutting process.

The Difference Grinding of the Golden Retriever Nails

Aside from cutting, trimming the nails of the Golden Retriever can also be done through grinding. For us to define the difference between the two here is how grinding the nails of the dog works:

Grinding of the Golden Retriever Nails:

Based on our discussion above, cutting Golden Retriever nails involves the use of nail clippers. Meanwhile, during grinding, the nail grinder is used. Compared to nail clippers, this nail trimming tool is easier to use as it slowly grinds the nails of the Goldens down. Usually, dog owners who are not confident with the use of the nail clippers prefer to choose the nail grinding method.


  • Works best for dog breeds that have thick nails and are hard to cut by conventional nail clippers.
  • A slower process of dog nail trimming works best over the dark nails of the dogs.
  • Allows removal nails without cutting the quick too deeply
  • A better option for dogs that are scared and injured by nail cutting
  • Able to achieve smooth and snag-free nail edges because the sharps are gone
  • Can produce sounds that may be irritating for Golden Retrievers
  • There will be a production of a certain amount of dust making it a little bit smelly
  • Necessitates the use of protective gears on the eyes, mouth, and nose
  • Has the ability to generate heat if used on one nail for too long

Frequently Asked Questions


A: Basically, in order to prevent cutting the quick of the dog, you must have to position the cutting blade of the nail clipper facing you. Moreover, place the cutting blade on a distance quite farther from the dogs quick so that you will able to avoid it.


A: Generally, when your dog walks over a hard surface like pavements, it will help in shortening the length of its claws. However, dogs walking regularly will not maintain the required short length of their nails.


A:  Well, if you accidentally cut the quick of the Golden Retriever, the dog will have to bleed, and walking will make them feel uncomfortable. But, that will naturally fade as their nails grow back.


A: In case the quick is cut, hurt, and exposed, immediately rush your dog to the veterinarian. The vet will apply antibiotics in ointment form or in powder to the affected nail bed. Moreover, the veterinarian will place a bandage on the dog’s foot to reduce bleeding and prevent contamination. The injectable or oral form of antibiotic is also recommended to avoid possible infection because the quick is attached to the bone.


A: Keep in mind that it is not good to use a nail file for humans in cutting the nails of the Golden Retriever.

Final Words

Three important points to take into account in cutting Golden Retriever nails, you should take it slowly, avoid the quick, and reward your dog. Moreover, always feel free to cut one nail in a day. It is actually the best step to take and also a low-maintenance one being a part of the dog’s daily grooming routine. That way you and your dog can find the nail cutting process easy and comfortable.

About Tom Thorpe

Tom Thorpe has overtime interacted with different species of dogs mostly through breeding and training; according to him, man’s best friend is yet to find solace in the company of man, as they are continuously mistreated. He, therefore, runs a rescue center that provides shelter to stray dogs, and has been advocating for the rights of animals; the Golden Retriever dogs are among his favorites, the reason he came up with the extensive excerpts to help educate the society on the right treatment and care of the respective breed. Tom spends most of his time running his dog shelter; he is a husband and proud father of two boys and loves to go fishing during his free time.

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