How to Safely Trim Your Shih Tzu’s Nails

As pet parents, we always want to give our furry friends the best care possible, and that includes grooming them regularly. However, when it comes to nail trimming, many of us feel intimidated or nervous about potentially hurting our dogs. If you’re a Shih Tzu parent, you might be wondering how to safely trim your pup’s nails without causing any discomfort or injury. Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered! In this step-by-step guide, we’ll go through the tools you’ll need, the proper preparation, techniques for trimming, and the finishing touches to keep your Shih Tzu’s nails healthy and tidy. Let’s get started.

Gathering Supplies

Gathering Supplies
As a Shih Tzu owner, learning how to trim your dog’s nails can be a daunting task. However, with the right preparation and tools, it can become a simple and easy process. Before getting started, it is important to gather all the necessary supplies you will need for the job. This includes selecting the right clippers, as well as other handy tools that can make the process go more smoothly. By being well-prepared, you can help ensure that both you and your Shih Tzu have a more positive experience during the nail trimming process. To learn more about how often you should trim your Shih Tzu’s nails, click the following link: Shih Tzu Nail Trimming Frequency.

Selecting the Right Clippers

Choosing the right clippers is essential to ensure that your Shih Tzu’s nails are trimmed safely and effectively. Here are some things to keep in mind when selecting clippers:

  • Type: There are two main types of nail clippers: scissor and guillotine. Scissor clippers work like regular scissors and are best for larger dogs or thicker nails. Guillotine clippers have a small hole in which you insert the nail and a blade that slides across to cut the nail. These clippers are better for smaller dogs or more delicate nails.
  • Size: Make sure that the clippers you choose are appropriate for your Shih Tzu’s size. Clippers that are too large can be difficult to maneuver and may not provide the control that you need.
  • Sharpness: Dull clippers can crush the nail instead of cutting it, which can be painful and lead to nail damage. Make sure that your clippers are sharp and in good condition.
  • Safety features: Look for clippers with safety features such as a locking mechanism or a guard to help prevent over-cutting and injury to the quick.

Remember, using the right clippers is just one important part of safely trimming your Shih Tzu’s nails. For more tips and techniques, check out our other articles on Shih Tzu nail trimming alternatives, Shih Tzu nail trimming errors, trimming black nails on a Shih Tzu, and tools and techniques for nail trimming at home.

Other Handy Tools

When it comes to trimming your Shih Tzu’s nails, it is important to have the right tools on hand. Along with clippers, there are a few other handy tools that can make the process go more smoothly. Here are some examples:

Nail FileUsed to smooth out rough edges and prevent snagging.
Styptic PowderHelps to stop bleeding in case you accidentally cut the quick.
TreatsProvide positive reinforcement and make the experience more enjoyable for your pup.

Having these tools on hand will help ensure that you are prepared to handle any situation that may arise during the nail trimming process. It is important to note that these tools are not strictly necessary, but they can help make the experience more pleasant for both you and your furry friend.

If you’re in need of a great guide to Shih Tzu nail trimming, be sure to check out our informative article on the topic! It’s full of helpful tips and step-by-step instructions to make the process as smooth as possible.


Before you begin trimming your Shih Tzu’s nails, it’s important to make sure you have everything you need within reach. Proper preparation can help make the process go smoothly and reduce the risk of accidents or injuries. Take a deep breath and gather all the necessary supplies, including clippers, treats, and styptic powder in case of bleeding. Once you have everything you need, it’s time to get your furry friend ready for the nail trimming session.

Conditioning Your Shih Tzu

It’s crucial to condition your Shih Tzu before attempting to trim their nails. Conditioning helps your lovable pooch feel relaxed and comfortable during the entire process. Here are some steps you should follow:

Step 1:Start Young: It’s best to start conditioning your Shih Tzu from an early age. Even if their nails don’t need to be trimmed yet, getting them used to having their paws handled and touched by their owners can help a lot when it’s time to trim their nails.
Step 2:Give Treats: Giving treats to your Shih Tzu during a nail trimming session can help make the experience less threatening. Provide plenty of positive reinforcement to your dog by rewarding them with a small treat or praise for each paw they give you to trim.
Step 3:Touch Their Paws: Touch and handle your Shih Tzu’s paws regularly, including the nails, pads, and toes. This will help them get comfortable with the sensations, and reduce their anxiety when it’s time for a nail trimming session.
Step 4:Associate Nail Trimming with Play: Try to associate nail trimming with something your Shih Tzu enjoys. For example, you may want to try playing with your pooch after a trimming session to help them associate it with a positive experience.
Step 5:Ask for Professional Help: If your Shih Tzu is extremely anxious and scared of having their nails trimmed, it might be worth asking for professional help. A veterinarian or a groomer can help you train your dog and make it easy for you to trim their nails at home.

Following these steps can help make the whole process much easier for both you and your Shih Tzu. Remember, conditioning your dog before nail trimming is an essential first step in ensuring a successful nail trimming session. If done correctly, nail trimming can be a safe and stress-free process for both you and your furry friend. For more tips on Shih Tzu nail trimming, keep reading.

Getting into Position

When it comes to trimming your Shih Tzu’s nails, getting into the right position is crucial to keeping both you and your furry friend safe and comfortable. Here are a few steps that will help you find the right position:

  • Pick the right spot: Select a location that is well lit and comfortable for both you and your Shih Tzu. Some owners prefer to trim their dog’s nails outside, while others prefer to do it indoors. Whatever location you select, ensure that there is ample space to move around if needed.
  • Choose the right position: Once you have found your location, decide on the best position for you and your furry pal. Some owners prefer to sit on the floor, which allows them to get closer to their dog’s paws. Others prefer to sit on a chair or couch with their pup on their lap. Whatever position you select, ensure that you are comfortable and have a steady hold on your Shih Tzu.
  • Hold your dog’s paw: Carefully take one of your Shih Tzu’s paws in your hand, and examine it to ensure there are no cuts, bruises, or other injuries. You can use treats or toys to distract your dog and make them feel more at ease during the process.
  • Extend the nails: Once you have a good hold on your Shih Tzu’s paw, use your fingers or a pair of tweezers to gently extend the nail. This will allow you to see the quick and determine where you need to trim.

Remember to always take your time when getting into position and trimming your Shih Tzu’s nails. Rushing can cause you to accidentally cut the quick, which can be painful for your furry friend and may cause bleeding. Additionally, make sure you have all the necessary tools and supplies before you begin.

Trimming Your Shih Tzu’s Nails

Trimming Your Shih Tzu'S Nails
Now comes the crucial part – trimming your Shih Tzu’s nails. This can be a daunting task for both you and your furry friend. However, with the right tools, patience, and technique, you can accomplish this with ease. It’s important to be cautious during this process to avoid causing any pain or injury to your dog. Follow these careful steps to trim your Shih Tzu’s nails safely and effectively.

Identifying the Quick

One of the most important steps in safely trimming your Shih Tzu’s nails is identifying the quick. The quick is the pink part of the nail that contains blood vessels and nerves, and cutting it can cause pain and bleeding.

To identify the quick, you will need to look at the nail closely. It can be difficult to see on a black nail, but on clear or white nails, the quick is easily visible as a pink or red line running down the center of the nail.

Here’s a table summarizing how to identify the quick:

Nail ColorQuick Color
Clear/WhitePink/Red line down the center
BlackDifficult to see – look for a slightly curved tip and stop trimming once you reach it

If your Shih Tzu has black nails and you’re having trouble identifying the quick, it’s important to be extra cautious. Trim just a little bit of the nail at a time, and stop when you see a slightly curved tip. This tip is an indicator that you’re getting close to the quick, and it’s best to leave the remaining nail untrimmed.

Trimming Techniques

Once you have identified the quick and gathered all the necessary supplies, it’s time to start trimming your Shih Tzu’s nails using the right techniques. This can make all the difference in keeping your dog calm and comfortable during the process. Here are some trimming techniques to keep in mind:

SnippingThe most common technique, wherein using the selected nail clipper, you snip the nail perpendicular to the quick. Make sure to leave enough nail that is safe and not too close to the quick.
FilingUsing a nail file, you can smoothen the jagged edges left after snipping. File in only one direction, this avoids splitting and damaging the nail.
GrindingYou can use an electric grinder to shorten your Shih Tzu’s nails. This is a useful technique for dogs who don’t like the pressure of the clippers or if you want to gradually shorten the nails.
GraspingGently but firmly hold your dog’s paw and administer the pressure necessary to expose the visible quick. This technique makes it more visible and easier to avoid cutting the quick.
SoothingIt’s important to soothe your Shih Tzu and reward them after every nail. Use treats, belly rubs, and verbal praise to reassure your Shih Tzu that everything is okay. This way, it will be easier to trim their nails the next time.

Remember to take your time, and don’t rush through the process. It’s better to do it slowly and carefully to prevent hurting your dog. Alternating between snipping and filing will make the process smoother and less stressful for your Shih Tzu. By following the right trimming techniques and being patient, you can ensure that your Shih Tzu has healthy, comfortable nails.

Cleaning Up and Finishing Touches

After successfully trimming your Shih Tzu’s nails, the next step is to tidy up and ensure your furry friend is comfortable. It’s important to know what to do in case you accidentally cut the quick and your dog is bleeding. In this section, we will guide you in cleaning up and taking those finishing touches, including how to stop bleeding and add final details to the nail trimming process. Cleaning up and applying those finishing touches will ensure that your Shih Tzu feels loved, secure, and comfortable.

Stopping Bleeding

Accidental bleeding is not uncommon during a nail trimming session with your Shih Tzu. Do not panic if this happens, as it can be quickly remedied.

To stop bleeding, follow these steps:

  • Apply pressure: The first step is to apply pressure to the bleeding nail. Take a clean cloth or gauze and apply firm pressure for at least 5 minutes. This will help stop the bleeding by allowing the blood to clot.
  • Use styptic powder: If the bleeding does not stop after 5 minutes of pressure, use a styptic powder. Dip your dog’s nail into the powder, or apply it directly to the nail with a cotton swab. The powder helps to constrict blood vessels and stop bleeding.
  • Cornstarch: If you don’t have styptic powder at hand, cornstarch is a great substitute. Dip your dog’s affected nail into a bowl or container of cornstarch, and apply firm pressure for 5 minutes.
  • Keep a close eye: After the bleeding has stopped, be sure to keep an eye on the affected nail over the next few days. Watch for any signs of infection, and keep an eye out for limping or discomfort that could indicate further injury.

Always remember, it’s essential to take care when trimming your Shih Tzu’s nails to ensure you don’t accidentally cut too much off. But even with the best intentions, accidents can happen. So it’s always good to have some styptic powder or cornstarch on hand, so you can quickly remedy any bleeding that occurs.

Final Details

After trimming your Shih Tzu’s nails, there are a few final details to take care of to ensure that their paws are in the best shape possible. Here are some of the things you should do:

1Smooth the sharp edges – After trimming, it’s possible that the edges of the nails may be sharp or uneven. You can gently file the tips of the nails with an emery board to smooth them out and prevent any scratching.
2Apply paw balm – Cutting your Shih Tzu’s nails can be stressful for them, and the clippers can leave their paw pads feeling raw or sore. You can apply a paw balm or moisturizer to soothe their paws and prevent any dryness or cracking.
3Give a treat – It’s important to reward your Shih Tzu for being patient and cooperative during nail trimming. You can give them a small treat or toy as a reward for good behavior.

By taking care of these final details, you can ensure that your Shih Tzu’s paws are healthy and happy, and that the experience of nail trimming is as positive as possible for both you and your furry friend.


After following the step-by-step guide to safely trim your Shih Tzu’s nails, you should feel confident in giving your furry friend regular nail trims. Remember to always use the right tools, including clippers and styptic powder in case of any bleeding. Conditioning your Shih Tzu beforehand by touching and massaging their paws can help make the process easier for both you and your pet.

It’s important to identify the quick and avoid cutting it while trimming your Shih Tzu’s nails. Take your time and use sharp, precise movements to ensure a clean cut. If your Shih Tzu does bleed, don’t panic. Applying styptic powder and pressure can stop the bleeding in no time.

Regular nail trims will help keep your Shih Tzu healthy and comfortable, as overgrown nails can cause discomfort and even affect their ability to walk properly. By following this guide, you’ll be able to give your furry friend the care they deserve, all from the comfort of your own home. So why not give it a try? Your Shih Tzu will thank you!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How often should I trim my Shih Tzu’s nails?

It is recommended to trim your Shih Tzu’s nails every 4-6 weeks.

2. Can I use human nail clippers to trim my Shih Tzu’s nails?

No, it is not recommended to use human nail clippers as they are not designed for pet nails and may cause injury.

3. How do I know if I’ve cut the quick?

You will know if you’ve cut the quick if your Shih Tzu’s nail starts bleeding. It is important to have styptic powder on hand in case this happens.

4. Can I sedate my Shih Tzu to make nail trimming easier?

No, sedation should not be used solely for the purpose of nail trimming. Talk to your vet if your Shih Tzu experiences anxiety during nail trimming.

5. How long should I wait before giving my Shih Tzu a bath after trimming their nails?

It is recommended to wait at least 24 hours before giving your Shih Tzu a bath after nail trimming.

6. What is the best way to restrain my Shih Tzu during nail trimming?

To restrain your Shih Tzu during nail trimming, you can have another person hold them or use a grooming arm and loop.

7. How far should I trim my Shih Tzu’s nails?

You should only trim the tip of your Shih Tzu’s nails, avoiding the quick.

8. Can I file my Shih Tzu’s nails instead of trimming?

Yes, you can file your Shih Tzu’s nails with a pet nail file, but it may take longer than trimming.

9. Should I clip my Shih Tzu’s nails before or after a walk?

It is best to clip your Shih Tzu’s nails before a walk, as the exercise may cause their nails to wear down naturally.

10. What if my Shih Tzu won’t let me trim their nails?

If your Shih Tzu won’t let you trim their nails, consider consulting with a professional dog groomer or veterinarian for assistance.


Britta Thygesen

Britta Thygesen

A passionate dog owner and a full-time certified dog trainer. Aspires to make DogCareHacks a go-to place for all the doggo info. Shares personal experience and professional knowledge.

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