The Ultimate Guide to Safely Trim Your Shih Poo’s Nails

As a Shih Poo parent, one of the essential grooming tasks you should master is trimming their nails. The thought of clipping your pup’s nails may seem daunting at first, but with the right tools and technique, it can be a simple and safe process. Neglecting to trim your Shih Poo’s nails could lead to discomfort, pain, infections, and even changes in their posture. That’s why it’s crucial to keep their nails short and neat. In this guide, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about safely trimming your Shih Poo’s nails step-by-step. So, grab your clippers, and let’s get started!

Why is Nail Trimming Important?

Why Is Nail Trimming Important?
Maintaining your Shih Poo’s nail health is an essential part of their grooming routine. Neglecting nail trimming can lead to various problems for your furry friend, ranging from discomfort to severe injuries. Long nails can have a detrimental impact on your Shih Poo’s posture and mobility, making it difficult for them to walk, run, and jump. Additionally, untrimmed nails are more prone to breakage and splitting, which could cause bleeding and infection.

Understanding your Shih Poo’s Nails is essential before you begin trimming. Shih Poo’s nails are composed of a hard outer shell and a soft-core, which contains blood vessels and nerves. This area is known as the “quick.” If you accidentally trim your Shih Poo’s nails too short, you could cut their quick, which can be painful and lead to bleeding. This is why proper nail trimming technique is crucial.

Ignoring nail trimming can lead to potential dangers that you might not be aware of. Neglected nails can grow too long and could end up curling underneath, eventually piercing through their paw pads. This not only causes immense pain but could also lead to infections. Additionally, when your Shih Poo’s nails are too long, they could get caught on things, causing them to break, split or tear.

So, how often should you trim your Shih Poo’s nails? It depends on various factors that you should keep in mind, such as the breed and the activity level of your furry friend. As a general rule, trim your dog’s nails every 1 to 2 months. You can also look at the length of their nails as a guide – if the nails are touching the ground, it’s time to trim them.

Now that you understand why nail trimming is crucial to your Shih Poo’s overall health and mobility, let’s dive into the next steps in trimming your Shih Poo’s nails safely.

Understanding your Shih Poo’s Nails

Have you ever taken a closer look at your furry friend’s nails? Shih Poo’s nails are constantly growing, just like ours, and have a blood vessel running through them known as the “quick”. It’s important to understand your Shih Poo’s nails, including their structure and the location of the quick, to ensure a safe and effective trimming experience. Neglecting this aspect of their grooming routine can lead to a series of complications and problems, so it’s crucial to take time to familiarize yourself with their nails. To learn more about nail clippers and scissors suitable for your Shih Poo, check out our top 5 recommended nail clippers for Shih Poo.

The Dangers of Neglecting Nail Trimming

Neglecting to trim your Shih Poo’s nails can lead to a host of potential health problems. In fact, avoiding nail trimming can be detrimental to your dog’s overall well-being. Here are some of the dangers of neglecting nail trimming:

1. Painful Overgrowth: If your Shih Poo’s nails are allowed to grow too long, it can cause painful overgrowth that can make it difficult for your furry friend to walk or run properly. This can lead to permanent structural damage and even arthritis if not properly addressed.

2. Tearing and Splitting: Long nails can easily tear and split, causing intense pain and potential infection. If not treated promptly, this can lead to more serious medical conditions that may require veterinary attention.

3. Difficulty Walking: Overgrown nails can change your dog’s gait and balance, making it more difficult for him to walk and causing unnecessary stress on his muscles and joints.

4. Damage to Furniture and Floors: Since long nails are more likely to split and break, this can lead to damage to your furniture and floors. A simple solution to avoid a negative outcome from scratching is getting a scratching post or a bed that also serves as a scratching space to prevent your Shih Poo from ruining your furniture.

5. Punctured Pads: Dogs with long nails are at risk of puncturing their pads, which can cause infections and other serious medical problems. Punctured pads can be especially painful and require prompt medical attention.

Taking the time to regularly trim your Shih Poo’s nails is a small investment in their overall health and happiness. By doing so, you can avoid the pain and discomfort associated with long nails and the development of more serious health problems. Remember to always pay attention to your dog during the trimming process and if you come across any issues, seek advice from your vet.

It is essential to keep your Shih Poo’s paws and nails healthy to avoid any complications. To learn more about preventing nail problems with your Shih Poo, check out our article on Shih Poo Nail Problems. Also, in case your Shih Poo needs some extra care and soothing, take a look at our article on how to Soothe Shih Poo Nails. Remember, taking care of your Shih Poo’s paws is crucial and should be prioritized over the option of declawing, which is painful and unnecessary. Check out our article on How to Avoid Declawing your Shih Poo to educate yourself on the improper procedure that some owners might subject their dogs to.

How Often Should You Trim Your Shih Poo’s Nails?

Keeping your Shih Poo’s nails trimmed is an essential part of their grooming routine, and it’s crucial to know how often you should be doing it to avoid any negative consequences. The frequency of nail trimming can vary depending on a few different factors, such as your dog’s activity level, the surfaces they walk on, and the length of their nails. To help you determine how often you should be trimming your Shih Poo’s nails, here are some guidelines to consider:

  • Check their nails once a month: It’s essential to check your dog’s nails regularly to monitor their growth and condition. You should check them at least once a month to see how long they’ve grown and whether they need trimming.
  • Consider your dog’s lifestyle: A Shih Poo that spends most of their time indoors and walks on soft surfaces may need less frequent nail trimmings than an active pooch that spends a lot of time on rough surfaces like concrete or asphalt.
  • Observe their gait: If your Shih Poo’s nails are too long, it may affect their gait and cause discomfort. Watch how they walk and if you notice any limping or discomfort, it’s a sign that their nails need trimming.
  • Trim their nails as needed: If your Shih Poo’s nails are touching the ground, it’s time to trim them. Keeping their nails at a proper length is essential to their overall health and well-being.

Remember, neglecting your Shih Poo’s nails can lead to painful and even debilitating conditions, such as ingrown nails, torn nails, and infections. Regular nail trimming sessions will help prevent these issues and keep your Shih Poo happy and healthy.

Things You Will Need

Things You Will Need
When it comes to giving your Shih Poo a safe and successful nail trim, having the right tools and equipment on hand is essential. Without them, you may end up causing your furry friend unnecessary pain and discomfort. So, before you get started, make sure you have everything you need at the ready. Here are some must-have items to ensure that your Shih Poo’s nail trimming experience is stress-free and successful.

Preparing Your Shih Poo

Before you start trimming your Shih Poo’s nails, you need to prepare your furry friend for the process. This will make them more comfortable and cooperative during the nail trimming session. Here are some things you can do to prepare your Shih Poo:

1Choose a quiet and well-lit area where you can trim the nails.
2Get your Shih Poo used to having their paws handled by gently touching and massaging their paws during playtime or cuddle sessions.
3Prepare some treats or toys to distract your Shih Poo during the nail trimming session.
4Hold your Shih Poo and pet them gently to relax them before the nail trimming session.

By following these steps, you can ensure that your Shih Poo is calm and comfortable during the nail trimming process. Remember, a relaxed Shih Poo is less likely to wriggle and move their paws, which can cause accidents during the nail trimming session.

Preparing the Clippers/Scissors

Before trimming your Shih Poo’s nails, it’s important to make sure that your clippers or scissors are properly prepared. Here are the steps you can follow:

Gather the ToolsYou will need a pair of nail clippers or scissors specifically made for pets. Make sure they’re sharp and in good condition.
Familiarize Yourself with the Clippers/ScissorsBefore using the clippers/scissors on your pet, become familiar with how they work. This will give you more confidence and help prevent accidents.
Clean the Clippers/ScissorsMake sure your clippers/scissors are clean before use. You can clean them with rubbing alcohol or warm, soapy water to prevent infection.
Get Your Styptic Powder ReadyIf you don’t have styptic powder, cornstarch may be used in its place. Have it ready and within reach in case you accidentally cut the nail too short and cause bleeding.
Have Treats HandyHave your Shih Poo’s favorite treat nearby to reward them for good behavior during the nail trimming process.

By taking the time to properly prepare your tools, you’ll be better equipped to trim your Shih Poo’s nails safely and effectively.

Trimming Your Shih Poo’s Nails

Trimming Your Shih Poo'S Nails
Now that you have prepared everything you need, it’s time to tackle the task of trimming your Shih Poo’s nails. This can be a daunting task, especially if it’s your first time doing it. But don’t worry, with the right technique and approach, you can safely trim your dog’s nails without causing them any pain or discomfort. In this section, we will guide you step-by-step through the nail trimming process, from the proper technique to the do’s and don’ts of nail trimming. So, let’s get started and give your furry friend a much-needed nail makeover!

The Technique

Trimming your Shih Poo’s nails can be a daunting task, especially if you don’t know the right technique. Here is a guide to help you trim your furry friend’s nails safely and effectively.

StepWhat to doWhy it’s important
1Hold your Shih Poo securely. Hold your Shih Poo close to you and use your non-dominant hand to secure him/her.This will prevent your dog from fidgeting or running away while you trim his/her nails.
2Identify the ‘quick.’ The ‘quick’ is the pink vein that runs through your Shih Poo’s nails. It’s important to avoid cutting this vein as it can cause bleeding and pain for your pet.Identifying the quick will allow you to know where to stop trimming and prevent accidents.
3Trim a small bit at a time. Use your dominant hand to trim a small amount of nail at a time. Try to avoid cutting the quick.Trimming a small bit at a time will help you control the amount of nail you are removing and minimize the risk of cutting the quick.
4File the nails after trimming. Use a nail file to smooth out any rough edges or sharp points after trimming your Shih Poo’s nails.Filing the nails will prevent your pet from scratching you or damaging your furniture while he/she runs and plays.

It’s important to note that using sharp and high-quality clippers or scissors will make the process easier and safer for both you and your furry friend. By following these steps and taking precautions, you can provide your Shih Poo with a comfortable experience during the nail trimming process.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Nail Trimming

When it comes to trimming your Shih Poo’s nails, there are certain things you should do and not do to ensure their safety and comfort. Here are some important do’s and don’ts to keep in mind:


  • Trim the nails in a well-lit area where you can clearly see the quick.
  • Use sharp clippers or scissors designed for pet nails.
  • Hold your dog’s paw firmly but gently.
  • Trim small amounts of nail at a time to avoid cutting the quick.
  • File the nails after trimming to smooth out any rough edges.
  • Give your Shih Poo a treat and lots of praise after the nail trimming session.


  • Trim your dog’s nails if you are not confident or comfortable doing so.
  • Trim the nails too short, as this can cause bleeding and pain.
  • Use blunt or dull clippers, as this can crush the nail and cause discomfort.
  • Rush the process, as this can lead to accidents and injuries.
  • Forget to check for dewclaws, which are the extra nails on the inner side of your dog’s paw.
  • Panic or get frustrated if your Shih Poo becomes uncooperative or scared.

Following these do’s and don’ts can help you ensure a safe and successful nail trimming session for your Shih Poo. Remember to always be patient, gentle, and cautious, and to seek professional help if you are unsure about how to proceed.

Dealing with Accidents

Accidents can happen even to the most careful pet owners when trimming their Shih Poo’s nails. In case of an accident, it is important not to panic and provide first aid as quickly as possible to reduce discomfort and prevent infection. Here are some first aid tips for common accidents:

  • Bleeding: If you accidentally cut into the quick and your Shih Poo’s nail starts bleeding, grab a clean cloth or paper towel and apply firm pressure to the nail for several minutes. You can also use styptic powder or cornstarch to help clot the blood. If the bleeding doesn’t stop after 10 minutes, seek veterinary attention.
  • Broken nail: If you accidentally break a nail too close to the quick, clean the area with warm water and apply an antiseptic cream. Keep your Shih Poo from licking or biting the affected nail to prevent further injury.
  • Ingrown nail: If you accidentally trim a nail too short and it becomes ingrown, clean the area with warm water and apply antiseptic cream. You can also help the nail grow out by applying a warm compress to the affected area for 10-15 minutes twice a day.

Remember that accidents can be avoided by taking it slow and steady when trimming your Shih Poo’s nails. If you feel unsure or uncomfortable, seek the help of a professional groomer or your veterinarian. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to the health and well-being of your furry friend.

After Trimming

Now that you have successfully trimmed your Shih Poo’s nails, it’s time to take care of their paws. After trimming, your furry friend’s paws may need some extra attention to ensure they stay healthy and comfortable. It’s essential to follow the proper steps to prevent any injuries or discomfort. This section will cover what to do after the nail trimming process and how to take care of your Shih Poo’s paws. So, let’s dive in and explore the necessary measures to keep your dog’s paws healthy and happy.

Styptic Powder/ Cornstarch

After trimming your Shih Poo’s nails, it’s important to be prepared for any accidents that may occur. Even the most experienced dog owners can accidentally cut a nail too short, causing bleeding. Don’t panic if this happens – instead, have some styptic powder or cornstarch on hand to quickly stop the bleeding.

Styptic powder is a product that’s specifically designed to help stop bleeding from minor cuts and wounds. It works by constricting the blood vessels, which helps to quickly stop the bleeding. To use styptic powder, simply apply a small amount directly to the bleeding nail. Be sure to hold pressure on the nail to help the powder absorb and stop the bleeding.

If you don’t have styptic powder on hand, cornstarch can be a great alternative. Simply take a small amount of cornstarch and apply it directly to the nail. Again, be sure to hold pressure on the nail to help the cornstarch absorb and stop the bleeding.

It’s important to note that while styptic powder and cornstarch can help stop bleeding, you should still monitor your Shih Poo closely to ensure that the bleeding has stopped completely. If the bleeding persists, you may need to consult a veterinarian.

Having styptic powder or cornstarch on hand can help you quickly and safely deal with any accidents that may occur while trimming your Shih Poo’s nails.

Reward your Shih Poo

After successfully trimming your Shih Poo’s nails, it’s important to give them a treat as a reward for their good behavior. This positive reinforcement will make the process more enjoyable for your furry friend next time you need to trim their nails.

Here are some ways to reward your Shih Poo:

  • Treats: Giving your Shih Poo a delicious treat like a small piece of chicken or beef is a great way to show them some love and appreciation after a nail trimming session. Just make sure not to overdo it with the treats, as it could lead to weight gain or other health issues.
  • Playtime: After the trimming session is over, reward your Shih Poo with a fun play session, either indoors or outdoors. This will help them associate nail trimming with positive experiences and keep them happy and healthy.
  • Praise: Don’t underestimate the power of verbal praise. Give your Shih Poo lots of praise and reassure them that they’ve done a great job. This will make them feel loved and appreciated, and they’ll be more likely to cooperate during future nail trimming sessions.

Remember that each Shih Poo is different and will respond to rewards in their own way. Experiment with different types of rewards and see what works best for your furry friend. By reinforcing positive behavior with rewards, you’ll make the nail trimming process a breeze for both you and your Shih Poo.


In conclusion, trimming your Shih Poo’s nails is an essential part of their grooming routine. Neglecting to do so can cause discomfort and even lead to health problems. However, with the right tools and techniques, you can safely and effectively trim your Shih Poo’s nails at home.

Remember to take your time and to never rush the process. Be patient with your pup and reward them for their good behavior. Use treats and positive reinforcement to make nail trimming a positive experience for both yourself and your dog.

Always make sure to have styptic powder or cornstarch on hand in case of accidents. And never hesitate to seek professional help if you are unsure or uncomfortable with trimming your Shih Poo’s nails.

By following the step-by-step guide outlined in this article and being vigilant about your Shih Poo’s nail care, you can ensure that they remain happy, healthy, and comfortable for years to come. So go ahead and give your furry friend a paw-dicure – they’ll thank you for it!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know when it’s time to trim my Shih Poo’s nails?

Pay attention to the clicking sound your dog’s nails make when walking on hard surfaces. If you can hear them, it’s time to trim.

Are there any signs that my Shih Poo is feeling uncomfortable during nail trimming?

Yes, your dog may flinch, pull away, or whine. If this happens, stop immediately and try again later or seek professional help.

Can I use human nail clippers on my Shih Poo?

No. It’s not recommended to use human nail clippers as they may crush your dog’s nail, causing pain and bleeding.

What type of clippers or scissors should I use?

There are different types of clippers and scissors available. It’s recommended to use a clipper designed specifically for dogs, such as guillotine or scissor-type clippers.

How far should I trim my Shih Poo’s nails?

You should aim to trim just the tip of the nail. Avoid cutting into the quick, which is the pink area inside the nail that contains blood vessels and nerves.

What if I accidentally cut into the quick?

If bleeding occurs, apply styptic powder or cornstarch to the affected area to stop the bleeding. Seek professional help if the bleeding does not stop.

How often should I reward my Shih Poo during nail trimming?

Reward your dog frequently during the nail trimming process, ideally after each nail. This will help them associate nail trimming with positive experiences.

Can I trim my Shih Poo’s nails myself, or should I seek professional help?

You can trim your Shih Poo’s nails yourself, but if you feel uncomfortable or your dog is uncooperative, seek professional help from a groomer or veterinarian.

What should I do if my Shih Poo won’t stay still during nail trimming?

If your dog is uncooperative, try distracting them with treats or toys. If this doesn’t work, seek professional help.

What’s the best way to ensure a successful nail trimming session with my Shih Poo?

Be patient, calm, and firm. Use positive reinforcement techniques to reward your dog, and take frequent breaks to avoid stressing them out.


Matthew Farthing

Matthew Farthing

Сontributing author at DogCareHacks, Certified Dog Behavior Consultant.

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