How to Cut German Shepherd Nails: Tips and Step-by-step Plan

Judging by the comments on the internet, this is not a favorite procedure in dogs and their owners. Let’s try to make this task easier and tell you how to cut German Shepherd nails quickly.

Taking care of a German Shepherd includes mandatory grooming. This hygiene routine is very important for keeping your pet healthy. This article is about how to get your German Shepherd’s nails clipped.

How to cut German Shepherd nails: Tips And Step-by-step Plan
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How to Properly Cut the Dogs Nails

Let’s start by gathering the necessities: dog nail clippers, potassium permanganate/hemostatic powder, cotton swabs, valerian (for yourself), and treats (for your German Shepherd) for GSD’s nails.

Now let’s analyze the process of nail trimming in god’s nails cut step by step.

Where to begin the preps

First, calm down and gather your thoughts as the right attitude is the half the battle. Then, estimate the scope of the work to be done.

If things are very bad and your German Shepherd looks more like an eagle, and you can’t even remember the last time you cut your dog’s dark nails, we suggest you visit a vet.

The fact is that if you don’t cut your German Shepherd’s nails for a long time, the blood vessels tend to grow further than they should normally. In this case, it will be very difficult to properly and safely do the dog’s nails at home.

So, if the situation is not so dire, we continue.

Step-by-step instructions on how to cut German Shepherd

  1. Take your GSD for a walk, give him a dog puzzle — you need him to get at least a little tired.
  2. After a walk, wash your dog’s paws thoroughly with warm water and German Shepherd detergent. This is not only for hygiene, but also to make your dog’s claws softer and easier for you to trim.
  3. Prepare everything you need: dog’s nails cutter, potassium permanganate / hemostatic powder, cotton swabs.
  4. Sit by the window or turn on additional lighting as you need to see the field of work well.
  5. Call your pet, lay him on his side and treat him to yummy. Don’t grab your dog’s paw pads right away, let him lie down and relax for a while.
  6. Take the front dog’s feet touched firmly but gently. Slightly press your fingers paw pads on his pad, fix the German Shepherd’s nail, and cut it off.
  7. Praise and treat your GSD’s nails for being calm, and if he lashes out and is cranky, wait. The point is to keep your German Shepherd in the same comfortable position without injuring or frightening him.
  8. If things didn’t go as planned and you cut off the excess and blood starts to flow, don’t panic, you just nicked a capillary and made a small wound. Take a cotton swab, dip it in potassium permanganate/powder, and apply it to the cut.
  9. Have some blood-stopping powder available in advance to help stop the bleeding if you happen to hurt your dog. Try to avoid muscle contractions while the styptic powder is working. The styptic powder will be effective within a few minutes.
  10. Don’t rush to trim all 18 nails at once. But don’t let your German Shepherd go as soon as he starts to lash out. This way you will teach him to bear all manipulations calmly and not to kick.

If necessary, get a helper or shift your dog’s paying attention to a toy. It is important to trim the claws to the end, as a healthy posture depends largely on a correct walking gait.

What’s the Trick to Cutting a Dog’s Nails?

It is important to know the basic anatomy of a dog’s nail. The portion of the nail that you want to trim is the tip of the shell. Inside each one nail is known as the “quick”, the portion which contains the nerve and blood vessel. Light nails are easier to trim because the quick will be much more visible.

Trimming Your Dog’s Nails by The American Kennel Club

Basic info about a dog’s nail anatomy

The structure of a German Shepherd’s nails differs from a human nail. It consists of a horny plate and a living part, which is visible from the underside.

The live part contains blood vessels. Usually, owners are afraid to cut a German Shepherd’s nails for fear of cutting the live part because it can cause pain and severe bleeding.

German Shepherds who spend most of their time indoors or on soft ground, such as a lawn, should have their nails trimmed about once every 10 days.

How can I tell if my dog needs a nail trim?

It is enough to listen to how he walks on a hard surface (for example, tile and laminate), if clicks are heard, then the overgrown nails.

It’s enough to listen to the dog walking on hard surfaces, such as tiles or laminate, if you can hear a click, it means that the nails have already grown back.

It’s worth keeping in mind that the delicate “live” part of a long dog’s nails is proportional to the length of the nail trim. If you allowed long dog’s nails, you will have to shorten them gradually, so as not to damage the quick. This approach is very important.

german shepherd paw with long nails
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How deep can I trim a dog’s nails?

Simply put, you need to trim the dog’s nails just before the quick, as short as possible. But the question is, where does the quick start?

Usually, this is not a problem, since the quick is darker than the rest of the nail, and it is visible. In a German Shepherd with dark nails, you can try looking at the nail against the light, then the horny plate will be slightly more transparent than the live part.

Short dog nails are best trimmed at a 45-degree angle, holding the nail at the bottom. You can safely cut the nails into small pieces, every 2-3 millimeters.

Then, on the cut part of the trimmed nails, clearly visible tissue contours will appear, resembling annual rings. If you see a bright circle in the middle, the quick is close, and should not be cut further. When trimming, you should make strong, quick cuts to avoid damaging the nail plate, which can break if you cut it sloppily.

Why Should I Cut My Dog’s Nails?

Cutting a German Shepherd’s nails is not only an aesthetic matter. This procedure, among other things, will protect the floor, which can be scratched.

But above all, it is a health concern for your German Shepherd. Claws make your dog’s paws crooked because the claws prevent him from walking properly. German shepherds nails are finger-walking animals, which means that their fingers carry the entire weight load.

Long nails can turn a sound paw pads into a splayed foot and reduce traction, and they can cause deformed feet and injure the tendons over an extended period. As the long nail hits the ground, the pressure puts force on the foot and leg structure.

Nail Neglect Can Lead to Health Problems for Your Dog by The American Kennel Club

Long German Shepherd’s nails can lead to joint degeneration, finger bone damage, or lameness. In addition, German Shepherd’s nails digging into paws handled can cause inflammation and just cause pain. German Shepherd nails that are too long break, which can be painful for the dog.

A German shepherd paws at his owner
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How do I clip my dog’s nails?

For claw trimming, it is best to use special clippers, a bit like pliers or scissors. Their size should correspond to the size of a German Shepherd and its thick nails.

Many nail clippers have a limiter that prevents them from being cut too short, so using them provides safe care and requires little experience.

Because the dog’s paw claws are very hard, it takes a lot of physical strength to cut them. It is recommended to wet the dog’s nails before the clipping procedure.

As in the case of human nails, the German Shepherd short nails become slightly softer under the influence of water. Therefore, it is ideal to trim the white and black nails after a long walk on a rainy day.

The dog’s paw claws can also be filed with a special manicure grinder. This solution will work well when you only need to trim small areas.

How do I know if my German Shepherds nails are too long?

If the pet’s German shepherd’s nails are too long, you will hear them lie down when the dog walks on a hard surface. Deciding whether your dog’s claws are too long is pretty simple.

The claws should not protrude beyond the pillow and should not touch the ground when standing. You can trim your dog’s German shepherd’s nails at home.

What should I do if I cut too much off?

If you don’t touch the live part of the white and black claws during clipping, the dog won’t even feel that the claws have been trimmed. However, touching the receptacle may cause blood to leak out of the cut claws, which could hurt your dog.

What should I do if my dog’s paw claws bleed when I cut them?

First of all, don’t panic. Bleeding usually stops quickly with a gauze napkin, or you can use potassium permanganate (potassium permanganate), a white disinfectant powder (it is worth buying and having in a first aid kit for a dog).

The pain is temporary, and the damaged tissue grows back quickly, so the nail cut is not very dangerous. You should not neglect nail clippings, because their proliferation can lead to much more painful consequences.

What Is the Best Nail Clipper for German Shepherd?

In addition to the question of how to cut a German Shepherd’s nails, you need to know what is the best device to do it with. We have prepared the top five tools for you.

Nail Clipper top list for German Shepherd
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#5: Oster Nail Grinder li-Ion

The main advantages:

  • Two speeds;
  • Three nozzles included;
  • Dustproof nozzle.


  • High-price German shepherds;
  • Using a sanding belt;
  • Insufficient power for large dogs;
  • Large size.

#4: Grinder Moser 2302-0050

The Moser nail trims is made in Germany, which speaks about the quality of the nail trimmers. Its huge plus is the reverse rotation in different directions, this makes turning all the German shepherd’s nails on different paw pads more convenient.

Also, a big plus is the presence of a flashlight backlight.

The main advantages:

  • Two speed modes;
  • Rotation in different directions;
  • Has a mini flashlight;
  • Removable cap for different claw processing;
  • 4 grinding rings are included.


  • A little noisy;
  • Powered by batteries;
  • A little too big, more than 15 cm in length;
  • The use of a sanding belt.
The GSD's claws must be trimmed
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#3: CODOS CP-3300

A fairly well-known company in the USA market, the CODOS CP-3300 grinder works up to 3 hours continuously. The manufacturer’s warranty is 1 year. Light, only 114 g with a length of 13.7 cm.

The main advantages:

  • Removable cap for different claw processing;
  • Removable whetstone metal with diamond coating;
  • High-quality plastic and accessories;
  • Low noise level.


  • Rectangular shape, not always comfortable to hold in your hand;
  • Using an outdated Ni-Cd battery;
  • One speed.
  • There is no backlight.

#2: Tenberg Vortex Black

One of the most popular and proven models of nail trims on the market for a long time. The maximum rotation speed of the grindstone is 6500 rpm.

Lightweight and at the same time quite compact. The material of the case is high–quality plastic. Up to 6 hours of operation time without recharging.

The main advantages:

  • Very quiet;
  • Two speed modes;
  • Dustproof nozzle;
  • Removable cap for different claw processing;
  • Removable whetstone metal with diamond coating;
  • High-quality plastic and accessories;
  • Easy.


  • There is no backlight.

#1: Tenberg Stim Pro

The nail clippers has unique functions: the presence of LED lighting and a dustproof nozzle, which make the procedure of cutting the claws as convenient, clean, and safe as possible.

The main advantages:

  • Powerful 15W motor;
  • Two speed modes (suitable for all types of animals);
  • LED backlight;
  • Dustproof nozzle;
  • Removable cap for different claw processing;
  • Removable whetstone metal with diamond coating;
  • High-quality plastic and accessories;
  • Low noise level.


  • Not always available
German shepherd nail trimming
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Chapter FAQ

Do German Shepherds need their nails clipped?

All German Shepherds need a nail trim from time to time. An exception can be made only for active dogs who naturally wear down their German shepherd’s nails on hard rough surfaces themselves.
If the German shepherd’s nails are too long, the gait of the German Shepherd will be disturbed. This can lead to joint and bone problems.

What is the best nail clipper for German Shepherd?

Here’s our short list of the best tools:
Tenberg Stim Pro
Tenberg Vortex Black
Grinder Moser 2302-0050
Oster Nail Grinder li-Ion
For a detailed description, the pros and cons, see the post above.


The grooming of German Shepherds necessarily includes the care of teeth, dog’s German shepherd’s nails, and ears.

Every month you need to check the dog’s German shepherd’s nails, and if they have not worn off naturally, it is better to cut them with a claw cutter. Teeth cleaning is carried out every week. Bathing your dog is also important. Read on How Often Should You Bathe a German Shepherd And How to Do It Properly.

The ears also need care – they need to be cleaned periodically and checked to see if there is an infection in the ear cavity. For how to do this, see our post How to Clean German Shepherd Ears Correctly.

One last thing. To be objective, here is another video that does not coincide with my point of view. But I think it will be useful so that you can choose the method of clawing a shepherd dog, which is best suited for you.

Malena Parker

I run this blog and I want to share with you useful information about the life, health, and care of a German Shepherd

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