How to Trim Jack Russell Terrier Nails

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Trimming your dog’s nails is very important for their health and comfort. However, sometimes this can be a challenge. If you want to learn how to do it, you might be wondering how to carefully trim your Jack Russell’s nails.

How to Trim Jack Russell Terrier Nails

Like every dog, Jack Russells need to keep short nails to feel comfortable. This is because, if they are too long, they could have trouble walking and running. On top of that, they could develop infections and illnesses that could make them limp.

A newly trimmed Jack Russell terrier's nails

However, Jacks tend to be very active and athletic, which could cause their nails to be naturally filed by a rustic floor. If you constantly exercise this breed by taking them out for a jog or a run, their nails will probably stay at a healthy size. Though, this is not always the case.

Even though they could be naturally filed, you need to check how long they are every 4 to 6 weeks. A good way of telling your dog has long nails is to hear them walk or run. If you listen to their nails slapping against the floor, you will likely need to trim them.

Get Clippers and Treats

The first thing you will need to do is to search for good clippers that can trim their nails with no effort. You need to make sure they are sharp enough to cut as fast as possible; therefore, you need to research before acquiring one.

Then, you need to buy some treats for your dog. This will allow you to train your dog to stay still and behave while you cut their nails. You will need to cut one nail, give them a treat, and repeat the cycle until all of them are done. This will condition them by using positive reinforcement.

Get Them Comfortable Around the Clipper

Although dogs are not afraid of the clipper, it is common for them to panic when you start cutting their nails. Therefore, you should take the time to familiarize them with the smell and feel of the clipper. Doing this could take you a couple of days or even a week.

You can start by letting them smell it and interact with it. Once they examine it, you can give them the treat to reinforce the interaction. Then, you can grab your dog and touch their paws with the clipper and see their reaction. If they are calm, give them a treat.

If they get upset, try the next day again. The next step is to put the nail clipper as if you were to cut their nails already and give them a treat. If they are calm, you can go a step further and clip a tiny part of their nail and provide them with a treat. If not, you need to try the next day.

Nails of a Jack Russell terrier that is ready for a trim

Cut One per Day

Once your dog is comfortable around the clipper, you can start by cutting one nail, giving them a treat, and seeing their reaction. If they seem too stressed, you can end the cutting session and wait for the next day. Then, you can repeat the process and cut one more nail.

You will need to do this to get them accustomed to their nails being trimmed. If you do this, they will learn to stay calm, allowing you to cut all their nails at once. On the other hand, if they are calm from the beginning, there is no need to go through this process.

Some dogs are not afraid of this process and will let you do it. However, this is not very common, which is why you need to be prepared.

Put You and Them in a Favorable Position

If you have never trimmed your dog’s nails, it may be too uncomfortable for you to hold him, extend his claws, and cut them. Also, if you don’t have a good position, you could cut their nails too short by accident, which can be uncomfortable for them.

Learning how to cut your Jack’s nails implies that you need to be confident about your actions when you do it. It is common for owners to be nervous not to hurt their dogs when they clip their nails. A good position will give you confidence and good stability to do it.

If you feel too inexperienced to do it, you can always watch an instructional video or ask your vet to give you advice on how to do it. If not, you can follow the next steps on how to grab their paws and trim their nails.

  1. Sit down with your dog in a quiet place where they can be relaxed and place them by your side. You could put a sheet and do this on a sofa or a bed; this way, you can prevent the clipped nails from falling into the floor.
  2. Then, with your non-dominant hand, take one of their paws and lay your thumb on their pad. By pushing their pad up with your thumb, you will be able to see their nails completely extended.
  3. Ensure none of their hair is in the way before starting the process. You could pull their hair while cutting, so be sure none of it is in the way. If it is too much, you might need to give your dog a haircut before cutting their nails.
  4. Grab a clipper with your dominant hand and start clipping nails.
  5. A good sign to know where to stop cutting is their natural curve. Cutting past this curve can be painful for them as there is a vein called the quick that can cause a lot of pain if touched. Some dogs have clear nails that allow you to see this vein.
A Jack Russell terrier showing its nails that is ready for a trim

What Happens if I Cut Their Nails Too Short?

Even after learning how to clip your Jack Russell’s nails, you can make a mistake and cut them too short. If this happens, they might begin bleeding through the nail. After all, you would have cut off their ‘’quick’’, which is a vein.

However, the important thing in this situation is to remain calm and alleviate your dog’s pain as soon as possible. Although this can be quite painful for your dog, it is not a fatal injury, and it can be solved quickly. You need to grab a clean paper towel and start applying pressure to the nail.

After applying pressure for a few minutes, you can apply some styptic powder to their nail, so it alleviates pain and helps with the bleeding. After doing it, you must apply more pressure for a few minutes. If you don’t have styptic powder, you can use cornstarch.

Related Questions

Here are some related questions about trimming a dog’s nails.

How Can I Shorten My Dog’s Nails Naturally?

You can naturally shorten your dog’s nails by exercising with them on a hard or rustic surface. For example, if you take your dog for a jog, the sidewalk material will file their nails over time.

Can I Use a Human Nail Clipper on My Dog?

No, you cannot cut your dog’s nails using a human nail clipper. This is because their nails are much harder than mine, and my clippers are not sharp or strong enough to trim their nails effectively.


When it comes to nails, owners must be careful and well instructed to safely cut their Jack Russell’s nails. However, even experts can make mistakes and cut them too short. In this case, you just need to remain calm and act quickly.