Step 1 - Understanding the Nail
If you are new to nail trimming it's a good idea to have a basic understanding about the nail. In this photo you can see the vein that runs through the nail and roughly where it ends.
You will see how the nail tends to hook downwards towards the end - this is the section I like to trim off.
Note - If you cut into the vein of the nail it will bleed quite profusely. It's a good idea to always have styptic powder or liquid on hand if this happens as a dab of it will stop the bleeding almost instantly. Styptic products are available in Pet stores.
Where to make the cut
Many dogs have solid black nails which is why I've indicated the hook as that should help give an idea of where to trim. If you're unsure, then less is best when starting out.
The dots indicate roughly the division on the nail hook where I will be making my cut with the nail trimmers.
Step 2 - Trimming the Nail
Hold the paw firmly in your hand. If the dog will let you, then it is easier to lay them on their back - this way you have greater control and can see where you're cutting.
Now that you're set up, it's time to start trimming (below). I prefer to use cat nail trimmers on Poms as they are easier to control and you have more idea of where you're cutting. They are available online or in most Pet stores.
Step 3 - Dew Claws
Don't forget the dew claws - this nail is located just below their wrist - some dogs have these nails removed when they're born - so if you don't see a nail, don't be alarmed.
Some dogs also have dew claws on their back leg - although less common, this is nothing to be alarmed about - make sure you keep it trimmed to avoid it getting caught on anything.
Step 4 -Getting rid of rough edges
Rough edges can be smoothed with a pet nail dremmel. If you're using one, please take care to ensure any hair is out of the way so it doesn't get caught up while the dremmel is spinning. You can find dremmels for sale at online canine grooming shops like Hub (see links page) or on Ebay.
If you don't fancy using a dremmel, you can also use a nail file/emery board.
Step 5 - The Finishing Touch
Now it's time to trim the hair away. The photo on the left illustrates an unfinished and finished paw - the right paw is untrimmed to show the difference.
Take the paw and trim the excess hair vertically - make sure you're pointing the ends of the scissors downwards.
The photo on the left shows you how hairy the pads can become - firmly hold the paw and trim the hair away as shown on the right. The photo below shows the end result.
Note - Make sure you hold the scissors flat to the pads - always keeps the pointed end away from the dogs head in case the dog suddenly moves.
The look you are aiming to achieve.
After trimming the pads, finish tidying the ends by trimming the hair to the edge of the nails.
Note - Go slowly and watch your angles - If you trim into the paw like the photo to the right, you will get a result that looks a bit like chicken feet!
This is the correct angle (left)
This photo to the left demonstrates the correct angle to get a neat blunt finish.
The finished product - nice tidy paws!