how to cut Yorkie nails

How To Cut Yorkie Nails: Step-by-Step Guide

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How to cut Yorkie nails. Cutting a dog’s nails is one of the hardest grooming tasks, what more if you have a Yorkie. These dogs don’t like being restrained for long. Their black toes also pose a challenge to pet owners who are trying to perform DIY grooming. Knowing how to cut Yorkie nails may seem like a burdensome task, but it would be more worthwhile using the right technique.

In this post, I outlined the steps to cut your Yorkshire Terrier’s nails to avoid injuries. Read on before your next grooming session with your dog.

How to cut Yorkie nails

Why it’s challenging to cut Yorkie nails

how to cut Yorkie nails

Nail cutting or trimming in dogs must be done with extra care. This is mainly because of the dog’s quick.

The ‘quick’ is a group of blood vessels and nerves located in the middle of your dog’s nails. This part supplies blood to the nails to keep them growing and alive.

But since the quick is located along with the nail itself, it’s easy for dog owners to cut through it. And when you do, it will result in serious bleeding.

For dogs with white nails, the quick is easy to see. It has a pinkish color right where the nail meets your dog’s paws.

However, here’s the catch: Yorkshire Terriers have black nails. Seeing the quick on black nails is difficult, so Yorkies are more likely to experience due to a cut quick than other canines with white nails.

You have to look for the quick differently on Yorkies as you’d do on dogs with white nails. Below, I discussed this part in detail to guide you on proper grooming.

Another struggle many Yorkie owners face is the fact that this breed doesn’t like being restrained for long. Many will try to bite, scratch, and scape once they see the nail clipper. All of these can be addressed through training and proper technique, which I also indicated below.

How to cut Yorkie nails

Take note that trimming a Yorkie’s nail can be challenging. If this is your first time and you’re not confident with your skills, I suggest consulting a groomer first.

Aside from that, you should use a sharp pair of dog nail clippers. This will ensure that the nails will be cut properly so that they won’t cause pain to your pet. If your Yorkie hates clippers, you can try nail grinders instead.

Nevertheless, the following are the steps you need to take:

Step 1. Calm your dog

how to cut Yorkie nails

First, you need to make sure that your Yorkie is calm and not panicking before you cut its nails. The last thing you want is a dog biting your hand as you try to clip its claws. It can turn disastrous for both you and your pooch.

I suggest taking your Yorkie on a short walk to drain its energy. You should also maintain a calm disposition as pets often take cues from our own behavior.

Once your doggo is nice and calm, you can proceed to the next step.

Step 2. Start the reward process

This step is something that you should be doing as soon as your Yorkie arrives at your home. Basically, you’ll start touching your dog’s paws, then saying a ‘Yes!’ if it let you handle the body part. After saying ‘Yes!’, give a treat right away.

You need to repeat this several times until your dog associates the word ‘Yes!’ with the incoming treat. Take note that this process is best done regularly, even without clipping your dog’s nails. Doing so will make your Yorkie accustomed to being touched.

Before reaching for the clippers, you can take a few repetitions of this drill. This is to distract your Yorkie with the treat and to start off with a positive experience.

Take note that the food rewards will also come in handy as you clip through the dog’s nails.

Step 3. Look for the quick

how to cut Yorkie nails

Next, you have to locate the quick. This is a group of nerves and blood vessels that supply blood to your dog’s nails. Cutting through this can result in severe bleeding, which is very painful for canines.

Since Yorkies have black nails, you’ll look for the quick on the underside of their nails. This is in contrast to canines with nails, where the quick is easily visible at the top.

On the underside of your Yorkie’s nails, you’ll see a fleshy, grayish part, which contains the quick. You shouldn’t cut through that portion. Take note that finding this part may not be easy as Yorkies have short nails. This is why you should perform the clipping in a well-lit environment.

Step 4. Work one paw at a time

Once you spot the quick, you can start clipping one nail at a time. Always double-check if you’re placing the blade in the right spot. The good thing is that many nail clippers nowadays are equipped with cutting guides and LED lights to make it easier for pet owners to avoid the quick.

After each nail that you clip, you should hand-feed a treat to your Yorkie. This will make the experience positive, and your Yorkie will be more likely to cooperate as it waits for the next treat.

If your Yorkie becomes agitated and struggles to be let go, give it a break and let the pooch rest. You can restart after a few minutes when your dog is calmer. Treats always come in handy during these situations.

Step 5. Remove sharp or rough edges

After you’re done clipping your dog’s nails, the last step is to check for rough edges or burrs. You have to sand or buff these sharp parts to prevent your dog from getting hurt when it scratches. Also, it will save your precious hardwood floor from nasty scratches.

If you don’t have a Dremel or sander of some kind, you can use the clipper to slice off the rough parts for as little as possible.

Additional tips when cutting Yorkie nails

Aside from the steps discussed above, the following tips will help you clip your dog’s nails properly. It will also prevent any accidents and injuries along the way.

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  • Start early with desensitization. The only way to clip your Yorkie’s nails at peace is to get the pooch used to the stimuli. You should touch and lightly press your dog’s paws as early as possible. This way, it won’t panic once it’s time for some nail clipping.
  • Choose the right nail clipper. Each dog has varying reactions when it comes to nail clippers. Others hate the buzzing sound of nail grinders, while there are also Yorkies who hate the sensation of guillotine clippers. It’s about finding what works for your dog, though it means purchasing a few tools along the way.
  • Keep the experience positive. When performing any grooming tasks, it’s crucial to keep the experience positive for your dog. You should provide treats and affection so that it won’t feel too scary.
  • Do it fast but safely. Dogs can only stay calm for a short period. This is why you should keep this grooming task quick without compromising your Yorkie’s safety. Practice will soon help you master the craft.
  • Trim regularly. It’s important to trim your Yorkie’s nails regularly. Some pet owners do it monthly, while others would have to perform trims every two weeks. It depends on how fast your dog’s nails grow. The key here is establishing a routine so that you won’t forget this grooming task.
  • Stay gentle. It’s easy to be too forceful or rough when your Yorkie tries to escape while grooming. However, always keep your grip loose, so your pooch won’t become uncomfortable.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask a pro. As much as you trust your DIY grooming skills, you should still consult the vet or a groomer when you have the time. This way, you can avoid mistakes that could cause discomfort or even injuries to your Yorkie.

What should I do if I accidentally cut the quick?

If you accidentally cut the quick, you have to stop the bleeding right away. Always keep a styptic pencil handy to alleviate the bleeding.

Styptic pencils are often used for shaving cuts, but they will also work for an injured quick. First, you need to wet the end of the pencil with water then press it on the affected nail. Hold it in place for several minutes to let the styptic powder coat the cut.

If you don’t have a styptic pencil, you can also use flour or cornstarch. You have to press these powders to the dog nail using your fingers to stop the bleeding. Similar to the styptic pencil, you need to hold it in place for a few minutes.

If the bleeding doesn’t stop despite your efforts, you should call the vet. It’s also best to bring your Yorkie to the vet’s clinic for proper treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How often do you need to trim Yorkie nails?

A: It’s advisable to trim Yorkie nails every two to four weeks. If your dog’s claws are already clattering on the floor, it’s a sign that the pooch is due for nail trimming. Also, it’s best to clip your dog’s claws often so that you can get rid of the excess growth immediately. It will also make you more familiar with where the quick is located.

Q: Can I sedate my Yorkie to clip its nails?

A: If your Yorkshire Terrier doesn’t cooperate during grooming, you can ask the vet for sedative options. This must be the last resort and should only be used sparingly. Mild sedatives will help calm your pooch, so it won’t fight back when you try to hold its paw and trim its nails.

Q: Does it hurt the dog when you cut the quick?

A: Since the quick has blood vessels and nerves, it will surely hurt your dog a lot. Imagine getting the tip of your fingers slashed. It will bleed, and the pain would be almost unbearable. This is why you have to avoid getting the blade into this part while grooming your pet.

Q: Can I file my Yorkie’s nails instead of clipping?

A: Nail filing works, though it will take more time than simply clipping your dog’s claws. You can buy one of those motorized nail files like Dremel to keep the process safe. This is an excellent alternative for dogs who don’t like the sensation of nail cutting.

Q: Can I use a wire cutter to cut my dog’s nails?

A: While some pet owners swear by a new pair of wire cutters, it’s not the safest option for your dog. If it’s not sharp enough, you’ll just squeeze your Yorkie’s nails and even cause pain to its paw.

Can I Trim My Yorkie’s Nails If It Has Matted Hair?

If you need to groom a yorkie with matted hair, it is advisable to address the matting issue before attempting to trim its nails. Matted hair can cause discomfort and can be painful for your Yorkie. Once you have successfully untangled the mats, you can then proceed to safely trim its nails.


Knowing how to cut Yorkie nails is a skill every owner of this dog should know. It can be tricky, especially for feisty canines, but there’s always a workaround you can try. Remember that getting your dog used to grooming as early as possible will be a big help.

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