How To Cut Chihuahua Nails ( 5 Important Steps )


Maintaining your pet’s nails in proper trim is paramount to prevent any leg injuries or damages to their paws. Especially with toy breeds such as Chihuahuas. If we acquire the proper technique to do it, plus, the suitable tools that will facilitate the job, it is possible to cut the nails ourselves.

How to cut Chihuahua nails? A dog’s nails will need to be clipped every 4 to 6 weeks, depending on how fast they grow. Chihuahuas are no different, however, this toy breed requires special attention and correct preparation to ensure that the cutting of your Chihuahua’s nails goes smoothly.

So today in Chihuahua’s Land, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide to how to cut Chihuahua nails at home (based on our personal opinion, research, and experience) with some useful tips to make sure it runs flawlessly.

Why Is It Important To Cut Your Chihuahua’s Nails

A lot of responsibilities come with owning a toy breed like a Chihuahua. They need to be cared for and looked after. A very important part of that care package is grooming a Chihuahua. for the sake of this article, we will cover the matter of clipping or trimming the nails.

If left unattended they can become ingrown (which can be very painful for you Chi), they may become uneven, which can upset a dog’s natural walking pattern, or they may split or fracture.

How often should you cut your Chihuahua’s nails

Your Chihuahua’s nails will require trimming every 4 to 8 weeks, and this largely depends on how fast they grow and the extent to which they are naturally polished as the dog walks on various surfaces.

There is typically a characteristic “click-clack” sound made when a dog walks on hard surfaces that will alert you to the necessity of it.

Nails must not exceed the pads of their legs, which support all the weight of their tiny bodies, as this prevents them from being able to walk properly and can lead to sprains or cause them to develop unnatural postures which can lead to other, more serious problems.

In addition, not trimming a Chihuahua’s nails regularly can cause injury to the fifth toe (Dewclaw), as it grows constantly and eventually penetrates the skin.

Groomer vs. at home: You may choose to take on this grooming task at home or arrange for a groomer to do it. It is common for owners to feel nervous about handling this themselves, especially for the first few times.

Each nail carries a vein running down the middle, called the “quick”, and if a nail is cut too far, this vein will be severed and may bleed heavily.

There are some astringent powders that can help stop the bleeding. If you choose to do it yourself at home, we recommend that you have one of the styptic powder products available for this purpose.

Recommended Grinder: If you think you might wish to try a grinder instead of a clipper, we recommend the Dremel 7300-PT 4.8V pet grooming kit. It is a fairly good size for toy breeds and has 2 rotation speeds so you can file in stages.

However, for dogs under 6 pounds, you may be better off getting the small 100 to 120 grit sanding belt as an additional option.

How To Cut Chihuahua Nails

So you have chosen to do it yourself, and you are wondering how to cut Chihuahua nails. Before even beginning the act there is one thing to consider: the tool you will be using.

There are two basic nail trimming tools: a nail clipper (similar in concept to the one you use for your own nails, but designed for canine nails) or an electronic nail file/grinder.

Many owners of toy breeds find grinders much friendlier to use than trimming tools; they rapidly file the nail without having to cut it at all. The benefits are that this is less invasive and very quick. The downside is that it can be loud and some dogs don’t actually like the sound.

How To Cut Chihuahua Nails

Once you set up your mind and choose what tool will go with, It’s time to get dirty ( just joking ) now we will show you the optimal step-by-step approach that most of us Chihuahua owners use that we learned from trial and error.

Create a Comfort Zone: If your Chi runs when it is time to trim his nails, you can start by training him to adopt the trimming position without doing so. This can be done by lying your dog on his side and leaning over his body.

You gently grab his paw and touch his nails. If he remains still, praise and encourage him a lot. As time goes on and your dog feels comfortable lying down and allows you to touch his nails, you can trim them gently.

If you notice that your dog refuses to sit still or is afraid to file or trim his nails, it is best to let a groomer complete this task.

For instructions: Trim/file straight down to the “nail hook” (the area where the nail begins to curve slightly). Only cut/file small bits at a time, 2 millimeters or so.

Keep in mind that if you are using an electronic file, this can file the nail VERY quickly. Every time you trim a piece or file a little bit, stop to take a look.

As you carefully cut or file the small pieces, you will eventually see a grey or pink oval on the nail. This is your cue to stop.

Dewclaws: Dewclaws are the extra nails that sit high up on the side of a dog’s paw. They are so high, you could describe them as being situated on the dog’s ankle. With young puppies, these are simply small, soft nails. As a puppy grows, it will slowly evolve into an appendage.


When trimming the nails, don’t overlook the dewclaw, it will need to be cut as well as the other nails. If left on its own, it can grow too long and spring back into the dog’s paw, which can be very painful.

Removal for Puppies: A number of breeders remove dewclaws from a puppy to help further prevent the damage they can cause. Given their location, a dog can easily entrap the dewclaw in fabric, the sofa, carpet, etc.

This can lead to a lot of painful and long healing times if the nail is torn in this way. If the dewclaws are not removed, they can eventually start to become uneven and distorted, which can also cause discomfort. When removed at a very young age, the process is quite straightforward. It is usually done by the vet once a puppy is only 3 or 4 days old, when it can easily slither off.

Removal for Adults: By the time an older puppy or adult puppy has its dewclaws removed, they no longer have soft, flexible nails. What can be described as an extra “toe” grows on the dewclaw area which is composed of flesh, muscles, ligaments and tissue like any other part of the body. Therefore, the removal is regarded as an amputation.

The dog is put under sedation to do this. Since dogs can be very sensitive to anesthesia, it is best to avoid having this done unless the benefits of the surgery outweigh the discomfort the dog.

Tips on clipping nails for terrified Chihuahua

Trimming you Chihuahua’s nails doesn’t need to be a total nightmare. Below we share with you a few tips we learned along the way. that will help you figure out how to cut Chihuahua nails more comfortably for you and your pet.

It can be a job for 2, you don’t have to do it alone. If you have a house member, that your puppy knows and feel relaxed around. you will help by holding him and/or distracting him.


Simply, while you’re trimming your Chihuahua’s nails on one paw, another person could be holding the other paw and distracting the attention of your Chi by petting them or giving treats.

Use a Hammock You can also try wrapping you Chihuahua in their favorite blanket as long as they are comfortable. You might even wanna pick it up a notch, and get get a Dog Hammock for Grooming, Got one of these for mine and it works! They don’t like at first it but it doesn’t hurt them & makes it way less likely they’ll get hurt while their nails are clipped.

Dog Hammock for Grooming

The power of treats: You could save a extra special treat that your pet ONLY get while trimming their nails. No matter if it’s peanut butter, liver paste or cheese, find out what they will do anything for and save for this task.


Begin whenever your Chi is sleepy and exhausted from the day. Touch their feet with the tool of your chose tool, give them a treat just as soon as they will tolerate it without making a racket. Then move on to small clips or soft files on the rear legs.

The front paws are a little harder, but be patient, be consistent and don’t pull the leg to yourself. Small ones hurt and make you want to pull the leg back. Instead, start with the light toenails, small clips, one or two at a time and then give it a rest.

And above all, DON’T GIVE UP. It may be a struggle of wills, yet as soon as they surrender, you will both be much happier and they will be more comfortable to walk and more secure because their nails won’t get caught in the blankets or anything else.

As closing note we leave you with this video that shows the benefits of using a Dremel tool on a Chihuahua’s nails.

I write about the things I've come to discover about having a Chihuahua ( 2 lovely girls ), the adventures we've had, and our ups and downs. So I felt it's only natural and fair to share any tips and advice I've picked up along the way.