Dog Bites when Cutting Nails

It’s pretty common that your calm and composed pup suddenly turned monstrous while cutting the nails. He can even bite back. Ouch! but have you noticed why a dog bites when cutting his nails? Well, in this article we will give a few reasons for his aggression and tips on how to calm him while cutting his nails.

dog bite when cutting nails

How does a dog shows his disliking when you are cutting his nails?

If your dog doesn’t like nail cutting sessions,  there is no way he is going to make it easy for you.  You have to listen to him. An aggressive dog is no one’s friend. He can bite.

  • If your dog growls when cutting nails
  • Make howling sounds
  • Resists giving his paw in your hand
  • Tries to run away
  • Starts barking when you try to cut his nails
  • Becomes super aggressive
  • Tries to fight back and
  • Bites

He doesn’t like it and there must be an explanation for this behavior.

Why does a dog bite when cutting the nails?

Dog nails have alive tissue and nerves in them. when you cut that alive part called quick, the pain becomes unbearable for your dog. He may become aggressive and pull away to protect himself.

Most owners do this accidentally. You must cut the nail part from where they have started curving. To differentiate between the nail and quick part, remember quick is pinkish. Whereas nails can be black or white.

Some reasons why your dog growls when cutting nails are

He is scared

Nail trimming is an ongoing process (Also read do dog nails grow back). There is a pretty much chance that you have accidentally cut off his nail in the past. Canine instincts can’t be denied. When your dog will find anything hurting, next time he will try to resist the process as much as he can. A scared dog can turn aggressive and may even try to bite to save himself from that pain.

He is stressed

Not necessarily that your dog is stressed from past accidents, he can be stressed from anything. Nail trimming is like invading privacy when he doesn’t want you to. There are times when your dog doesn’t know how to express himself so he will simply bite back to show he doesn’t like what you are trying to do.


Dogs are like babies. They don’t have many expressions. So they express themselves in two ways. Either cuddling and licking or biting and barking. (Also read do huskies like to cuddle). When your dog is anxious he can bite you out of love too. Although you can control their little gesture of love bites you need to be careful.

In pain

Maybe you have just accidentally cut the wrong part. Dogs can bite back as a reflex action. Pain in nails is hard on dogs. It hurts more than you expect. You can’t blame your pup for biting back.

How to stop your dog from biting when cutting nails

You must make your dog easy while trimming his nails. Sometimes his overreaction can make you cut his nails from the wrong place. To calm your dog, you need to

Make him comfortable

Many owners have claimed that as soon as their dog sees nail clippers, they become aggressive and out of control. Here you need to understand that it’s a psychological knot that needs to be untied here. You can’t make your dog easy and comfortable in a day. Gradually make him calm by following some steps.

If your dog is aggressive just by seeing, he needs a continuous site of nail clippers. Don’t wave in front of him but slide the clippers from where your dog can see them often. When every time he sees a nail clipper and it doesn’t end in clipping its nail, he will start feeling safe.

Spend quality time

Before clipping nails, have some quality time with your dog. Build trust so that when you start trimming, he takes it as a friendly and caring gesture.

Offer him treat

Offer your dog a treat. Using positive reinforcements always work. Your dog will try his best to overcome fears so that he can get the treat in the end.

Don’t enforce yourself

If your dog resists, you can discontinue for a time. He will get a sense of safety that you care about what he wants. Next time he will try to become less dramatic.

Give him reward

After the job is done, reward your dog with whatever he likes. Give him his favorite toy, spend quality time, go for a walk, have a nice treat. Next time your dog will remember it as a fond memory.

How to control an aggressive dog while cutting his nails? 

All of the above tips were to make your dog easy but you never know. Dogs can still get aggressive and uncontrollable. For this

  • Grip him tightly. Though this is not a one-man job, you might need another family member who can hold your dog firmly while you trim his nails. You can also take professional help.
  • Put muzzle around dog’s mouth. This is how to stop a dog from biting while cutting nails. (Also read when does Golden retriever stop biting).
  • Another safe option is sedating a dog for nail cutting. Long nails are not only uncomfortable to your pup but also very unhealthy. If not cut for a long time they can bend downward or sideways and cause serious limping and bone deformities. (Read dog nails bent sideways).

Sedating blocks the central nervous system and makes your dog less scared. Your vet can prescribe a sedative or you can use natural relaxants. This will put your dog in a comfortable mood and he will resist a little.


Dog bites when cutting nails because he is scared,  nervous, or in pain. However, you can help him overcome his fears by making him comfortable or giving him sedatives.

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