Are You Afraid to Trim Your Dog’s Black Nails? Dr. Buzby Helped Me and She Can Help You Too

Are you afraid of trimming your dog’s black nails?

A special offer! Use the code HAPPYNAILS to save 15% on Dr. Buzby’s nail trimming course. More details at the end of this article.

Taking an online class taught me the secrets to happier dog nail trims

Do you know how to cut black dog nails? Do you wish nail trims were a happier experience for you and your dog? With Happy-Go-Doodle Chloe’s dark nails, I was fearful of cutting the nail too short and hitting the quick. And Chloe was fearful because I was fearful. However, I learned from an expert that it doesn’t have to be that way! Read on to learn how you can get the secrets to happier nail trims for your dog and even conquer finding the quick on dark nails.

Why dog nail trims were daunting to me

As a “DIY dog mom,”  I enjoy dog care routines because it’s a chance to bond with my dog. We work as a team on everything from Goldendoodle face trims to daily tooth brushing to baths. But dog nail trims? Trimming Chloe’s nails seemed like a daunting task. After an unsuccessful attempt, I was unsure of how to trim her nails and afraid of hitting the quick on her black toenails. Here’s what had happened:

When Chloe was younger, I’d attempted trimming her nails on my own. Using some dog nail clippers that I believed were good quality, I held her paw in my hand and was…

A B O U T…T O…C  U T…T H E…F I R S T…N A I L…W H E N…

…Chloe quickly pulled her paw out of my hand.

Do you know where those dog nail trimmers are now? I think they found their way to the back of a junk drawer somewhere. Since I knew nail trims were important to her health, trips to the groomer or vet seemed like the safest plan.

Taking an online course was a unique solution

Fast forward a few years to  Dr. Julie Buzby’s Nail Trimming Without Fear online course. Hey, they could be a unique solution to conquering my dog nail trimming fears. The more I learned about the course, the more confident I became. Trimming Chloe’s dark nails and making the experience more positive for both Chloe and me was definitely worth trying!

red goldendoodle dog's paws with dark nails peeking out from under fur
Chloe’s fluffy Muppet paws hide her dark nails.

disclosure: Happy-Go-Doodle Chloe and I received Dr. Buzby's course and monetary compensation in exchange for this post. We only share products that we believe in and love.

Chloe and I watched the nail trimming course together

While online dog training classes were familiar to me, this was the first online dog nail trimming course that I’d seen. In addition to providing online videos and reference guides, I received a dog nail trimming kit (dog nail trimmers, styptic powder, and a tip sheet) in the mail as part of the course materials. Wow. With the right tools for the job, this time I was already ahead of the game.

I took the nail trimming course on my laptop with Chloe sitting on the couch beside me. As I watched the course videos of Dr. Buzby demonstrating her nail trimming technique, I had that ah-ha moment. This was the next best thing to having an expert right in my living room giving me step-by-step instruction. In fact,  better because I could replay the videos at any time. As I watched Dr. Buzby’s DIY Dog Course: Nail Trimming Without Fear videos, I became more confident that Chloe and I could do this.

A look under the “floof” and you can see Chloe’s dark nails. Even with nail trims at the groomer and vet, they grow so fast!

I’m happy to say that I am one of those empowered pet parents who has learned how to trim Chloe’s nails and it was a positive experience for both my kiddoodle and me.

Oh, the places you’ll go…Chloe’s Muppet paws take her on many ball-loving adventures! In the nail trimming course, Dr. Buzby explains how long nails can negatively impact your dog’s stride. I’m thankful that Chloe has a good stride and I want to keep it that way.

Three paws and a TA-DA! Celebrating successes

Yes, Chloe and I can now add nail trimming to our list of dog care routines! But what was the difference between our success and my previous attempt when Chloe had pulled her paw away? Turns out that I wasn’t setting myself up for success. The conventional dog nail trimming method I’d tried was more like a McDonald’s drive-thru: grab the nail trimmers and go!

After taking the course, I had a clear picture of exactly how to approach trimming Chloe’s dark nails from start to finish. I had a step-by-step plan in place. I knew how to make sure Chloe was comfortable and had plenty of distractions, how to identify and avoid the quick on black nails, which tools to use, how to hold the paw, what technique to use to get closer to the quick trimming more of the nail, and so much more. (BTW…when you take the course, try making Dr. Buzby’s pupsicle treat as a happy distraction for your dog. Happy-Go-Doodle Chloe loved it!)

The video demonstrations made it easy to understand how to (and how not to) trim the toenails, even dark ones like Chloe’s. Plus, Dr. Buzby’s positive and encouraging approach was what I was looking for.

On my first try, I trimmed the nails on three out of four paws! Now that Chloe and I are both more confident with nail trims, I know I’ll be able to trim all four paws the next time. We’re a team and that’s true “pawfection!”

 Here’s the 4-1-1 on the course:

  • What it is:  Dr. Buzby’s DIY Dog Master Course: Nail Trimming Without Fear is an online, self-guided course. You can take it when you want, where you want, and at our own pace. I recommend taking it on your laptop or any device with a large screen. A small screen like a cell phone is completely fine to use, but I loved being able to pause a video and look at the close-up camera shots (especially of the dark toenails) on a bigger screen.
  • What’s included:  The course includes 11 easy lessons with all sorts of course materials including videos, printable instruction guides, audio, tip sheets, quizzes, and even a certificate of completion. Additionally, Dr. Buzby is including a  dog nail trimming kit (nail clippers, styptic powder, reference guide, and gift bag) for free if you take the class now.
Dr. Buzby's dog nail trimming kit
Dr. Buzby’s dog nail trimming kit is included with course purchase.
  • What type of nails will you learn to trim:  Dark nails, light nails, puppy nails, large nails, Dr. Buzby demonstrates how to trim them all with a focus on a nail trimming technique that helps you trim more of the nail and get closer to the quick. Plus, she demonstrates nail trimming on all types of adorable dogs.
  • What you will learn:  You’ll get instruction on which nail trimming tools to use (and why to avoid guillotine style nail trimmers at all costs), prep tips, how often to trim your dog’s nails, how to position your dog so that he or she is comfortable for the nail trim, the technique that Dr. Buzby has perfected so that you can trim more of the nail, how to find and avoid the quick to you don’t cut the nail too short, how to trim dew claws, and even which toenails to trim first!

A special offer: Save 15% 

Use the code “HAPPYNAILS” to save 15% on Dr. Buzby’s nail trimming course! Just go to or click here: Dr. Buzby’s DIY Dog Master Course: Nail Trimming Without Fear. Then enter the code HAPPYNAILS at checkout.

FREE dog treat recipe printable

Finally, please download Dr. Buzby’s recipe for a pupsicle treat! It makes a tasty distraction for your dog during a nail trim! Chloe loved it!

About Dr. Julie Buzby: the expert behind the nail trimming course 

Dog nail trimming expert and Integrative veterinarian Dr. Julie Buzby and golden retriever dog
Integrative veterinarian Dr. Julie Buzby has a passion for helping people help their dogs. In addition to 20+ years as a vet, she runs a family-owned business and is the mom of eight children and three dogs.

I’d met Dr. Julie Buzby while attending a pet blogging conference where she was a presenter. I became an instant fan when I learned about her innovation, called ToeGrips, which helped senior and special needs dogs gain traction and mobility on slippery floors. Dr. Buzby’s passion, kindness, positivity, and absolute love for helping dogs were infectious.

What I learned from this integrative veterinarian who has a passion for dog nail trimming

red goldendoodle's muddy feet running through leaves showing importance of mobility in dogs
Chloe’s Muppet paws and toenails get plenty of action. She’s a ball dog through and through. Her toenails dig into the soft ground and give her traction for all those zoomies she makes in our yard.

Here’s a little-known fact about Dr. Buzby: dog nail trimming is her soapbox! The idea for the nail trimming course grew out of her love for teaching nail trimming techniques to her veterinary clients. She describes her philosophy this way:

“They say if you give a man a fish he’ll fish for a day, he eats for a day. But if you teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime. Similarly, I’m happy to trim a dog’s toenails, but I’m much happier to transfer my knowledge on to you.” ~ Dr. Julie Buzby

“Hearing an empowered pet parent say, “I get it! I understand why this is so important and now I have the tools to make this happen at home! Honestly, this is one of my greatest joys as an integrative veterinarian of 20 years.”

~ Dr. Julie Buzby

Do you trim your dog’s nails? We’d love to hear. Please comment below! 

Doodle kisses and tail wags!

The online trimming giveaway has ended

One lucky winner received Dr. Buzby’s DIY Dog Master Course: Nail Trimming Without Fear AND Dr. Buzby’s Nail Trimming Kit.

17 thoughts on “Are You Afraid to Trim Your Dog’s Black Nails? Dr. Buzby Helped Me and She Can Help You Too

  1. Gosh, this sounds great! I am also very nervous trimming Ruby’s nails, which are also black. Sometimes I can do a couple, but then I get too nervous and rush her off to the vet! LOL. I am definitely going to bookmark her course and think about this!

    1. Yes, I felt the same way! I’m more confident now and I think Chloe senses that so she’s happier! Dr. Buzby shared such valuable techniques and preparation tips in her course. I know how to set myself (and Chloe) up for success! It was just the support and know-how that I needed. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  2. yes, i trim my 2 gals nails. i also got a dremel. my oldest is very touchy and has to be given a sedative to clip her nails. my former vet when she was young screwed up and she has been terrible ever since. sometimes she will let me do the dremel but most times she has to go to the vet. my youngest will let me but she is very naughty. she will start screaming as soon as i touch her toes. but i can get her nails done.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Sandy! It sounds like your oldest dog must have had a painful nail trimming experience with your former vet that makes her fearful now. I’m glad that both your dogs have you as their advocate to help make nail trims less stressful for them. If you’re interested, here are a couple of additional resources from Dr. Buzby on dog nail trimming 5 Tips to Successful Dog Nail Trims and her free mini-course: Why Nail Trims Matter.

  3. My dogs go to the groomer and vet for their nail trims. I just don’t trust my hand-eye coordination, but my husband can clip the nails for two of them. The third one has a lot of apprehension about getting his nails trimmed. He’s been like that since we adopted him, we have to take him to the vet and he wears a muzzle just to be on the safe side. However, the vet tech says that he’s much better now.

    1. Hi, Beth! Thanks so much for your comment! It sounds like you, your husband, and your vet tech make a great team! If you’re interested, Dr. Buzby has a blog post called 5 Tips for Successful Dog Nail Trims that you might find informative, too. My favorite tip is exercising your dog prior to the nail trim. I’m glad to hear that your third furry pal is doing better with nail trims.

  4. Makes me nervous

  5. I have three dogs and 2 have black nails. All of them let me trim the nails but one with black nails is scared and gives me grief. This means it’s not easy and I’ve accidently quicked a nail. I wish it was easier with black nails and a scared dog. Enjoyed this post. Thank you for sharing.

    1. I get it! Chloe’s black nails were intimidating. Watching the videos and really getting a good look at what the “pre-quick” looks like, helped so much. Also, I’m giving Chloe the frozen pupsicle treat every time I trim her nails now and it really works wonders. She’s so excited about the treat that I can snip the nails on at least two paws before she even notices.

  6. My dog doesn’t seem to mind nail trims much but I think she definitely associates it with treats because when I finish she will go stand by the treat cupboard & if I don’t follow her she will start to shake her head & stamp her feet & come nudge me & try to lead me to the treats. And the only time she does this treat dance is after nail cutting! (She does get the treats though so I accidentally reinforce it!)

    1. That’s great to hear! It sounds like you and your dog have a great bond!

  7. My dog Jackson goes to the groomer to get his nail clipped. I’m to nervous to do it myself. It would be nice to do it myself and save my money for other things my baby boy needs.

  8. great i want this i have 3 older dogs this will help alot

  9. One time years ago, Dad trimmed Bessie’s nails and accidentally cut three of them too close to the quick, ‘cuasing bleedies. Too bad Dad didn’t know about the nail training course back then! Mom took over the nail trimming duties after Dad’s blundert! Tee hee hee. Bessie’s fear of the clippers has reduced over the years, but she still doesn’t care for the process. Mom always leaves Bessie’s black claws a little longer than the white ones, to be safe. Though whenever the V-E-T cuts Bessie’s nails, they cut them much shorter. Purrs.

    1. Yes, cutting the quick can happen so easily! I’m glad Bessie’s brave and let’s Mom clip her nails. Thanks for stopping by! It’s always nice to hear from you! Tail wags!

  10. I’ve tried doing my dos nails and it’s terrifying. I ended up cutting my little one’s too much and she bled.

    1. It can be scary! I learned so much about how to identify the pre-quick (the area just before the blood and nerve supply) by taking Dr. Buzby’s course. It’s truly helped!

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