How to Cut Nails on an American Bulldog

Keep your dog's nails clipped.
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An American bulldog needs its nails clipped every one to two weeks. When you don't clip a dog’s nails, the nails grow out and often curl or split. When grown-out nails curl, the dog may tear the nail or break it off, which is often painful; split nails run the risk of infecting the quick of the nail. Both scenarios make it hard for the dog to walk. Cut your dog’s nails before they reach the floor and to avoid preventable infections and pain.

Step 1

Place the American bulldog on the floor in front of you or on your lap. Because American bulldogs have a fairly large build, you may find it easier to lay the dog out in front of you and hold the paw you're working on. The dog should be close enough to hold so it can't run away during the clipping process. Sitting close to the dog also helps it feel more at ease.

Step 2

Take one paw into your hand. Gently squeeze the paw until you clearly see the nails. American bulldogs have relatively short paw fur, so viewing the nails isn't as challenging as locating the nails in longer-haired breeds. Continue squeezing the paw. You want a clear view of the nails the entire time you're clipping.

Step 3

Clip the nail in small sections using the nail clippers. Avoid hitting the quick, or living part of the dog's nail with blood vessels running through it. When you cut the quick, it bleeds and may hurt. Some dogs have clear nails, while other dogs have darker nails. With clear nails, it's easier to see the quick; with darker nails, you can’t see the quick. The color of your dog's nails is determined by the color of the fur surrounding the nails. For example, if your bulldog has darker-colored fur on its foot, the nail are dark; lighter-colored feet have clear or lighter nails. Clipping the nail in small sections helps you avoid the quick.

Step 4

Clip the nails to just under the curve of each nail. Hold your dog's paw up and shine a small flashlight on the nail. Examine the nail closely. At this point, the quick should be more visible when you look at the inside of the nail. When you look inside the nail, you see a small dot in the center of the nail — this is the end of the quick. Stop clipping the nail when you see it. If you don't see the dot, continue clipping a small amount of nail off at a time until you see the dot. For light-colored nails, the quick is visible from the outside and appears pink. Simply cut the nail down until you almost reach the pink area of the quick. Repeat with each nail and paw.

Step 5

File down each clipped nail with a nail file. This helps prevent snagging of the nails by filing away the points. Filing the nails also gets the nails to a shorter length without hitting the quick.


  • Don't yell at your dog or intimidate it while you're clipping its nails. Dogs are often frightened during the nail-clipping process. Use a soothing speaking voice and provide plenty of praise during the process.


  • If you accidentally cut the quick of the nail, apply a small amount of cornstarch to the bleeding nail. The cornstarch helps stop the bleeding.

  • Start clipping your dog’s nails when your dog is young. The more your dog is around the clippers, the easier it is to clip its nails.

  • Try various types of dog clippers. Electronic clippers may be the best option for you and your bulldog.

Items You Will Need

  • Dog nail clippers
  • Nail file
  • Flashlight
  • Cornstarch