How To Trim Havanese Toenails

Trimming your Havanese dog’s toenails can be an intimidating notion.  I have talked with numerous people who have their vet trim their dog’s nails for them just to make sure it is done right.

The good news is that trimming your Havanese dog’s toe nails is as simple as trimming your own.  Once you learn where to make the cut, the process is quick and simple and works for Havanese puppies and adults.

For Havanese puppies and smaller adults regular fingernail or toenail clippers will work just fine.  For larger nails you may prefer to purchase a set of toenail clippers online or from your local pet supply store.

Havanese have four toenails on the rear paws and five on the front.  The fifth nail is the dewclaw and is located on the side of the paw at the “wrist” area.

Havanese dog dewclaw picture

 Dewclaw found on the front foot

There are both translucent and black color toenails.  Knowing where to make the cut on a translucent toenail is simple.  The pink quick is visible to the naked eye.

Havanese dog toenail clear or translucent

Translucent toenail with pink quick visible

To trim the nail make a cut perpendicular to the toe nail about 2 millimeters above the quick and you’re done.  It’s really that simple.  As long as you don’t cut into the pink area you will not cause bleeding or discomfort to your dog.

Trimming a Havanese dog toenail

Make a cut perpendicular to the toenail 2mm away from the pink quick.

Havanese trimmed toenails

Finished toenails

Black toenails are a little more tricky.  The pink quick is not visible so it is easier to accidentally cut too close.

Black Havanese dog toenail

Black toenail with no pink quick visible

The easiest way to trim black toe nails is to “tip” the nails by making small perpendicular cuts starting at the tip of the nail and gradually working in until you reach your comfort level.  You might not get as close a cut as you would with a translucent nail but “tipping” consistently will still keep your dog’s nail length in check.

Havanese tipped toenail

 “Tipped” toenail

If you want a closer trim on black nails you must try to identify the edge of the quick as you are trimming the nail closer.  As you approach the quick you will notice a homogeneous grey to pink oval area appearing toward the middle to top of the nail.  Once you see this, stop.  Any further cutting will cut into the quick and cause bleeding and discomfort.

Havanese toenail cuticle

Very small grey to pink oval area

This area is more difficult to see on small dogs like the Havanese and there may be a bit of a learning curve to this method.

Many people are concerned about cutting the nail too close and hurting their dog.  The best way not to do this is to go slowly, take off just a little bit at the time, and stop when you reach your comfort threshold.

If you do happen to trim just a tad too close and bleeding occurs don’t panic.  You’re dog will be fine.  Dip the bleeding nail into styptic powder or press into a styptic pencil to stop the bleeding.  The nail should heal up nicely.

Havanese styptic powder

 Use styptic powder or pencil to stop any bleeding

One thought on “How To Trim Havanese Toenails”

  1. I like to trim my dogs nails right out of a bath. The nails are clean and soft. So much easier to see the quick and they hardly seem to notice I’m trimming the nail at all. Don’t forget the treat when your done!


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