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Animal claws contain blood vessels and nerve endings (the 'quick') which are easily damaged. It can be almost impossible to tell where the quick is if your pet has dark claws. It's always better to err on the side of caution and trim too little rather than too much.
Make sure you have a firm grip on your pet's paw before you start and start gently pushing out the claws. Look for a clear outer section of the claw and a darker inner section. Avoid cutting near the inner section, as this is the blood-filled quick. Trim the very tip of the claw.
Tip for dark claws:
Get a friend to help: one person holds the animal and shines a light (eg a penlight or flashlight) from under the nails to show up the quick while the other trims the claws.