Best Dog Nail Clippers – The Complete Grooming Guide

As domesticated dogs do not live the same lifestyle as their wilder ancestors, in which their nails would be naturally trimmed from lots of walking on rough ground, an essential part of your dog’s grooming routine should include trimming their nails.

If you allow for their nails to grow too long, as well as being uncomfortable it can force their toes to spread out, which then places unnecessary pressure on their ankle joints.

This can have a knock-on effect on their walking, making it more difficult and even sore. Those points aside, a dog who has long nails is more likely to cause damage to furniture, flooring or people.

A lot of dog owners are nervous about handling the trimming of their dog’s nails themselves because they’re worried about injuring their four-legged friend. However, if you familiarise yourself with the process early on in your dog’s life, both you and the dog will get used to it and it’ll become a regular part of grooming.

In the following post, we want to help make things a lot easier for you if you are intending on trimming your dog’s nails by yourself. We are going to look at the different types of nail clippers for dogs, the best way to trim them and other great hints and tips too.

Dog Nail Clippers: Summary Table

PositionNail ClippersOnline RatingAvailable Online
1🏆 Professional Dog Claw Clippers With WashbagBuy on Amazon
2SAFARI Professional Stainless Steel Nail TrimmerBuy on Amazon
3Dog Nail Clippers by Thunderpaws with Protective GuardBuy on Amazon
4Mars Large Nail ClipperBuy on Amazon
5Wahl Dog Claw Clipper Guillotine Style Stainless SteelBuy on Amazon
6Wahl Pet Nail Grinder Mains poweredBuy on Amazon
7Wahl Battery Nail GrinderBuy on Amazon
8Dremel Dog Nail Care SetBuy on Amazon
9Wahl EZ-Nail Pet Clipper and FileBuy on Amazon

Types of Dog Nail Clippers

Those new to the world of clipping dog’s nails may not realise that there are three main kinds of clippers available. In this next section, we will look at each individually and discuss the various advantages and disadvantages of using them to help you make the right choice about which to use with your own dog.

The three types of main dog clippers are:

  • Scissors
  • Guillotine
  • Grinder/Sander

Scissors (also known as Pliers)

Scissors or pliers are dog nail clippers that resemble scissors and consist of two extremely sharp stainless-steel blades that close together to snip the nails. This design provides you with a reasonably powerful grip and a lot of precision to make easy and quick snips. Although they are perfect for using on the nails of larger dogs, they are less effective when using on smaller dog’s nails. You may find some with a cut guard that can be adjusted to help with precise cuts, but this isn’t a standard feature.

Guillotine

Guillotine-style dog nail clippers feature a circular area where you slide the nail into and the blade slices through it, sliding from one side to the other in one clean cut. Much like a guillotine, hence the name. As they always cut in a very straight line, they are easy to aim with and control. However, one of the biggest flaws in guillotine-style clippers is the fact that they are annoying if you are trying to clip at an angle on a small section of nail.

A major positive though is that you will find most guillotine clippers are designed so the blade can be removed and replaced when it becomes dull and blunt. This obviously gives you a lot of mileage and good return on your investment. Although they are handy for most types of nails, they lack the versatility required when dealing with curved nails like dew claws or larger dogs, especially when a lot more power is required to make the cut. Another big issue with guillotine-style clippers is that there is a higher risk of crushing dog’s nails, rather than cutting it. Guillotine has to be really sharp, or else it will cause more damage than good.

Some come with an LED light, and even a magnifier, however, those often compromise on the quality of the blades.

Grinder/Sander

The grinder, also referred to as a sander, style of dog nail clippers is very different from the two above. As hinted by both commonly used names, they don’t clip or cut the nails, but instead, grind or sand them down. They feature a motor that spins the sanding/grinding element and are normally battery-operated, though some models feature an AC mains adaptor. A major drawback is that they can be a lot costlier and because they make a lot of noise (comparatively to the other options, at the very least) or create vibrations which many dogs can find uncomfortable. However, if you are nervous about cutting your dog’s nails and going too far, they are the safest option.

Some dogs will be fine with the noise and vibrations, but if yours isn’t, you can spend some time desensitising your dog to the new experience first, before you start using it fully on all of the nails. Once your dog is happy with the presence and noise of a nail grinder, it will be a breeze to keep your dog’s nails nice and trimmed. Grinders have the added benefit of not leaving the nails with sharp edges!

How to Trim A Dog’s Nails

There is obviously a right way and a wrong way to trim a dog’s nails and one part of the nail that you need to be aware of is the quick, this is pink live part that has blood vessels running through it.

You need to cut each nail from the underneath, rather than the top and downwards, so different to the way you would cut your own.

You start by sliding the opening of the clippers, over the end of the nail, making sure you are within the whiter toned part.

Then make a decisive and smooth squeeze on the handle of the clippers. To finish off the cut, you could file it down a little or you could simply leave it for the dog to wear it down and smooth it off naturally.

Tips and Hints

  • You now know about the different types of nail clippers available and how best to cut nails. To help ensure you’re nail clipping sessions are a success, we’ve put together a brief list of hints and tips.
  • Get all equipment ready before you start – the last thing you want to do is run around trying to find something to treat an accidental cut with.
  • Use treats to encourage your dog to sit nicely for your session, as it will help him/her to associate it with something good rather than something stressful.
  • Always cut less off than you intend – although you may be tempted to cut off as much as you think is necessary to get it over and done with quickly, this may lead to an unfortunate accident and catching the quick. It’s better to work gradually down the nail, snipping at little bits at a time.
  • If you have any doubts, have a vet or professional dog groomer show you how to do it properly the first time, before trying yourself.

Best Dog Nail Clippers – Our Top 9

1. Professional Dog Claw Clippers With Washbag

Professional Dog Claw Clippers With Washbag - Stainless Steel Nail Cutters For Pets with Safety Lock These stainless steel pet nail cutters are a combined effort of two veterinary surgeons with 30 years experience. Hugely popular and reasonably priced, these clippers are designed to cut the nails of all sizes of dogs.

The handles are a distinct green, non-slip rubber coated to not only not cause havoc with your hands but also make sure your hand doesn’t slip when exerting pressure on larger nails.

These are pliers (scissor) type nail cutters, and they’ve added a safety guard to prevent you from cutting too deep on the dogs nail. The stainless steel also means it should stay sharp for a very long time.

These are genuinely great clippers – and we can see why a lot of professionals use them. If this is your first time using these types of cutters, be warned that the first few “snap” noises when they close together can be a little alarming. As a human, you’ll adjust – but if you find these types of clippers upset your dog, you may want to look for an alternative design.

Also, as with most pliers (dog or otherwise) be careful with that sudden ‘snap’ that comes when the nail cuts and the handles close – pinching your own skin is never any fun (I know from painful experience).

2. SAFARI Professional Stainless Steel Nail Trimmer

Safari Professional Large Nail Trimmer For Dogs Safari offers a more traditional style of trimmer, and as such it’s best to read the instructions before you start if you’ve not had experience cutting dogs nails before.

These dog toenail clippers are made from stainless steel and are long-lasting as well as very sharp.

There’s not much else to add about these trimmers, lots of people use them – they’re basic but they do the job well.

If your dog is happy to have their claws cut, these will do a great dog. We probably wouldn’t recommend them for large breeds where the nails are a lot thicker – but for small and medium breeds – they’re great.

3. Dog Nail Clippers by Thunderpaws with Protective Guard

Professional-Grade Dog Nail Clippers and Trimmers by Thunderpaws with Protective Guard, Safety Lock and Nail File - Suitable for Medium and Large Breeds Thunderpaws possibly makes the most popular nail clippers on the market. It’s an obvious contender for the top spot, only beaten by our personal experiences of using the other two on the list. But, if you love the brand, these are a great choice for your dog.

These clippers come in different sizes depending on your dog (small-medium or medium-large). They’re stainless steel and sharp straight out of the box.

The handles are non-slip, using a rubber material for a better and more comfortable grip.

The nail guard prevents you from “over trimming” the nail, so saves accidentally hurting your dog as you clip.

I do love these clippers, but I’ve struggled a little to use them in the past as the top does tend to make seeing the claw a little difficult. I like the spring action however which prevents an overly dramatic “click” when cutting thick nails.

Overall, a sound choice and one many dog owners and professionals will happily recommend.

4. Mars Large Nail Clipper

Preview Product Rating
Mars Large Nail Clipper Mars Large Nail Clipper 1 Reviews

These are great for giant breeds, like Great Danes.

5. Wahl Dog Claw Clipper Guillotine Style Stainless Steel

6. Wahl Pet Nail Grinder Mains powered

Preview Product Rating
Wahl Pet Nail Grinder, Blue Wahl Pet Nail Grinder, Blue 501 Reviews

7. Wahl Battery Nail Grinder

Preview Product Rating
Wahl Battery Nail Grinder Wahl Battery Nail Grinder 501 Reviews

8. Dremel Dog Nail Care Set

9. Wahl EZ-Nail Pet Clipper and File

Preview Product Rating
Wahl EZ-Nail Pet Clipper and File Wahl EZ-Nail Pet Clipper and File 9 Reviews

Check out our other grooming hints and tips in our health and grooming section.

Great Dane

Not Danish, Dane is the other half of Collar & Harness. Having worked in the technology sector for many years - he now immerses himself in all things dogs. Writes about subjects ranging from dog food to canine psychology with a little bit of pup technology thrown in. Dane has been writing for nearly 15 years on the topics he loves. Lives in London.

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