Though dogs are notorious for disliking getting their nails trimmed, regular nail trims are a key part of keeping your dog properly groomed and their paws, toes, and nails as healthy as possible. Not properly maintaining your dog’s nail length is not only detrimental to their health but potentially damaging to your home as well. And since you shouldn’t use your own personal nail clippers on your dog’s feet, investing in a good pair of dog nail trimmers is absolutely worth it.
Buying Guide for Dog Nail Trimmers
Why buy dog nail trimmers?
If your dog’s nails get too long, it can become uncomfortable, sometimes even impossible, for them to walk on hard surfaces. Long nails are also more likely to catch in carpeting or other fabrics, putting them at a higher risk of being torn off and damaging your belongings to boot. Not to mention your dog may accidentally scratch or cut you or your family members or guests.
While you can take your dog to a professional nail trimmer, you’ll save yourself a lot of money in both the short and long run if you learn how to do it yourself at home whenever the need arises. But in order to do so, you’ll need to invest in a high-quality trimmer or clipper that is designed to keep your pet safe. Good, sturdy trimmers, even battery-operated ones, are relatively inexpensive and should last a long time. If you really don’t feel comfortable trimming your dog’s nails yourself, there are also dog nail grinders. These sand down rather than cut your dog’s nails, offering a bit more control, though they’ll take a bit longer to achieve the same results.
What should you look for in dog nail trimmers?
- Materials: To ensure you’re giving your dog the safest, most precise nail trimming, you should invest in a professional-grade clipper. A stainless steel blade is one key indicator of a high-quality clipper. Stainless steel blades are designed to be razor-sharp, helping you quickly cut through nails with very little effort. Your clipper should also come with handles that are coated in a nonslip solution to ensure that you’ll have complete control over the device throughout the entirety of the trimming process.
- Safety Measures: When it comes to choosing the right nail clippers, your dog’s safety should be of the utmost importance. Running through the core of each nail is the quick: a bloodline that supplies blood and nerves to the nail. When you cut off too much of your dog’s nail, the quick will start to bleed and cause your dog pain. Because of this, you should look for clippers that come with a nail safety guard. Guards are designed to prevent you from cutting off too much of your dog’s nails, ensuring that you do no damage and keep your dog’s pedicure pain-free. Trimmers with a light attachment can also be helpful since they provide extra illumination and often magnify and highlight where the bloodline is in the nail.
- Size: Different breeds of dogs have very different sized paws, toes, and nails. If you have a very small dog or puppy, some clippers might be too big to be safe or effective for their nails, while other clippers may not be big enough for extra-large breeds. Most products will let you know in the listing of any size restrictions. If you want to be truly careful, look for electric models that come with different port sizes for different sized dogs; this is also handy if you own more than one dog and there’s a big size difference between them.
Why can’t you use regular human nail clippers for your dog? Or a file?
Dogs’ nails are shaped differently than ours. They’re narrower, tougher, curved, and longer, while ours are wide, flat, shorter, and break much easier. Nail clippers for manicures or pedicures are thus flat to cut human nails. Since they’re the wrong shape, nail clippers for humans are less effective, less likely to make a clean cut, and even run the risk of hurting or damaging your dog’s nails. Thus, it’s absolutely worth your while to invest in special nail clippers for your canine companion. The one piece of good news is that the same types of clippers are effective on both dogs and cats, so you don’t have to buy two separate types of trimmers if you own both.
Filing your dog’s nails can be a viable alternative to clipping their nails in some cases, especially if your pup gets nervous when the nail trimmer comes out. That said, filing will take a much longer time than clipping nails. You may have a hard time getting your pup to sit still while you file their nails, so clippers or electric dog nail grinders are much more efficient overall.
Our Picks for the Most Effective Dog Nail Trimmers
Casfuy Electric Dog Nail Grinder
If your dog freaks out at the sight and sound of nail clippers, get this rechargeable electric nail grinder instead.
Pros: If you prefer filing your dog’s nails to clipping them but can’t always get them to hold still for long enough, consider this dog nail grinder. It works exactly like a file but operates much faster and more efficiently, with less effort on your part. This model is battery operated, so you can sand your dog’s nails wherever and whenever. And the battery is rechargeable, so you won’t constantly have to buy new ones. This grinder is designed to work on dogs of all sizes and breeds, thanks to the three sizing ports and two operating speeds.
Cons: Since this nail grinder sands down your dog’s nails, be aware that it’ll create nail dust that gets all over the place when in use. You may want to wear a mask and glasses when operating, especially if you have asthma or lung issues. This tool may work faster than a file but still likely take longer than cutting. And while this nail grinder isn’t ridiculously expensive, it does cost more than standard dog nail clippers.
Bottom Line: If your dog becomes a nervous wreck when the clippers come out, an electric nail grinder like this can be a great alternative. It safely sands their nails down the way a file does, but in a much quicker and more efficient fashion, so your pup doesn’t have to hold still for nearly as long.
BOSHEL Dog Nail Clippers and Trimmer
These classic dog nail clippers feature a nonslip handle and a built-in nail file for control.
Pros: Strong, sharp blades are a key component of good dog nail clippers, and the stainless steel blades of this model allow you to make clean and efficient cuts. Between the blades is a safety guard that helps protect against cutting nails too short and can be moved out of your way as needed. There’s also a locking switch to ensure safe storage when the clippers aren’t in use. The makers of these clippers didn’t neglect the handle, either. The grip is comfortable to the touch, ergonomically designed, and nonslip, so they’ll feel both comfy and secure in your hands. As a bonus, these clippers come with a nail file built-in to handle should your dog get nervous about the clippers or if you need to further smooth out their nails post-cut.
Cons: As much peace of mind as the safety guard may give you, be aware that nail clippings may get stuck in it and can be quite hard to remove. And if your dog is a larger breed, these clippers may not be big enough to properly cut his or her nails.
Bottom Line: These nail clippers are designed with your pet’s safety in mind. They’re strong and sharp enough for smooth, clean cuts with the added bonus of a built-in safety guard and an easy-to-grip handle to keep your hands comfortable and steady.
Casfuy Dog Nail Grinder with 2 LED Lights
This electric nail grinder comes equipped with two small lights to help avoid over-grinding your dog's nails.
Pros: You don’t have to do much besides turning it on and holding it against your dog’s nails. It’s cordless and portable for your convenience, with a rechargeable battery that lasts up to two hours on a single charge. It offers two different speed options with three ports that allow you to adjust between three different sizes to suit different breeds. But where this nail grinder really stands out is in the way it lights up. Its built-in LED lights help to showcase veins and nerves in a dog’s nails, so you don’t lose track of them and grind onto them by mistake.
Cons: This nail grinder is more expensive than most clippers, as is generally the case with electric nail trimmers. It will create messy nail dust. And be extra careful if your pup has long foot hair; there is the risk that it might get tangled in the grinder’s head.
Bottom Line: This is another excellent cordless electric dog nail grinder that presents a handy alternative to clippers or files. The added bonus of the two small, built-in LED lights allows you to illuminate your dog’s nails and highlight the sensitive areas to ensure you don’t sand them by accident.
Allstar Innovations PetiCare LED Light Pet Nail Clipper
These dog nail clippers feature a built-in magnifying LED light that doubles as a nail trapper for easier cleanup.
Pros: If you’re super nervous about trimming your dog’s nails, you’ll find these clippers incredibly reassuring to use. The LED lights illuminate light-colored nails so that you can better see your dog’s delicate bloodline; if clipping dark nails, make sure you position the lights head-on in order to spot where the bloodline begins. The magnification lens also doubles as a nail trapper for easier, faster cleanup. This clipper also comes with a bonus replacement blade to give you a little extra bang for your buck.
Cons: The handles could get stuck during use, which will slow down your progress. And the blade, while strong, doesn’t offer the smoothest cut on the market; you may find your dog’s nails need filing after their trim.
Bottom Line: Some extra light helps when carefully clipping your dog’s nails. Not only does this trimmer provide four bright LED lights—twice as many as most light-up dog nail clippers—but it also magnifies your targeted area for an even more superior view.
Resco Deluxe Dog and Cat Nail Clippers
Sturdy and uniquely designed, these nail clippers are available in two different sizes to better suit different dog breeds.
Pros: While they still operate in the guillotine style that’s most effective for cutting dogs’ nails, these clippers do have a unique blade design that helps prevent your dog’s nails from twisting while cutting. These clippers are also notable for their two size options. Both sizes can be purchased as part of a larger grooming kit that comes with extra useful accessories for nail trimming sessions. And even the bigger-sized clippers are slim and not bulky, so they shouldn’t cause your hands and wrists discomfort.
Cons: Though not quite as expensive as an electric trimmer, these clippers are a little bit pricier as compared to other manual models. And while the rubber grips are nice and comfy, they aren’t super secure and may slide slide off, so considering gluing or otherwise adhering them in place.
Bottom Line: Finding nail clippers for bigger dogs with thicker nails can be tricky, but this pair comes in a size option specifically designed for larger breeds. And even though the extra clipper is meant for extra-large dogs, it’s still plenty slim and compact, so you won’t have issues carrying or holding it, even if you have small hands.
All dog owners should have at least one pair of dog nail trimmers to help properly care for their furry friend’s feet. Your home, your family, and your guests will thank you for it, even if your dog doesn’t when the clippers come out.