Nail care in dogs is very important and it starts with owning the best dog nail clippers you can afford, or even nail grinders if you feel more comfortable using these. Some people will trim their dog’s nails every week but having a monthly routine should be enough. Or, whenever that tapping sound can be heard when your dog walks around your home.
According to our research and reviews, the best dog nail clippers and grinders are the following:
- PetSpy Nail Clippers — plier-style nail clippers for dogs
- Dremel Nail Grinder — best dog nail grinder
- Resco Original Professional Pet Claw Clippers — guillotine-style claw clippers for dogs
- Andis Dog Nail Clippers — scissor-style nail clippers for dogs
- FURminator Nail Grinder — nail grinder with excellent value for money
Make sure you are reading our below reviews of each of the abovementioned nail clippers and grinders for dogs. Also find below our free guide on what kind of dog nail clippers to use depending on your dog, experience, and many more factors.
Importance of Clipping Dog Nails
Whether your dog goes around your couch and accidentally rips the fabric, or whether he or she has a new shirt and tears it apart, it’s usually the fault of long dog nails, which need to be trimmed. In fact, these long nails may also hurt the dog in some way because they may curl back into your dog’s paws when they become too long.
How often should I clip my dog’s nails?
Your dog’s nails may need some trimming if you hear tapping sounds when your dog walks or lands on any concrete floor or area. On average, a monthly clipping routine is the most ideal schedule to follow.
What is the quick?
The quick is the part of the dog’s nail that you don’t want to cut because it will hurt a lot due to the blood vessels. It’s like cutting the pink part of your own nails – only from a dog’s experience.
Like humans, the quick can also be identified with a white area surrounding the pink part, which helps you to avoid that area as much as possible. You can do this by only cutting small bits at a time.
How to stop dog nail bleeding?
Don’t panic when you accidentally cut the quick and let blood out – you can use powdered cornstarch to stop the bleeding. It will be easier to apply it in small amounts. Other remedies aside from cornstarch maybe flour, a soap bar, baking soda, or if you have some, use styptic powder or a styptic pencil.
To prevent this kind of scenario, always clip your dog’s nails in a bright room or outdoors. Moreover, you should cut with the clipper in a parallel motion so it keeps the quick safe.
Top 5 Best Dog Nail Clippers and Grinders
Unlike hair clippers for dogs where prices are very often above $100 or $200 dollars, you can easily get the best dog nail clippers for less than $30. It’s not worth going for a $4 tool that will break the nail instead of cutting through it sharply.
In order for you to make the right pick for you, we’ve reviewed the best nail clippers for pets below but also wrote a complete how-to for newcomers in the world of dog grooming.
1. PetSpy Nail Clippers
— Best Plier-Style Dog Nail Clippers
Beloved by over a thousand of happy customers who took the time to write a review, the PetSpy Nail Clippers are a low-budget solution best suited for medium to large dogs (blue color.) There is also a smaller size (pink color) for cats and toy breeds. These nail pliers are amongst the top bestsellers on famous e-commerce websites for nail care equipment for pets. And there are good reasons for that!
We mentioned the price already, but you will also find a quick guard to avoid cutting too much. And these are also delivered with a nail trimmer to give that final polish to your dog’s pedicure! The blades are sharp and will cut easily with no effort even through the thickest nails, while the handles boast an ergonomic shape to avoid hand fatigue if the grooming sessions take a bit of time.
If you are worried about the product quality, worry no more! There is a lifetime warranty coming with it.
2. Dremel Nail Grinder
— Best Nail Grinder For Dogs
Electric nail grinders for pets usually cost double cheaper manual options, but they do the job exceptionally well if you have a medium-to-giant dog. For small breeds, it’s a bit of an overkill, though. It is made of high-density plastic and benefits from all the engineering of a world-leading brand like Dremel.
The Dremel Pet Nail Grooming Tool is the bestselling electric dog nail grinder and also one of the priciest but it’s worth every single penny:
- two speeds, 6,500 and 13,000 RPM, so you can adapt to the animal’s stress level (and how much work there is to do)
- cordless and very lightweight to allow the handler to work freely with no constraint
- safe 60-grit drums and sanding bands to allow for a quick, humane, and gentle trim of your pet’s nails
- 4.8V battery to offer enough power to go through a smooth cut but not too much to risk cutting too much too fast!
There aren’t many downsides to this Dremel grinder especially if you are not at ease using a blade-based nail trimmer. These are a lot less intrusive and dangerous but it’s also costing a little more.
3. Resco Original Professional Pet Claw Clippers
— Best Guillotine Dog Nail Clippers
One of the most iconic American brands of nail clippers, Resco, is manufacturing people-pleasing guillotine-style nail clippers for pets of all shapes and sizes. As stated on their website, Resco actually came up with the guillotine-style nail trimmer in the 1930s. So let’s assume they know what they are doing… They aren’t selling yet another cheap import from dubious factories in dubious parts of the World.
These mini guillotines come in three different sizes (tiny, regular and large) and various colors, or the original chrome plating. Speaking of which, a chrome plating adds in durability, it’s not here to look pretty but to last for years. And if you doubt it, Resco offers a lifetime warranty. Blades are replaceable and very cheap but the blade included should last you for a long long time anyway.
Price-wise, they aren’t the cheapest nail clippers for dogs but they are just above the $10-mark which is definitely worth the investment.
4. Andis Nail Clippers
— Best Scissor-Style Nail Clippers
Ergonomy is crucial when working with small animals like cats, puppies, and small breeds. Regular tools don’t give the groomer the most suitable grip to allow clean and efficient work. H&H came up with huge handles that make the whole claw care grooming a piece of cake. Such a relatively small improvement provides such a big upside.
Price-wise, Andis nail clippers are very low at less than $10 but they aren’t adapted to medium or large dogs with thicker nails. The blades are perfect for small animals but wouldn’t offer a clean enough cut for bigger dogs. Plus, with a scissor-style, we all know the movement and it’s very easy to manipulate them for maximum safety.
The blades and tip are rounded and conceived to be nail clippers, not the kind of scissors that can also trim dog claws. I wouldn’t use these for precision work but if your pet’s nails are ostensibly long, they are great for that first big trim. Use an electronic dog nail grinder or a nail file to polish the last millimeter(s).
5. FURminator Nail Grinder
— Value-For-Money Dog Nail Clippers
FURminator is a company benefiting from huge brand-awareness in the world of cats and dogs. Their de-shedding brush is their main success but their nail grinder is nothing to be forgotten, quite the contrary. It boasts a high-power rotary motor allowing for a very smooth trim, as well as a very practical led light to give you perfect visibility for precision work.
Grinding bands and batteries are included and for those who take time doing the whole nail cutting process, it’s very lightweight and comfortable to use. Unlike the more expensive Dremel, the FURminator nail grinder has only one speed but it’s not much of a big deal.
If you can afford the extra $10, go for the Dremel but if you really want to keep costs down, this FURminator nail grinder will do the job without any problem whatsoever.
How To Cut Dog Nails Safely
Here are the steps you need to follow when cutting your dog’s nails:
Luminous Location — As we mentioned above, always clip your dog in a bright room so you can see the details of your dog’s nails. It is also ideal to do it outside so your dog has more room to relax. An anxious dog is clearly not a good dog to clip, because excessive wiggling and whining might lead to potential accidents.
Stay Calm — Make sure you and your dog both stay calm at all times, so you can reassure your dog that there’s nothing wrong with clipping. If you think outdoors would be too hot, then you can either stay indoors in a bright and ventilated room or use an outdoor fan.
Right Grip — While holding your dog’s paws, make sure the grip is not too tight and not too loose either. Having it too tight will make your pet feel uncomfortable but don’t make it such that you’ll lose your dog’s grip.
Keep the Fur Away — Your dog’s paw fur can get in the way of your clipping session. You can either pull it back or trim it with any kind of safety scissors or dog clippers. Fur can also make your clipper dull so it’s not a good idea to cut the fur with your clipper.
Locate the White and the Quick — Identify the quick, which is the red-pink area, as we mentioned before, surrounded by the white area. It’s easier to see this if your dog has white nails. However, take extra caution if your dog has black nails, and cut as little as possible.
Start Clipping — Make sure you clip the nails gently and watch for the quick. As we mentioned above, it’s a good idea to position the clipper in a parallel way so you won’t accidentally clip too close to the nail’s “quick” and cause bleeding. Aside from their regular nails, the dewclaw, which lies on their front paws, may also need some trimming. It is also otherwise known as a grooming nail which is also important for your dog’s hygienic routine.
Use Treats to Help with Training — Dogs can get traumatic experiences from clipping, especially if you’ve accidentally messed up on the quick. To keep clipping as a positive practice or routine for your dog, make sure you give treats after clipping. The importance of rewarding your dog after a meticulous (and difficult) task helps keep your dog out of anxiety and fear. You can try healthy treats such as fruit slices or anything that your dog really likes.
Clipping Dog Nails Using a Grinder — Most people believe using a grinder would be an easier way to trim your dog’s claws without getting those nasty quick accidents that result in bleeding. Grinders come in both battery-operated and corded versions, but it will be more advisable to start with the cordless one to avoid accidents. Grinding is basically like nail filing but made specifically for dog’s nails.
The 4 Different Types of Dog Nail Clippers
If you are new to home grooming your pet, you will quickly realize that there are different types of nail clippers for dogs and each kind has its pros and cons. Three of them are manual (guillotine, scissors, and pliers) while one kind is electric (grinders.)
So if you are wondering what is the best type of claw trimmers for dogs, here are individual summaries for each type.
Scissor-style nail clippers
The scissor-type nail clipper for dogs is widely used by pet owners due to its availability and its straightforward design. Looking like a pair of scissors, it only differs because of the special notch on the tip of the blades that are meant for clipping your dog’s nails.
Such nail clippers are:
- Good for small dogs – most of them are small and ideal for small breeds because of their size and their cutting power. This generally means if your dog is big then you should pick another clipper type.
- Easy to hold – the nail clipper is usually made of lightweight material so it is great for beginners to hold on to, which makes dog nail clipping a breeze. Other dog clipper types can be a bit heavy which can cause user fatigue.
- Widely available – they are not only cheap but are also available in most pet stores, which makes them easily accessible and replaceable when broken or dull.
Plier-style nail clippers
Nail clippers of this simple type are the ones you easily find in most pet stores thanks to their beginner-level design, convenience, and simple features. Looking like a pair of pliers, this nail clipper gives you a better view of the nail as you cut the excess off from your dog’s paws and feet.
Most nail clippers like this have a nail guard so you don’t have to worry too much about accidentally cutting the quick. In addition to that, this kind of nail clipper is also among the cheapest, so it’s a good starter if you’re on a tight budget. They are, however, a bit pricier than scissor-style clippers.
These nail clippers are ideal when:
- Your dog has thick nails – this nail clipper puts a lot more power to cutting because of the force applied from the pliers-style mechanism of this clipper.
- You’re a beginner at trimming nails – you can easily see the nail in full detail because there won’t be anything blocking the way with the design of the clipper’s trimming head.
- You have a large dog breed – most large dogs have thicker nails to trim, hence you will find it an ideal clipper to use for them.
Guillotine-style nail clippers
Resembling more like human nail cutters or groomers for the cutting mechanism part, the guillotine-style nail clippers are, as the name implies, similar to the guillotine (that chops heads off or slices vegetables). The mechanism involves two blades that close in to cut the nail when you squeeze the handle of the clipper.
This kind of claw clippers is ideal for:
- Professional dog grooming – dog owners who are experienced with nail grooming can find this a good tool to use. It is not advisable if you’re not too familiar with dog nail clipping because it can hurt the dog’s quick because of the lack of view due to the blade design.
- Dogs with arthritis – if your dog has hand or paw pain then this is a good choice because of its easy and smooth clipping mechanism.
- Dogs with softer or thinner nails – thicker nails can potentially break the clipper itself, so it is best to use it on dogs with thin nails. However, there exists a couple of guillotine-style clippers for thick-nailed dogs as well.
Electric nail grinders
Like those industrial grinders, an electric nail grinder can be specifically used for caring for a dog’s nails by acting like sandpaper or a nail file. Indeed, nail grinders trim dog nails in a slower but safer way. Be careful though, as nails trimmed with grinders can get a bit hot, so ensure you only trim in small second-short intervals to avoid your pet experiencing any discomfort.
Dog nail grinders are ideal when:
- You want to avoid cutting the quick – if you want an ultimately safe dog nail clipper then this is a good choice as it can help you avoid nail cutting accidents altogether. The gentle approach is what gives you more chances to keep out of the quick zone.
- You want to give a smooth finish to your dog’s nails – compared to regular clippers, electric nail grinders can also smoothen the nails of your dog, which can also help them to less likely injure themselves or rip your furniture’s fabrics.
- You have a dog with black nails – pet owners who have dogs with black nails have the problem of identifying where the quick is. By using an electric nail grinder, it helps them reduce the chance of hitting the danger zone.
It is overall an option most inexperienced dog owners decide to use as there is no ‘cutting’ involved, just polishing and filing. And it is indeed a humane way of clipping dog nails, just like the other ones.
Choosing the Best Nail Clippers For Dogs
Here are some key points to know when choosing the best dog nail clipper.
Safety First (Especially for Beginners) — A dog nail clipper should have a nail guard, especially if it’s a pliers type or scissor-type clipper. Most of them usually have a metal nail guard, which is also called a safety stop bar. This safety mechanism will help pet owners, especially beginners, to clip dog nails more safely without getting into the quick.
Size of Dog Nail Clippers — As we mentioned above, dog clippers can be of different types and the size can play a difference, depending on your dog and claws’ size, especially the paw size and nail thickness. Most scissor-type clippers are small so they can be used for puppies while pliers and guillotine clippers are great for medium to large dog breeds.
Comfortable Handles — The handle of a dog nail clipper should be soft enough so that you won’t get tired of handling it for long hours. Cutting your dog’s nails can be a long, hard, and meticulous task and this is why you need a soft grip for the clipper.
Noise Levels (for Grinders) — If you ever choose a grinder for a dog nail clipper then you should consider the noise level. The sound of the grinder can be enough to startle or cause anxiety to your dog, so make sure the noise level is not very alarming for your pet.
The sharpness of the Blades — Having dull blades on any cutting tool, especially a nail clipper for dogs, can be dangerous because it can lead to potential accidents due to the bounce-back effect. Always ensure that the blades on your dog’s nail clipper are sharp. They can usually be sharpened with any sharpening tool, but most clippers made with stainless steel material need less sharpening.
Blade Thickness — Ranging from 3 to 5 mm (excluding grinder-types), it is also important to look at the blade thickness, which can help you get the job done faster, especially for dogs with nails that grow faster than usual. Also, take note that the blade thickness can also play a part in your dog breed’s size. Having blades that are too thin for a big dog can cause it to break apart.
Right Budget — Last but not least, always consider your budget if you want the ideal dog nail clipper for your needs. Among the cheapest to buy are the scissor, pliers type, and guillotine type while grinders are generally more expensive.
Best Dog Nail Clippers & Grinders: FAQ
After reading this article, we are sure your doubts are clear, and all your questions have been answered already. But, this section of the article is solely dedicated to answering questions you probably did not ask but are frequently asked.
Nail grinder and clipper are both helpful when it comes to maintaining your dog’s nails. The dog nail grinder gives a smoother finish compared to nail clippers and can work well with thick nails. But you can still use nail clippers especially if you’re in a hurry and need to cut a small portion of your dog’s nail.
In some ways, dog nail grinders have a lesser chance to hit the quick of your dog nails. Most owners choose nail grinders because it’s great for dogs with dark nails and is slower so you’ll be able to control them and prevent harming your dog. The only downside is that the noise and sensation of grinding can cause stress to your dogs.
Generally, most dogs need to have their nails trimmed every 1 to 2 months. You can easily notice if your dog needs a nail cut when you hear clicking on the floor when they walk. This means that their nails are longer and are touching the ground.
The suggested angle of experts when clipping your dog’s nails is at 45-degree. Make sure not to cut it too short to prevent bleeding. Also, your clipper should stay below the “quick”, for light-colored nails, you can easily see this – the red (nerves and vessels) part inside your dog’s claws.
Dog nail clipper guards are used to assist your control when using the clipper. Most nail clippers have a spring in the middle, this will keep your grip stronger and will prevent accidental cuts. Once you put force in clipping your dog’s nail, the spring will push outward for an easier release.
To maintain your dog physically healthy, you need to make sure that you’ll give time to their grooming sessions like trimming their fur, brushing their teeth, and clipping their nails. Remember, proper hygiene can also have an impact on your dog’s overall health and can prevent serious infections that can harm them.