How Do I Choose the Best Dog Toenail Clippers?

Rhonda Rivera

Choosing the best dog toenail clippers depends on how well-behaved your dog is when getting its claws clipped and the length of its claws. Scissor clippers are used to clip very long toenails, and may not be required for most dogs. Guillotine trimmers are for nails of normal length, and are usually better accepted by dogs who are scared of clippers. Grinders are battery-operated devices that grind away at the claw, dulling it. Additionally, you can also take your pet to a professional groomer who has experience clipping dog claws.

There are various types of dog nail clippers.
There are various types of dog nail clippers.

Scissor clippers are most often used on claws that have curled inwards toward the dog’s foot pad. This problem tends to occur with the dew claw, which looks like the dog’s thumb. The dew claw does not touch the ground as often as the rest of its claws, so it is not worn down as much. Over time, all claws can start to curl toward the pad, however, and cause the dog pain in severe cases of neglect. You do not need a scissor clipper unless your dog has this problem with its dew claws.

Clipper selection can depend on how well behaved the dog is during toenail clipping.
Clipper selection can depend on how well behaved the dog is during toenail clipping.

Guillotine clippers are usually the easiest kind of dog toenail clippers to use. The dog’s toenails go through a small loop in the tool, and when the handle is squeezed shut, the toenail is clipped as if in a guillotine. Many dogs find this much less traumatic than a scissor clipper, and it is safer for owners to operate without accidentally cutting their dogs.

Another of the types of dog toenail clippers is a grinder, which literally grinds away at the nail until its the proper length. Compared to scissor or guillotine dog toenail clippers, grinders are a newer invention. Some dogs are more tolerant of these clippers than any other. This kind of clipper has the added benefit of leaving the dog’s nails smooth rather than jagged and sharp. For dogs that have a habit of jumping on people, this can mean the difference between bleeding scratches and scars and the occasional red mark from being jumped on.

The best method of trimming dog toenails depends a lot on the dog. Some people have difficult dogs who are too afraid to have their claws clipped. Professional groomers can come in handy in this case because they are used to dealing with scared pets. They can trim claws faster and safer than many dog owners while holding the dog in the perfect spot to keep it from wiggling away.

Nail clipping is often best left to veterinarians or pet groomers.
Nail clipping is often best left to veterinarians or pet groomers.

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Discussion Comments


@literally45-- I agree with you, one has to be very careful and gentle while clipping a dog's toenails. If the clippers are the right size for the dog, this shouldn't be an issue. They usually come in small, medium and large sizes for different sized dogs.


@serenesurface-- Yea, if your dog is not used to have her nails taken care of, you need a clipper that's quiet and fast so that the process will be over before she starts getting upset.

A regular dog toenail clipper with a round, spaced blade should work well. Dogs have round and very thick nails so the blades need to be sharp, durable and shaped accordingly. I recommend getting a mid-priced clipper. The cheaper ones may not be durable enough.

Also regardless of what type of clipper you use, never get too close to the nail bed. Before clipping your dog's nails, always observe the color of the nails and never get close to the area that's pink. Otherwise, you might clip too deep and cause her nails to bleed. Not only will she be in pain, but she also won't trust you with her nails again.


We recently bought a toenail grinder for our dog and we are not very happy with it. First of all, it was difficult to keep our dog in place long enough to grind each nail. The grinder is kind of slow and my dogs nails are long. My dog could not sit still long enough for us to grind her nails half way. The sound of the grinder also scared her. I don't think we're going to be using the grinder again. I'm going to go shopping for a regular pet clipper which I think will be better.

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