Our dogs nails grow in a similar way to ours, in that they grow continually. So unless your dog is wearing them down naturally by walking on hard or uneven surfaces, it is likely that they will need to be trimmed at some point.
If you want to trim them at home then you may want to know what the best dog nail clippers are for both you and your dog.
Why clip your dog’s nails?
If your dog’s nails get too long it can cause a lot of discomfort. It’s a bit like having too long toenails constantly pressing into the ends of your shoes.
Similarly, dogs experience pressure when their nails are so long that they constantly touch the ground when they stand. This pressure can create painful feet and in some cases, cause problems with their toes as they twist to try to compensate for the length of the nail.
Not only that, long nails are prone to splitting and that can lead to painful infections. More importantly though, long nails can affect the posture of your dog.
This is because long nails cause the bones in the foot to flatten therefore altering the angle of the foot and leg each time the dog stands or walks. It’s a little like constantly wearing high heels, eventually it affects our posture and natural alignment of our leg bones.
What’s more, this altered angle of the bones can lead to joint pain, stress and arthritis and if the natural alignment of the dog is altered, it can lead to more serious issues. Also, if your dog’s nails are too long, your dog will be less steady on its feet. In turn this will reduce the dog’s ability to steady themselves on uneven terrain which can lead to injuries.
How long should dog nails be?
As a general rule, your dog’s nails should not touch the ground when your dog is standing. This means that their nails should not protrude over their pads. If you hear your dog’s nails clicking when your dog is walking on hard floors, then they probably need a trim.
The structure of the nail
A dog’s nail has a hard outer casing and a soft centre. This soft centre is known as the ‘quick’. The quick contains the nerve and blood cells. Think of the quick being like your finger, and the outer shell like the fingernail.
People are often concerned about trimming their dog’s nails at home in case they cut the quick. It can and does happen even with professional groomers. Fortunately, there are ways to help prevent it and manage it if it does happen.
Clipping your dog’s nails at home
It is absolutely possible to clip your dog’s nails at home. However, if you are nervous or it’s your first attempt at doing it you may find it easier to get them done professionally by your vet or a groomer first. Ask if you can watch so that you have a better idea of what you are aiming for.
You will need
- Nail clippers
- Styptic stick or powder
- Hold your dog’s paw steady but gently. You may find it easier to get your dog to lay on its side or have someone help you to hold your dog.
- Find the quick. This is easy to see on a dog with light coloured nails, it is red. If you have a dog with dark or black claws it can be much harder to find. You can try shining a torch behind the nail but otherwise just trim the nail a tiny bit at a time. Ideally, you are aiming to trim the nail to within two to four millimetres of the quick.
- Trim around, not across the quick.
- If you start to squeeze and the nail feels spongy, stop. It’s a sign that you may be cutting the quick.
- If you do cut the quick, don’t panic, it will bleed and your dog may yelp but hold a tissue to it for a few minutes and if that doesn’t stop the bleeding use the Styptic stick or powder. If you don’t have either you can use ordinary flour.
- If it continues to bleed after ten minutes then call your vet.
- As with call good manicures, file the nails to a smooth finish.
This is a great video that explains exactly what you are aiming for
Things to consider
If your dog has not had their nails clipped before, or if this is your first attempt to do so, here are a few things to consider:
- Many dogs don’t enjoy having their nails trimmed
- Unless your dog is completely relaxed when you touch their paws, they are more likely to move during the trim
- Walk your dog before a trim so that they are more relaxed
- Take time to inspect your dogs feet and pads
- Always use sharp clippers
- If you aren’t comfortable doing it yourself, get your vet or groomer to do it for you
Best dog nail clippers
If you are going to cut your dog’s nails at home then you need the best tool for the job. Choosing the best trimmers for your dog can be time consuming and confusing so we’ve done the hard work for you. There are several types of nails clippers to consider:
- Guillotine style
- Pliers style
- Scissor style
We’ve focused on the Guillotine and Pliers style as they are the most popular and for good reason.
Guillotine style clippers have a hole that you place your dog’s nail into. When the handles are squeezed a blade slides across the hole cutting off the excess nail. They are very easy to use, but the blade needs to be replaced regularly, and they may not as effective on larger dog’s nails.
As the name suggests they are very like a pair of pliers, but with a sharp cutting edge. They usually have a nail guard to prevent the nail from going too far. They come in a variety of sizes so can be used on all types of dogs.
We’ve picked 3 of each from the budget, mid range and top of the range clippers. We’ve looked at ease of use, durability and safety, so here’s our quick view but if you want more information then read on.
- Manufactured from durable, rust resistant stainless steel
- Guillotine, sprung cutting action for precise clipping and ease of use
- Strong claw clipper suitable for small, medium and large dogs and other animals
You can’t really go wrong with these basic clippers. Made from stainless steel, easy to clean and at a budget price. Wahl have a long history in providing great quality grooming products for both humans and animals.
- Simple, no-nonsense design
- Easy to clean
- Spring action for ease of use
- Slippery in hand
- Difficult to cut large dog’s nails cleanly
- Not very robust
JW have a good pedigree in providing well made products for dogs and dog parents. With over 50 years experience they are a name that can be trusted. With an ergonomic design these clippers provide a better and more comfortable grip.
- Ergonomic grip
- Non slip handle
- Cutting motion is a bit rough
- Difficult to cut large dog’s nails
- Nail clippers designed for use on large dog^Comfortable grips and a spring-loaded mechanism for more positive cutting action^Lightweight clippers feature heavy-duty stainless steel blades and...
This is a great budget pliers style clipper.
- Great budget option for Pliers style clipper
- Easy to use
- Spring action for easy clipping
- Durability issues
Best Mid-range buys
A family company that has been developing products for over 50 years, so they should know a thing or two!
- Rubber grip
- Smooth action
- Super sharp cutting surface
- Not suitable for larger dog’s nails
- The guard can cause issues
- PROFESSIONAL GRADE, PREMIUM BUILD - Don't fret yourself with sub-par products. Used by veterinarians and professional groomers, Thunderpaws Nail Clippers are built with high quality stainless steel...
- ERGONOMIC AND EASY TO USE - Non-slip rubber handles that are ergonomically designed for a comfortable grip and ensuring a safe nail trimming and grooming experience for you and your dog (large breed...
- DESIGNED FOR SAFETY FIRST - Nail trimming should be an easy experience, which is why each Thunderpaws Nail Clippers comes with a protective guard to protect your pets from "over-trimming" and safety...
With a range of dog grooming products and a 100% money back guarantee, you can’t go wrong with these mid range clippers.
- Professional grade cutting blades
- Ergonomic design
- Safety catch
- Money back guarantee
- Safety catch can come undone easily
- Easy, Quick, Calm Trimming - Wagglies Professional Clippers Are The Quickest Safest Route To Neatly Trimmed Nails And A Happy Dog. These Trimmers Combine Veterinary-Grade Materials And Safety Features...
- Happy Human And Hound - We’Ve Invested Time And Energy Into Making Nail Trimming A Relaxed Job For You. Wagglies Clippers Feature An Angled Head And An Ergonomically Designed Rubber Handle For A...
- Beware Of Cheap Alternatives - Wagglies Dog Nail Trimmers Are Built For Safety And Comfort, For You And Your Dog. Even The Most Inexperienced Owner Can Achieve Professional Results Because We Use Only...
Wagglies is a British run, family business with over 20 years experience.
- Lifetime guarantee
- Free nail file
- Safety guard
- Difficult to use on small dogs
- Raised tip -love it or hate it
- Flimsy locking clip
Top of the Range buys
No products found.
It’s not often you get a lifetime guarantee and that’s worth including them alone. So here are our views on Simply Pets Online dog nail clippers.
- Lifetime guarantee
- Safety catch
- Built in nail file
- Good for large dogs
- Noisier than some other clippers
- Not suitable for smaller dogs
- Complaints that the blades aren’t as sharp as other brands
- ✅ DESIGNED FOR PET’S SAFETY FIRST - Our dog clipper has a protective guard to shield your dog’s nail from "over-trimming".
- ✅ EASY TO USE - Designed by two veterinarians for every day use with their own pets and in the clinic
- ✅ ERGONOMIC AND RUBBER-COATED HANDLES - Easy grip non-slip handles for a comfortable grip and ensuring a safe nail trimming experience
Started by two UK based vets with over 36 years experience, Simply Pets Online aims to provide beautiful and practical products.
- Comes with a guarantee
- Safety catch
- Locking mechanism for extra safety
- Suitable for larger dogs
- The handles are plastic (under the rubber) and are fairly fragile
Pet Edge the creators of Master Grooming Tools has a 60-year tradition of providing pet care professionals with quality and value.
- Large design
- Safety guard
- Lifetime warranty
- Not easy to use on small dogs
- Flimsier than some other brands
Best dog nail clippers summary
So there you have it, a run through of everything you need to know about a home manicure for your dog and we’ve given you a sample of the best dog nail clippers out there to help you on your way.
Remember to always buy a product appropriate for your dogs size and if you have any doubts about how to go about clipping your dogs nails then do find a professional to help you.
Last update on 2020-10-31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API