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Whether your pup’s super laid-back or will do just about anything to avoid you when it’s time for a nail trim, you want the best dog nail clippers possible for pain-free grooming.

“Regular nail trims are important for your dog’s health, well-being, and routine maintenance because a dog with nails that are too long can cause a great deal of discomfort, pain, and, at times, infection,” says Ashley Ann Odom, a certified master groomer and owner of Diamonds in the Ruff grooming salon and spa in Lincoln Park, New Jersey. 

While just how often you need to trim your dog’s nails depends on their activity level and environment, checking their nails at least once a month is a good rule of thumb. If you’re behind on nail trims or their paws rarely hit the pavement, you may want to check them even more often.

If you admittedly dread nail trims due to fears of hitting the quick (soft tissues and nerves inside a dog’s nails) or don’t want to further traumatize an already-skittish rescue dog, having the right nail-trimming gear and knowing how to use it can make a big difference. But with so many different options and thousands of reviews to sift through, the selection can be overwhelming. 

To make the process easier, we asked a professional groomer to share her top recommendations. We also did the research for you on important factors like safety, durability, affordability, and ease of use. Here’s our guide for what to look for in dog nail clippers, plus our top product picks for the best dog nail clippers you can buy.  

What to Look For in Dog Nail Clippers 

Dachshund getting nails trimmed

At first glance, dog nail clippers might seem pretty simple, but then you see just how many different options there are to consider. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you shop so you can find the most effective pair of dog nail clippers for your pup’s needs. 

Blade quality: “First and foremost, when searching for a set of nail clippers you want to make sure to invest in a pair that is sturdy and sharp,” says Odom. Stainless steel clippers with durable features allow you to clip through your dog’s nails without applying unnecessary pressure that can cause pain and discomfort for your dog. 

Size and type: “Of course, you also want to make sure the clippers are suitable for your dog’s size,” says Odom. Generally, dual-blade clippers are a better choice for large-breed dogs with thick, hard-to-cut nails, while guillotine-style clippers make for quick and easy slices for small to medium-sized dogs. 

For dogs of any size, Odom recommends nail grinders which reduce the risk of cutting your dog’s nails too short and hitting the highly sensitive quick. They can also smooth out nails for less of a clickety-clack sound when your pup shuffles across hardwood and tile floors. 

Ease of Use: For those of us with dogs who may never enjoy having their nails done, safe dog nail clippers are a top priority. In this case, look for user-friendly features that allow for a quick and precise cut like no-slip handles, nail guards, and a safety lock. 

Reviews: Both Amazon.com and Chewy.com list reviews from verified customers, which can help you get an idea of what using dog nail clippers is really like in real life. Pet parents are often happy to share how to ease skittish dogs into adjusting to certain nail trimmers, whether clippers are strong enough to handle ultra-hard nails, or which size options fit certain dog breeds or weights best. 

Best Dog Nail Clippers: Groomer Recommendations 

While there are plenty of options for dog nail clippers out there, many groomers, customers, and veterinarians agree that these are some of the most effective and high-quality picks on the market. 

Whether you’ve got a fiery Chihuahua or a shy Great Dane, there is a pair of dog nail clippers that can work for you. Here are our top recommendations for the best dog nail clippers, according to thousands of happy customers and a master groomer. 

Best Dog Nail Clippers: Overall Winner 

Our pick: Safari Professional Stainless Steel Nail Trimmers For Dogs

Safari Professional Stainless Steel Nail Trimmers For Dogs

Odom’s personal favorite, Safari Professional Nail Trimmers are reasonably priced and available in two sizes for small to medium and large dogs. “They are particularly well-suited to large dogs because of their sturdiness and due to the thicker steel offered in this model,” she says. With rubber-coated handles for a firm grip and a safety guard to avoid cutting too far, these trimmers also score high on ease of use.

Highlights 

  • Stainless steel. 
  • Strong, sharp blade. 
  • Safety guard. 
  • Easy-grip handles. 

Things to Consider 

  • Clicking sound may disturb some dogs.

Sample buyer review: “There’s nothing not to like about these nail trimmers. Both edges of the bypass blades cut cleanly and with equal pressure on either side of the nail, much better and less painful than the single shear blade on another type of cutter I’ve used. I have a veteran Labrador with large horny nails and a pup with quick growing softer nails. The tool copes with both easily. Great buy for the money.”

Safest Dog Nail Clipper

Our Pick: Zen Clipper Dog Nail Trimmers

Zen Clipper dog nail clipper in package

Safety is definitely a top priority when it comes to trimming your dog’s nails. Zen Clipper really has that covered with it’s conical-shaped, patent pending design. The cone shape of the blade makes it nearly impossible to cut your dog’s quick as long as it is sized correctly for your pet. These clippers offer a sharp, stainless steel blade that sheers nails and doesn’t crush them. These are small and easy to use, whether you opt for the finger holes or clip with your hand surrounding the handles. 

Highlights

  • Unique cone-shaped design for a safe cut.
  • Comes in seven different sizes to fit all pet types.
  • Ergonomic, non-slip handle.
  • Small size makes them less intimidating for pets and easy to handle.
  • Come with a lifetime warranty.

Things to Consider

  • With several size options, getting the right size may be tricky. But Zen Clipper will replace your order free of charge if you choose the wrong size.
  • It may take dogs a little time to get used to the shape of these clippers. Take it slow and steady at first. 

Sample buyer review: “This thing is wonderful! It doesn’t make any “clicking” noise when you clip. That’s a huge deal to me, because my dog is very skittish about the whole thing. You can also use this clipper from either side, so that you can get the easiest access to the nail. it also makes a clean cut. Another really cool thing is, you can email Zen Clipper & they will send you a card to measure your dog’s (cat’s, bird’s….whatever) nail diameter so you get the correct size. It seems a bit pricey, but well worth it. The stress it saves me & my dog is worth every penny. AND they will exchange it for free.”

Best Budget Dog Nail Clippers

Our Pick: Millers Forge Dog Nail Clipper

Millers Forge Dog Nail Clipper

Just want some dog nail clippers that’ll get the job done? If you’re new to trimming your dog’s nails or not quite ready to lay down the big bucks on a fancy pair of dog nail clippers, Millers Forge makes a great starter pair for small to medium-sized dogs. They’ve got strong, stainless steel blades, a safety lock, and bright orange handles (a major perk if you tend to misplace these things!). 

Highlights 

  • Strong and sharp stainless steel blades. 
  • Safety lock. 
  • Highly affordable. 

Things to Consider 

  • Not much! All in all, these clippers get solid reviews and many groomers and veterinarians recommend them. 

Sample buyer review: “I work and have worked in the veterinary field for over 5 years now. These are the clippers we use in [my] clinic and I have come accustomed to loving them […] if you’re just looking for a trusty pair of clippers, these work great.”

Best Dog Nail Grinder 

Our pick: Dremel 7300-PT 4.8V Cordless Dog Nail Grinder

Dremel 7300-PT 4.8V Cordless Dog Nail Grinder

If traditional dog nail clippers just haven’t worked for you, it may be time to give dog nail grinders a try. Dremel is considered the go-to brand for rotary tools, and many groomers say they make the best dog nail grinder, too. The Dremel 7300-PT is cordless and comes with two different speeds, an accessories kit, and easy-to-use wall charger. “While it can be a pricey investment for home grooming, this particular brand has a longer battery lifespan than most other brands,” says Odom.

Highlights 

  • Cordless. 
  • Comes with five sanding discs and a plug-in wall charger. 
  • Two-speed grinder (6,500 rpm or 13,000 rpm).
  • Rechargeable 3-hour battery. 
  • Backed by a 2-year warranty. 

Things to Consider 

  • Noise or vibration may disturb some dogs. 
  • May come with a learning curve if you’re new to using them.

Sample buyer review: “I have been using [this] for several weeks and cutting [my dog’s] nails is actually kind of fun now. He is a bit scared of it, but I think he will get used to it. It smooths out his nails and files them away. I don’t think I’m ever going to have to go back to the nail scissor with this thing.”  

Best Guillotine Dog Nail Clippers 

Our pick: Rescoe Deluxe Guillotine Dog Nail Clippers

Rescoe Deluxe Guillotine Dog Nail Clippers

If you prefer guillotine-style dog nail clippers for a quick slice through your dog’s nail, you can’t go wrong with the original. Resco invented guillotine nail clippers way back in 1937 (!). They’ve been a leader in the market ever since. With no slip-handles and super sharp blades (plus affordable replacement blade kits should yours ever dull), these clippers are user-friendly and safe.

Highlights 

  • Made in the USA. 
  • Durable construction. 
  • Anti-slip grip. 
  • Easily replaceable blades. 
  • Backed by a lifetime warranty. 

Things to Consider 

  • Guillotine-style may come with a learning curve if you’re new to using them.
  • May not be strong enough for large-breed dogs with thick nails.

Sample buyer review: “[These] are easily the best clippers I’ve found. They provide a controlled, super clean cut and are much sturdier than most.”

Best Large Dog Nail Clippers

Our pick: Epica Professional Dog Nail Clippers

Epica Professional Dog Nail Clippers

With high-grade stainless steel and semi-circular blades to hold your dog’s nail in place, Epica’s dog nail clippers get high marks from pet parents with large-breed dogs like Rottweilers, Labradors, and Mastiffs. Grooved, rubber-coated handles are easy to hold onto and many reviewers say the blade cuts through nails like butter. Even better? They come with a 100 percent Lifetime Warranty, so if you’re not satisfied, you can contact the manufacturer to resolve the issue.

Highlights 

  • High-quality stainless steel. 
  • Strong and sharp blade. 
  • Durable construction. 
  • Grooved, rubber-coated handle.
  • Lifetime warranty. 

Things to Consider 

  • Nail guard may move, making it unreliable, some reviewers say

Sample buyer review: “I was having a hard time cutting my 104-lb German Shepherd’s very thick nails. Multiple previous store bought clippers would either splinter or chip his nails, or they would just not cut through, or he’d chip the blades or break the clipper handle all together! These feel very sturdy and made nail cutting quick and easy with a clean cut and no splintering or chipping of the nails.” 

Best Small Dog Nail Clippers  

Our pick: Master Grooming Tools Guillotine Nail Clipper 

Master Grooming Tools Guillotine Nail Clipper

“These are ideal for home use on smaller dogs,” says Odom. While two-blade clippers or nail grinders are preferable for larger dogs with harder-to-cut nails, guillotine-style dog nail clippers are a smart pick for your little one. Just five inches in length, they’re made for small paws and textured rubber handles ensure you have a firm and comfortable grip so you can get the job done quickly.  

Highlights 

  • Guillotine-style blade. 
  • Textured rubber handles. 
  • Sized for small dogs. 

Things to Consider 

  • Guillotine-style may come with a learning curve if you’re new to using them.

Sample buyer review: “These are fantastic. I don’t like the scissor style clippers because I feel like I don’t have control, will slip, and hurt my pups. With the guillotine style ones, I look, find the wick, slide, and clip.” 

When to Get a Professional Dog Nail Trim

If you’ve just brought your first puppy home or you’re desperate for safe dog nail clippers that won’t stress out your scaredy dog, know that fear-free nail trims are possible. You’ve just got to find the right fit and gradually introduce your dog to the grooming process. 

That said, never hesitate to reach out to experts if you find you do need some extra help. “Use your better judgment on nail clipping at home,” says Odom. “If you know your dog is squirmy or extremely anxious and you feel like you won’t be able to get their nails done safely, bring them to a professional.” 

Your veterinarian or groomer can help you learn how to ease your dog into a nail trimming session in order to keep their nails healthy and avoid injury. In no time, you may both come to enjoy (or at least tolerate) your monthly paw-dicures. 

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