My husky’s blood was spattered on the kitchen floor and it was my fault…
I chased him around with a towel to staunch the bleeding, profusely apologizing, but he was having none of it.
His remaining nails ratt-a-tatted on the floorboards as he scurried into the backyard to lick his wounds (literally).
I’ll never forget that day and I’m sure he won’t either.
The Consequences of Not Using the Dog Nail Clippers
As a dog owner, there is no worse feeling than knowing I’ve hurt my best friend.
Max was understandably wary of grooming for a while after that incident.
Fortunately, now that we have half a kilo of beef jerky treats and lots of head rubs behind us, we’re pals again.
Hurting Max could have been avoided if I had taken the time to find the best dog nail clippers.
If you are reading this article, you’re already a few steps ahead of me.
Cutting to the Quick — Why Using the Best Dog Nail Clippers is so Important
Cutting too far into your dog’s nail is one of the most common ways dog owners hurt their pets.
Unlike humans, dogs have both a nail and a spongy, blood-filled, root within the nail called a “quick”.
The term “quicking your dog” is used to describe the situation when an owner cuts too much of the nail off and cuts into this soft tissue, which often causes bleeding.
If you do cut into this area, don’t panic.
Although there may be some blood, if your dog is healthy and in good condition it will be fine.
Putting styptic powder on the cut will dry the area and clot the blood quickly.
The quick grows with the nail and Dog’s with long, uncut nails, will have a longer quick than dogs with short, trimmed nails.
If you are reading this and your dog already has long nails, cut them gradually and at intervals of a week or two to ensure that the quick has had time to recede.
A good general rule is to cut your dog’s nails when you give it a bath, although some dogs have nails that grow more quickly and may need more frequent grooming.
Acclimatizing Your Dog to Nail Clipping
Some dogs are not phased by nail clipping at all.
Other dogs are apprehensive and afraid of the process (usually due to a previous bad experience).
Others treat it like a game and whine, fidget, nip and bite until one of you gives up, beaten.
Here are a few tips and tricks to cut down on the drama so you can go about clipping quickly and efficiently:
- Get a new pair of clippers — starting fresh can sever the chain of bad memories a dog associates with an old pair of clippers
- Use only the best dog nail clippers — nail clippers vary widely in quality and functionality, ensuring you use only the best dog nail clippers means safe, clean cuts and a happy dog
- Touch your dog’s paws whenever you can — when you are sitting on the couch, touch your dog’s feet even when you aren’t going to clip its nails. This will get it used to its feet being handles and to the process in general
- Practice trimming — practice trimming your dog’s nails by touching them with neutral objects such as a pencil eraser. This can get it used to the sensation of nail clipping
- Taking the clipper out around your dog — letting your dog see, touch and sniff the clippers allows it to become familiar with them in a low-stress environment. If you are using a grinder-type nail clipper, turn it on around your dog and give it treats and positive reinforcement while it’s on
These suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg. For a full “how to” guide on clipping nails take a look at this excellent guide to cutting your dogs nails.
How Will we Evaluate the Best Dog Nail Clippers
Using only the best dog nail clippers saves both you and your pet pain and worry.
Dog nail clippers come in various shapes and sizes and use several different operating mechanisms. We will review at least one each of these.
Pruning shear-type clippers look like garden pruning shears but are specially designed with dogs’ nails in mind.
These clippers are very versatile, are simple to use and are good for groomers of all experience levels.
Guillotine-type clippers require you to put your dog’s nail into a ring. Squeezing the handles together sends a blade into the ring that cuts the nail.
These are the best choice for people who are confident and experienced groomers and people who experience high-volume work such as vets and professional groomers.
Grinder-type clippers are electric and are used to grind down a dog’s nails instead of cut them.
These may take a bit of getting used to, as this mechanism is different to what most people may be used to.
We will assess the 5 best dog nail clippers based on their “pros” and “cons”.
In deciding what is a pro and what is a con, we will focus on the safety of the clippers, the features they offer and the value for money they provide.
Safety will focus on whether or not the clippers have in-built safety features such as good grips, safety locks and a cutting safety guide.
Good dog nail clippers will have more than one of these features and the best dog clippers will have all of them.
Some products that are intrinsically safer such as grinders, will receive higher scores in this category.
This score will be awarded for the number and variety of features that a product offers.
Clippers with more features will receive higher scores than those with relatively few.
Value for Money
Value for money will consider the price of an item, along with whether it comes with a warranty and/or money back guarantee.
The longer the warranty, the higher the score in this category.
This category will also weigh the price of the product against the safety features and general features it has to offer.
Our Picks for the Best Dog Nail Clippers
Millers Forge — Stainless Steel Dog Nail Clipper
Miller’s Forge have been making quality pet products since 1945 and they are known for their simple yet effective designs.
These pruning shear-type clippers are the best dog nail clippers we could find that come in at a no-frills, entry-level price.
Inexpensive but still good quality — These clippers are very cheap at USD 6.49. While they may lack some of the features of premium products, they are significantly cheaper than similar “premium” products.
Comes with a safety guard — A built-in metal guard ensures that you don’t cut into the quick by allowing you to only cut off a few millimeters of nail at a time.
No exposed spring — A sheathed spring reduces the likelihood of you pinching your dog or yourself as you wrestle with each other for control of the situation.
Locking mechanism — these clippers also come with a lock to hold the clippers safely closed for storage and maintenance.
Versatile — These nail clippers have a large blade opening and can be used for all dog sizes except the largest breeds.
Handles — The red handles of this clipper are not ergonomic and they have a habit of slipping off the steel after repeated use. The bare metal handles can be quite uncomfortable on the hands.
Thinner head — The metal of the clipper head is a little thinner than compared with the very best dog nail clippers of a similar style
This may mean that the clipper head will become loose and this will affect its ability to make clean cuts.
You may need to retighten the screw connecting the head from time to time.
The lock can be fickle — The lock on these clippers has a habit of automatically locking mid-cut and may lock halfway through a grooming.
It may need to be bent back so it is out of the way.
The Final Word
This is a great product if you are looking for cheap clippers that will cut cleanly and efficiently and if superior comfort and additional features are not your main concern.
- Built-in safety guard
- No pinch spring
- Can be used on all but the largest dogs
- Handles can slip off after continued use
- Thin cutting head
- Lock may need adjusting
Safety: 75/100 Features: 70/100 Value: 85/100
Resco — Original Deluxe Dog Claw Clippers
This product from Resco uses a guillotine-type mechanism that extends a blade from the body of the clippers when the handle is compressed.
It comes in two sizes for both small and large dogs and is an excellent choice for experienced users who desire efficiency and speed.
This is the product you are most likely to see your vet or groomer using.
Convenient and fast cutting mechanism — To cut a nail with this clipper, simply put the dog’s nail inside the circular guide and click the handles together.
This product is great for people who need to cut nails in a hurry, as you only need to measure the length and cut.
Easy and clean cuts — The Resco Deluxe has heavy and robust handles so that every cut feels effortless and smooth.
The blades are also made of hardened steel and are micro-honed, giving you a clean cut every time.
Cost efficient — Unlike other clippers that are not designed to be resharpened, Resco Deuluxe clippers are designed to be used with replaceable blades that cost a faction of the price of new trimmers.
Made in America — Resco are the only nail clipper company to manufacture their products in the US. Resco also back their product, with a lifetime limited manufacturer’s warranty.
Design can be problematic if you have a dull blade — If a blade is dull, the design of guillotine clippers can mean that a dog’s nails will be crushed or pinched instead of cut cleanly.
No safety measuring tab — Guillotine clippers have no measuring tab so the groomer has full discretion as to how much nail to cut. This may be daunting for first-time groomers.
The Final Word
This is an excellent product for vets, groomers and dog owners who are experienced clippers.
At USD 19.49 these clippers provide great value for money, especially in light of the fact that they are designed to take replaceable blades and have a lifetime warranty.
- Quick and efficient mechanism
- Quality made in the USA
- Takes replaceable blades
- Come with a limited lifetime warranty
- May not be suitable for dogs with very hard nails
- Circular mechanism may not be suitable for inexperienced groomers
Safety: 75/100 Features: 80/100 Value: 85/100
Total Score 80/100
Koodella — Dog Nail Clippers
Koodella’s dog nail clippers are similar in look and operation to Valley Forge’s clippers, but offer additional features, ergonomic grips and a money-back guarantee.
Several safety features — This product has several nice safety features that make it ideal for people who are new to clipping their dog’s nails.
The product has a safety adjustment lever that allows you to adjust the amount of nail you cut.
The grip of the handle is rubberized for a sure grip and additional control while cutting your dog’s nails.
These clippers also come with a smooth and user-friendly safety lever on the handle, to lock the clippers when they are not in use.
Comes with an additional nail file — This product contains a nail file conveniently located in the handle that pops out and allows you to file down your dog’s nails manually as you get closer to the quick.
Smooth cutting motion — These clippers are of high quality construction and use a heavy duty spring that provides a smooth and effortless cut-and-release motion.
Excellent value for money — In light of all these features this product from Koodella is priced at only USD 9.99 and provides excellent value for money.
Koodella also offer a 60 day, UNCONDITIONAL money back guarantee. They will also replace any broken clippers within 1 year of the purchase date.
White logo button can be annoying — The white “Koodella Pets” is somewhat bulky and can get in the way where you have a hyperactive dog or a dog with larger paws.
Fickle locking mechanism — The locking mechanism on this product can be loose and slip down when holding these clippers upside down.
Handle is not contoured for fingers — The handle for this product is straight and does not have grooves for fingers. This can become uncomfortable after prolonged use.
The Final Word
This is an excellent pair of clippers for owners who have one or two dogs and would like a pair of versatile clippers with a good balance of safety features and value for money.
- Good safety features
- Comes with nail file
- Smooth mechanism
- 60 day unconditional money back guarantee and a 1 year warranty
- Superfluous white brand button
- Locking mechanism can be fickle
- Handle can become uncomfortable after prolonged use
Safety: 85/100 Features: 85/100 Value: 85/100
Total Score 85/100
Dremel — 7300-PT 4.8V Pet Nail Grooming Tool
The Dremel 7300-PT uses a grinder design to grind away a dog’s nails instead of clipping them.
Because grinder-type clippers don’t use a bade at all, they are the best dog nail clippers when it comes to safety.
Very safe mechanism — The rotary design of these nail groomers provides a safe and efficient alternative to maintaining your dog’s nails and there is less chance of cutting the quick.
These are the perfect clippers for inexperienced or apprehensive groomers.
Excellent control — Two rotation speeds of 6,500 and 13,000 RPM allow you to carefully and gradually grind nails down in incremental stages.
This product is wireless and very light, allowing for the same control you would have with regular clippers.
Always ready to go — The Dremel 7300-PT has a quick recharge battery with a full charge being completed in just 3 hours.
Great value and complete peace of mind — This product comes with a 2 year limited warranty that guarantees the materials and workmanship of the product.
This product provides excellent value when it’s high safety rating is considered and at USD 24.23 it is very reasonably priced for an electric grooming tool.
May take some getting used to — Some dogs may be initially scared of this product because it makes a distinctive whine that can be off-putting if your dog has always had its nails trimmed with silent manual tools.
The feel of having nails ground down may be strange to some dogs initially. That being said, once most dogs get used to the feel, there is no issue.
The mechanism may also take an owner some getting used to, as the whole grooming experience will be different.
Not suitable in high turnover, high volume environments — Grinding down a dog’s nails is more time consuming than simply clipping the nails in one action.
Although the battery charge is sufficient for one big dog or two small dogs, it will not last longer than that without needing a recharge.
The Final Word
This is definitely one of the best dog nail clippers out there. It is the perfect product for anyone who is not confident using manual blade-type clippers, or who wants to try something different.
- Safe, dog-friendly maintenance solution
- Provides excellent control
- Quick recharge battery
- Very competitive price and industry-leading warranty
- Some dogs will take time to adjust to the noise and feel of this product
- Takes time to grind down nails and the battery will only last for a single session
Safety: 95/100 Features: 90/100 Value: 90/100
Total Score 92/100
Epica — The Best Dog Nail Clippers in 2019 (So Far!)
These clippers from Epica are our favorite clippers for 2019 thus far.
They combine many desirable features of the other products on this list, with a simple and easy to use design and an attractive price.
This is a product that is well deserving of the “best dog nail clippers” title.
Cuts effortlessly every time — These clippers really shear through your dog’s nails. The clamping mechanism is heavy and strong and the blades are made of hardened stainless steel for a quick, smooth cut, every time.
The metal head of this clipper is thicker than the competitors, meaning the blades are heavier and cut more cleanly through tough nails.
They can accommodate all sizes of dogs — The blade spacing for this product is large and can handle all size nails and breeds of dog.
Safe — These Epica clippers have a cutting guard to ensure only a small amount of the nail is cut at a time, along with a secure lock on the side of the clippers to lock the blades while not in use.
Comfortable — These clippers are ergonomically shaped with finger grooves and rubber coated handles for a secure and comfortable grip that is gentle on your palms even after prolonged use.
Excellent value for money — At USD 9.95, this product provides excellent value for money and comes with an unbeatable 100% lifetime warranty.
Handle can make a large noise — These clippers can occasionally make a loud clicking noise when cutting nails, which can scare some more timid dogs.
The Final Word
These are definitely the best dog nail clippers we could find.
They combine an excellent price and lifetime warranty with all the features you could want in a pair of dog nail clippers.
They are the perfect product for the beginner and experienced groomer alike.
- Effortless cutting
- Suitable for all breeds of dog
- Excellent value for money
- 100% lifetime warranty
- Loud click when nails are cut
Safety: 95/100 Features: 95/100 Value: 98/100
Total Score 96/100
**Bonus Item** Digger Dog Nail File — The REAL Best Dog Nail Clippers Get Your Dog to do the Work!
This innovative dog nail maintenance solution uses your dog’s own energy and curiosity to file down the nails in its front paws.
This unique product is safe and suitable for all dog sizes and plays on your dog’s natural instinct to dig for food.
The DiggerDog nail file is a flat board with a heavy-duty poly-carbonate nail filing surface. It also has a hidden food compartment underneath, that entices your dog to dig for its food.
This is the perfect solution for dogs that hate clippers or grinders and it is proven to reduce your dog’s nail length significantly in just 5 minutes.