9 of the Best Dog Nail Clippers for Grooming Your Dog at Home

By Ashley Turner     Last Updated May 3, 2021

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Dog Nail Trimmers

As a dedicated pet owner, keeping your canine best friend happy and healthy is one of your top priorities. Basic grooming, including regular nail trimming, should be a part of every dog's routine.

Some people let professional groomers trim their dog's nails, but with the right tools it's easier than ever to do at home. To help you pick the best dog nail clippers, we've put together a list of 5 top picks, as well as some tips for picking the right tools.

Our Top Picks for the Best Dog Nail Clippers

With so many options on the market today, picking the right product can be overwhelming. To make things easier on you, we'll look at some of the most important criteria for picking your pup's nail trimmers.

Types of Nail Clippers

Guillotine Clippers

Ideal for small to medium-sized dogs (such as Beagles), these clippers work like a tiny guillotine to slice off the end of the nail. Place the end of your dog's nail through the ring and squeeze the handle. A cutting blade will move up to slice off the end of the nail.

Although these are the most popular choice for most dog owners, they can crush the nail when used incorrectly. Some professionals recommend using guillotine clippers only if you are experienced with nail trimming.

To use:

  • Secure your dog and hold one paw
  • Squeeze the paw's center pad to extend each toe
  • Inspect the nail for the quick line
  • Place nail through opening and cut in a smooth line

Important:

  • Always clip perpendicular to the nail (top to bottom), as cutting from side to side can crush the nail
  • Clip with the clipper blade facing toward you, never toward the dog

Scissor Clippers

For large dogs, scissor clippers are the safest and most effective nail trimming tools. Easier to use and more forgiving than guillotine clippers, scissor clippers are ideal for the average dog owner.

Most scissor clippers have an included quick guard to prevent from accidentally clipping the nail too far.

To use:

  • See steps 1-3 for guillotine clippers
  • Set the quick guard
  • After locating the quick, place the tip of the nail through the scissor opening and cut in a smooth motion

Features to Look For

Blade Quality

The most important feature of any nail clipper is the quality of the steel used for the blades. Look for something made with high quality stainless steel, which will stay sharp and rust-free for safe trimming.

This is imperative because sharp blades will create a clean, painless cut for your dog. If you choose trimmers that dull easily, you risk crushing the nail.

Comfort

Choose something with a handle that will be comfortable for you to hold. Look for something with a rubberized or anti-slip grip.

In general, longer handles provide more leverage to help cut through the nails easily.

Safety Features

Some scissor clippers come with a quick guard to prevent from overtrimming the nails. Some users prefer the quick guard, while others think it prevents them from trimming accurately.

Whether you use a guard or not is a matter of personal preference. However, it is recommended if you are nervous or new to trimming your dog's nails.

Tips for Trimming Your Dog's Nails

Create a Positive Experience

If possible, start familiarizing your dog with nail trimming from a young age. This will help it to become a routine experience rather than a frightening one.

If your dog is nervous about trimming, approach the process slowly:

  • Before introducing the clippers at all, spend some time getting your dog used to having his or her feet touched
  • Introduce the clippers in a closed position, holding them near your dog's feet and nails
  • Praise your dog and give him or her a treat
  • Repeat several times before stopping
  • The next day, repeat the process but begin to open and close the clippers so they make a noise
  • Praise and treat your dog when they relax
  • Repeat this process several times until you feel comfortable to start clipping

Find the Quick

Before you ever clip your dog's nails, you should be familiar with where their quick starts. In dogs with light colored nails, this is easy as the quick is visible from the outside.

However, the quick will be hidden in dogs with dark nails. To identify it, flex the paw so that you can see the underside, where the vein should be visible.

Alternatively, look at the paw from a side profile. You should be able to see a place in the nail where it gets thicker; the quick is located in the thick part.

Note About Quick Guards

While they can be helpful, quick guards are not foolproof.

The safest way to avoid clipping the quick is to familiarize yourself with where it is in your dog's nails. Use the guard as a guide, but always know where the quick starts and double check before you clip.

Help! I Cut My Dog's Nails Too Short

If you happen to cut your dog’s nails too short you can expect there to be some blood. The bleeding is caused by cutting into the quick. To stop the bleeding quickly you can use styptic powder on the nail. If you do not have any styptic powder on hand the paw may bleed for a bit, but it will eventually stop.

Can Dog Nail Clippers Be Sharpened?

The short answer is yes, dog nail clippers can be sharpened. This leaves you with two choices, do you sharpen your current dull pair or do you just buy a new pair (since they are fairly inexpensive)?

It's a pretty straightforward process to sharpen the clippers. Most of the time it is easier to sharpen them by taking them apart first. Most of the scissor style clippers can be taken apart by taking out a screw holding them together.

Once you get them apart and cleaned then you can take a sharpening rod (or grinding stone) to it to get them sharp. Here's a helpful video showing you how to sharpen the Miller's Forge scissor nail clippers:

Other Common Questions About Dog Nail Clippers

What dog nail clippers do groomers use?

Dog groomers tend to stick with high quality brands when it comes to dog nail clippers such as Millers Forge, Rescoe, Epica, and many others. With these high quality clippers it really comes down to personal preference. We recommend the Epica Professional dog nail clippers (which you can learn more about below).

How do you cut a dog's nails that are black?

The only difference with cutting black dog nails is the difficulty in finding the quick. Just like with regular nails you want to clip off a little bit at a time and avoid cutting the quick. To identify the quick, flex the paw so that you can see the underside, where the vein should be visible.

Can a dog die from cutting the quick?

No, your dog won't bleed to death if you happen to cut the quick. It does look like a lot of blood but it will usually clot before it becomes a life or death situation. The worst part is how painful it is for your dog and it's good to give them a treat (or two) if you happen to nick the quick.

How do you cut overgrown dog nails?

Overgrown nails can be tricky to cut. The key is to cut off small parts of the nail slowly, over time. The reason behind this is the longer the nail gets, the longer the quick gets. You can't just chop off the nail as you will cut the quick. Cutting a small amount off each time encourages the quick to recede. This can usually be done once a week until your dog's nails are no longer overgrown.

Where is the quick on black dog nails?

To find the quick with black nails you will want to flex the paw so that you can see the underside and the vein should be visible. Alternatively, look at the paw from a side profile. You should be able to see a place in the nail where it gets thicker; the quick is located in the thick part. Lastly, you can take a flashlight and shine it into your dog's nail and you should be able to see the end of the quick (it'll be red under the light).

Are guillotine nail clippers better?

There isn't one type of nail clipper that is strictly better than the others. They each have their own pros and cons. Guillotine nail clippers are better suited for smaller dogs with thinner nails. This type of nail clipper can have trouble slicing through thicker nails on large dogs. With that said, if you are newer to cutting your dog's nails the scissor clippers are easier to use and better suited to beginners. The scissor clippers also are much better at cutting the thick nails on large dogs.

Our Top 9 Picks for the Best Dog Nail Clippers

Best Overall: Safari Professional Nail Trimmer

safari-770045-trimmer480

Safari's scissor-style nail trimmers are constructed with fine stainless steel for a sharp and effective trim.

Users said that the blades were sharp enough for even the thickest, toughest nails. The result is a clean, precise cut every time.

The large rubber-coated handles are slip-resistant and crafted with grooves on the side for added comfort. Users with small and large hands alike reported that these clippers were comfortable to use, even on multiple dogs at a time.

A quick guard prevents you from accidentally cutting into the quick, so these are ideal for those who are nervous or new to trimming nails.

The standard size is ideal for most dogs, while the large size can be used on giant breeds. One user with an 80 lb. German Shepherd said that the standard size was just right, while the large was somewhat too large.

When you're ready to store, simply activate the locking mechanism to lock the blades in closed position.

Things We Liked
  • Quality stainless steel blades provide a clean cut
  • Ergonomic, comfortable handles
  • Quick guard and locking mechanism for added safety
Things We Didn't Like
  • Quick guard often becomes loose and moves out of place
  • Safety guard is much deeper than necessary; exercise caution when locating the quick
  • Steel goes dull faster than many other clippers

Best for Large Dogs: Epica Professional Pet Nail Clippers

epica-clippers480

Our top large dog pick are these scissor style clippers from Epica. Constructed from high quality stainless steel, the super-sharp blades slice through the nails easily for a quick and painless trim.

The blade cuts cleanly, eliminating the need to file away rough edges after clipping.

Users across the board were impressed with the ergonomic rubber-coated handles. The handles are shaped to fit your fingers and are coated with anti-slip rubber.

The attached quick guard allows you to trim your dog's nails with confidence. Simply trim in small increments until you have reached the desired length.

When you're ready to put them away, these clippers will lock into a closed position. This prevents you from accidentally cutting yourself as well as protecting the blade from other objects it's stored with.

Epica makes these popular clippers in two different sizes: small/medium or medium/large. Accurate spacing between the blades ensures that you are able to clip your pup's nails safely and effectively.

Reviewers were overall very pleased with the quality construction and effectiveness of these clippers. One user in particular said that the Epica clippers are exactly like the ones their vet uses, and provide comparable results.

Things We Liked
  • Super-sharp stainless steel blades for quick, smooth cutting
  • Ergonomic slip-resistant handles
  • Quick guard for safe trimming
  • Available in different sizes for different dogs
Things We Didn't Like
  • Quick guard sometimes becomes loose and doesn't stay in place
  • Some users found that the spring weakened after several uses
  • Clippers make a loud noise when clipping, which irritated some dogs

Best for Small Dogs: Shiny Pet Small Pet Nail Clippers

Shiny Pet Dog Nail Clippers

These clippers work well for smaller pets instead of larger ones, and they come fitted with stainless steel blades that are razor sharp to allow you to cut cleanly through your pet's nails. The handles on these clippers come with an ergonomic plastic coating on them that make them comfortable to use, and the finger holes are slightly larger to accommodate different hand sizes.

The semi-circular blade on these clippers can slip over the nail and allow you to make precise and even cuts on your pet's nails, and they have a stainless steel makeup that allows you to keep the edge after multiple uses. You'll get a nice digital instructional booklet when you order these clippers, and this booklet ensures that you can safely cut your pet's nails without pinching them.

Pet parents who bought this item to cut their dog's nails liked that it came with a rubberized coating on the inside of the handles to make them more comfortable to use, and the blades are slightly angled to give you a nice cut each time you use them. Pet parents didn't like that the handles had a circular hoop on the end that restricted their movements and were too small for larger hands to fit comfortably.

Things We Liked
  • Very small and compact design
  • Has a rubberized coating on the finger holes
  • Blades are angled and stainless steel
Things We Didn't Like
  • Finger holes are too small for larger hands
  • Not suitable for thicker nails or bigger pets
  • May not leave a completely clean cut

Best Scissor Clippers: Millers Forge Nail Clippers

millers-forge-clippers480

One of the top names in pet grooming supplies, Millers Forge is known for durable, high quality products. Their scissor-style nail clippers come in at #2 on our list.

With super-sharp stainless steel blades, these clippers make easy work of even the toughest nails. They cut cleanly and easily through the nail for a quick, stress-free experience.

The handles unfortunately are not constructed with the same care as the blades. The orange plastic isn't outfitted with any sort of anti-slip material to increase grip, which was a drawback for some users.

Unlike Epica's clippers, these trimmers are not outfitted with a quick guard, so they are better suited for people who are already comfortable with trimming nails. Many users actually prefer to not have a quick guard, as it can obscure the view of the nail when trimming.

A locking mechanism allows you to secure the blades in a closed position for storage.

These clippers come in one size and are recommended for dogs 40 lbs and up.

For the most part, reviewers were very impressed with the Millers Forge trimmers. They cut quickly and cleanly, with no fraying or bending of the nails.

Things We Liked
  • Sharp blades to cut through thick nails easily
  • Long-lasting and durable construction
  • Locking mechanism for storage
Things We Didn't Like
  • Handles feel somewhat cheaply-made
  • Blade is somewhat thick, which doesn't allow for precision clipping
  • Blades lose their sharpness more quickly than some others

Best Guillotine Clippers: Resco Original Deluxe Clippers

resco-nail-trimmer480

Resco's original deluxe clippers are the first guillotine-style clippers on our list. Since 1937, Resco has produced top quality grooming products, and these clippers live up to their reputation.

Clinical grade American steel blades slice through nails with ease for a clean cut every time. Their specially engineered micro-honed cutting blade system ensures that each trim is quick and painless.

Resco's blade replacement technology allows you to replace the blade when it becomes dull instead of investing in a new set of clippers.

For added comfort and ease of use, the handles are outfitted with powder-coated grips, ensuring a no-slip grip.

Unlike most scissor type clippers, guillotine clippers are not outfitted with a quick guard, so be sure to identify your dog's quick and take care when trimming.

Choose from small or large sized clippers depending on your pet's size. The small/regular size typically suits dogs up to 50 lbs., while the large is suited to dogs 50 lbs. and up.

Users with giant breeds, like Great Danes or Saint Bernards, were impressed with the slicing power of these guillotine clippers. They enjoyed the ability to trim precisely, trimming either a small sliver or a larger piece as needed.

Resco backs up their deluxe clippers with a lifetime warranty.

Things We Liked
  • Clinical grade steel for durability and sharpness
  • Replaceable blades
  • Comfortable, slip-resistant handles
  • Multiple sizes available
  • Lifetime warranty
Things We Didn't Like
  • Blade replacement is somewhat difficult
  • Blade ejector tab is inconveniently placed, sometimes causing accidental blade removal
  • Requires extra caution as no safety guard is available

Best with Safety Guard: GoPets Nail Clippers

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The GoPets nail clipper is made with 3.5mm thick stainless steel, perfectly sharpened for clean cuts. They claim that the steel stays sharp for years, even with regular use.

Right out of the box, the blades are sufficiently sharp for most nails. However, giant breeds or dogs with particularly tough nails might need something a bit more heavy duty.

The large plastic handles are made with rubber insets for added grip and comfort. Because the handles are longer than most, they provide extra leverage to make cutting even easier.

The built-in guard helps prevent cutting too much at once. If you prefer to use it without the guard, it can be rotated to stay out of the way.

A locking mechanism allows you to store the blades in a closed position. However, many reviewers reported that the locking mechanism often locks while clipping.

Two sizes are available for use on dogs of any size. The small size can even be used on cats if desired.

As an added bonus, the GoPets nail clippers include a separate nail file to smooth any rough edges left over after trimming.

Things We Liked
  • Long-lasting, rust-resistant steel
  • Long handles for added leverage
  • Included nail file
  • Packaging includes helpful instructions on safe trimming
Things We Didn't Like
  • Not sharp enough for use on giant breeds or dogs with tough nails
  • Safety lock sometimes locked up even when in use
  • Quick guard too deep

7. Boshel Dog Nail Clippers

Boshel Dog Nail Clippers

These clippers come ergonomically designed to make them easy to get a firm grip when you use them, and the handles have a rubberized coating on them that make it challenging for them to slip out of your hands when you use them for extended clipping sessions. The jaws of these clippers are made out of stainless steel that won't corrode, rust, or lose the edge with repeated use, and they use 3.5-mm stainless steel that will cut cleanly every time you use them.

There is a built-in safety stop on these clippers that help to ensure that you don't accidentally cut too much off of your dog's nails when you trim them, and this is also made out of durable stainless steel. There is a free nail file built into the handle of these clippers that allows you to file away any sharp edges when you finish cutting, and the locking switch makes storage quick, safe, and easy because it holds the blades together.

People who purchased these clippers to groom their dogs liked that they came with a free nail file tucked into the handle, and they also liked the locking mechanism that prevented the blades from accidentally opening. They did mention that the handles can be a little large for smaller hands, and they said it felt like it pinched the nails on bigger dogs when they used it.

Things We Liked
  • Stainless steel construction
  • Safety lock to hold the blades closed
  • Rubberized grip with ergonomic design
Things We Didn't Like
  • Not suitable for larger dogs
  • Too large for smaller hands
  • Guard gets in the way of fine trimming

8. Furminator Nail Clippers

Furminator Nail Clippers

These nails clippers by FURminator offer a stainless steel, sharp cutting edge that ensures you get an even and clean cut without pinching or crushing the nail to help keep your dog comfortable. The guide on the blades is adjustable to allow you to make small cuts or bigger trimming jobs quick and easy, and it allows you to make precision cuts without cutting into the quick.

You'll get an ergonomic handle with a non-slip rubberized coating that is easy to hold onto for short or long trimming sessions, and there is an antimicrobial plastic that stops bacteria from building up and causing issues with your dog's feet. The ridges on the handle give you extra gripping power for extended trimming sessions, and these clippers come with a very compact design that makes them easy to store and bring with you when you're out and about.

Pet parents who bought this item liked that it had an antimicrobial coating on the plastic portion of the handle by the blades to stop bacteria from building up, and they liked that they could easily adjust the blade guard. Pet parents didn't like that the blades seemed to lose an edge after a few uses, and this can lead to ragged nails.

Things We Liked
  • Has an ergonomic design
  • Smaller and more compact size
  • Nail guard is adjustable
Things We Didn't Like
  • No blade lock to keep the blades closed
  • Blades can get dull with repeated use
  • Handles can be hard to close properly

9. Zen Clipper Precise Safer Pet Nail Trimmer

Zen Clipper Precise Safer Pet Nail Trimmer

This is an adjustable nail trimmer and clipper from the Zen Clipper Store that come in regular or junior sizes to allow you to customize your choice based on your pet's size, and you can adjust them to fit any dog's nails up to 100 pounds without an issue to get a clean cut.

The blade also dictates how much nail you can trim at one time to help avoid cutting the quick, and the thumb wheel is easy to maneuver with one hand.

The handle on this clipper has a non-slip rubber coating on it to allow you to get a firm grip each time you use it, and the clippers feature a slightly thicker handle that sits comfortably in your hand.

There is an ergonomic design to these clippers that prevents them from slipping with extended use, and there are laser-etched markings on the blade that help measure how much nail you're cutting at one time to prevent hitting the quick.

People who purchased this item liked that they could use it both left and right-handed without it being awkward or difficult to use, and they liked that the laser etching on the blades ensured that they didn't cut the nails too short and hurt their pets.

They didn't like that the wheel could be difficult to adjust when they were cutting their dog's nails, and they said that the blades were too wide for smaller dogs.

Things We Liked
  • Available in two sizes
  • Laser etching on the cutting blades
  • Can use it left and right-handed
Things We Didn't Like
  • Too large for smaller dogs
  • More expensive than other choices
  • Blades dull quickly

Our Top Pick

When it comes to your beloved pooch, we know health and safety are a top priority. That's why we recommend Safari Professional Nail Clippers as the best dog nail clippers.

From the highest quality steel to the ergonomic no-slip handle, it's the most solidly constructed product on our list. Add to that its safety features, like a quick guard and locking mechanism, and it's suited to both experienced and novice pet owners alike.

Whether your dog is large or small, Safari's nail clippers can assure that you and your pup enjoy a stress-free nail trimming experience.