How to Choose the Right Nail Clippers for Your Dog

a dog mentally preparing for a nail clipping

Hello, fellow dog lovers! Today we’re going to talk about an essential part of dog grooming – nail clippers! Choosing the right nail clippers for your dog can make a world of difference in the ease and success of your nail-trimming sessions. So, let’s dive into the different types of clippers available and how to choose the perfect one for your furry friend.

See also: how to nail clip a dog >>

Types of Dog Nail Clippers

There are three main types of nail clippers for dogs: guillotine-style, scissor-style, and grinder-style. Each has its pros and cons, and you need to choose the one that’s best for your  dog’s size, breed, and individual preferences. Let’s review each of them together.

1. Guillotine-Style Clippers

Guillotine-style clippers have a hole where you insert your dog’s nail, and a blade that slides across to trim the nail when you squeeze the handles. These clippers are best suited for small to medium-sized dogs with thinner nails.

  • Pros: Easy to use, precise cutting.
  • Cons: Can be difficult to see the quick, not suitable for larger dogs or dogs with thick nails.

2. Scissor-Style Clippers

Scissor-style clippers work like a pair of scissors, with two blades that cut the nail as you squeeze the handles together. They are available in various sizes and are suitable for dogs of all sizes, including those with thicker nails.

  • Pros: Can handle thicker nails, available in multiple sizes for different breeds, often feature a built-in guard to prevent over-trimming.
  • Cons: May require more hand strength to operate, can be difficult to see the quick.

3. Grinder-Style Clippers


a dog getting used to having its nails clipped

Grinder-style clippers use a rotating grinding tool to gradually trim your dog’s nails. They are suitable for dogs of all sizes and can be especially useful for dogs with dark nails, as they allow for greater control and precision.

  • Pros: Good for dogs with dark nails, reduces the risk of cutting the quick, leaves a smooth edge on the nail.
  • Cons: Can be noisy and may scare some dogs, slower than other clipping methods.

How to Choose the Right Clippers for Your Dog

When choosing the best nail clippers for your dog, consider the following factors:

  • Size and breed: Choose clippers that are appropriate for your dog’s size and breed. Smaller dogs with thinner nails may be best suited for guillotine-style clippers, while larger dogs with thicker nails may require scissor-style clippers.
  • Comfort and ease of use: Opt for clippers that feel comfortable in your hand and are easy to operate. This will make the nail-trimming process more enjoyable for both you and your dog.
  • Your dog’s temperament: If your dog is anxious or fearful of loud noises, grinder-style clippers may not be the best option. In such cases, you might want to consider guillotine-style or scissor-style clippers, which are quieter.
  • Visibility of the quick: If your dog has dark nails, making it difficult to see the quick, grinder-style clippers can provide greater control and precision, reducing the risk of cutting into the quick.
  • Quality: Invest in a good-quality pair of clippers that will last and provide clean, even cuts.

Additional Tips for Successful Nail Trimming

Choosing the right clippers is just the first step in successful nail trimming. Here are a few more tips to help make the process smoother:

  • Get your dog used to the clippers: Before you start trimming, let your dog sniff and explore the clippers. This will help them feel more comfortable with the tool.
  • Start gradually: If your dog is nervous about nail trimming, start by trimming just one or two nails at a time and gradually increase the number as they become more comfortable.
  • Trim regularly: Regular trimming will help keep your dog’s nails at a healthy length and make the process easier over time. Aim to trim your dog’s nails every 4-6 weeks, depending on their growth rate.
  • Offer praise and rewards: Reinforce positive behavior with praise and treats to make nail trimming a positive experience for your dog.

See related dog grooming tips >>


You need the right nail clippers for your dog to trim their nails routinely. This scheduled nail trimming is an essential part of your dog’s overall health and well-being. By considering factors like size, breed, temperament, and visibility of the quick, you can find the perfect clippers for your furry friend. Remember to be patient, take your time, and make the process as positive as possible for both you and your dog.

Happy grooming!

Related pages:
+ Washing a dog
+ Cleaning a dog’s teeth
+ Cleaning a dog’s ears