Three Ways to Keep Your Pet’s Nails Trimmed and Neat

While some dogs and cats don’t like getting their nails trimmed, it is an important chore vital to their overall health.

Vet clipping golden retriever dog's nails.
Some pets might not like the feeling of something touching their nails, they’ll get used to the experience over time.Boshel

When a pet’s toenails—especially those of a dog—are long enough to continually touch the ground, they push back into the nail bed, which is painful and puts pressure on the toe joint. In the long run, these untrimmed nails can cause problems with the foreleg joints and make the dog’s foot appear flattened. Trimming pets’ nails isn’t hard with either a good manual clipper or a power toenail sander. Consider these factors when choosing the best tool for your pet.

Manual Trimmers

BOSHEL Dog Nail Clippers and Trimmer with Safety Guard to Avoid Over-Cutting Nails & Free Nail File - Razor Sharp Blades - Sturdy Non Slip Handles - for Safe, Professional at Home Grooming
These budget-minded scissor clippers are ergonomically designed and easy to use.Boshel

Manual pet nail trimmers come in two basic types. Guillotine clippers work like the old guillotines of centuries past. You just have to stick the end of your pet’s nail through the hole and squeeze the handles. The blade lowers and gently slices off the end of the nail. Scissor clippers work like scissors and are usually preferable for large dogs since guillotine clippers can’t exert as much force to trim the nail as scissor-type clippers can. Using either type of manual trimmer is simple, just cut the nails without getting all the way down to the quick. While your pet might fight nail trimming at first, most get used to it fairly quickly, and trimming nails at home can keep dogs and cats from suffering the separation anxiety often associated with a trip to the groomer.

Power Grinders

Casfuy Dog Nail Grinder Upgraded - Professional 2-Speed Electric Rechargeable Pet Nail Trimmer Painless Paws Grooming & Smoothing for Small Medium Large Dogs & Cats
This electronic nail grinder is very quiet and can be used to painlessly and precisely trim your pet’s nails.Casfuy

Power grinders feature a rough, rotating surface that is used to grind the pet’s nails down to the preferred length rather than actually clipping off the ends. They’re great for pets with very thick nails and for those that hate having clippers used on their feet. One of the problems with power grinders is the noise they make drives some pets nuts, and just turning them on can make dogs and cats run for the nearest hiding place. But once your pet becomes accustomed to them, grinders are actually easier to use than clippers. Look for a model with reduced noise, and your dogs and cats will thank you, and grinders with replaceable surfaces can ensure that you always have a nice, rough pad to use for nail grinding. Note that even if you choose to use manual clippers, a power grinder can help smooth off the ends of the nails after you are finished clipping them.

Special Considerations

Dremel PawControl Dog Nail Grinder and Trimmer- Safe & Humane Pet Grooming Tool Kit- Cordless & Rechargeable Claw Grooming Kit for Dogs, Cats, and Small Animals
This power nail grinder features a 45-degree guide for optimal nail trimming angle.Dremel

Some special features of pet toenail clippers make them more effective and easier to use. For scissor clippers, make sure the blades are extremely sharp. If you buy them and they’re not sharp right out of the box, send them back and try another model. For those choosing guillotine clippers, models with replaceable blades will serve you better in the long run. For both types of manual clippers, padded grips are more comfortable if you’re going to be doing lots of pets at once. For electronic grinders, those that charge with a wall charger tend to be stronger and run longer than battery-powered models. Some models offer slanted trimming guides to keep you from cutting too deep into the toenail, and those are quite handy. Lastly, those with replaceable sanding pads make life a little easier than those without that feature.