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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.

Recommended by Professionals

These budget-minded option is 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.

Safe, Effective, and Precise

Painlessly and precisely cuts your pet’s paws. 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.

Rechargeable Battery

This power model features a 45-degree guide for optimal angles. 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.