Which Dog Nail Clippers Are Right For You?

Dog nail clippers can be a sore subject for dogs and humans alike. It seems that the act of clipping your dog's nails can cause a tremendous amount of stress and anxiety and many dogs will avoid it at all costs. At the same time, seeing their four legged friends in such distress can cause owners heartache and it may make you reluctant to put your pup through the ordeal—but that's actually a very bad attitude to adopt.

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Clipping a dog's nails is not just a fashion statement; there is a very real practical and medical reason to do it. The longer your dog's nails get, the more trouble it can cause him. It may affect his gait by changing the way he places his feet while he walks and it can become a hazard as longer nails can easily become snagged, causing accident or injury. This is particularly dangerous for dogs that participate in agility training, where quick movement is essential.

3 Types Of Dog Nail Clippers

So how do you go about addressing the issue of nail clipping without making it into a horror show for you and your dog? The first step is choosing the right dog nail clippers. Nail clippers for dogs come in three basic types: scissor/plier, guillotine and grinder. These different types are suited to certain dogs, so understanding the difference can be very helpful for dog owners.

Dog nails are made of two parts, the "quick," which runs through the core of the nail and sends blood to it and the hard outer "shell." When you are trimming, you only want to trim the shell. If you cut into the quick, this will cause pain and bleeding. The various dog nail clippers are designed to help address only the shell.

Dog laying down having his nails trimmed.

chalabala / stock.adobe.com

Dog laying down having his nails trimmed.

chalabala / stock.adobe.com

Scissor or Plier Style Clippers

For larger breed dogs whose nails are much tougher, you'll want to opt for a scissor or plier style clipper, like many offered by  Millers Forge Trimmers. These clippers work with a traditional scissor or plier movement and allow you to apply more force in order to get through even the toughest nails.

Guillotine Nail Clippers

For medium size and small dogs, guillotine clippers are usually most effective. As their name suggests, these clippers work like a small version of a guillotine. You simply insert the nail into the hole and squeeze the handle. A small blade neatly shears off the end of the nail in one smooth stroke.

Nail Grinder Tools

A third option when it comes to dog nail clippers is technically not a "clipper" but a nail grinder tool. Rather than cutting the nail, these miniature grinding tools work to gradually wear down the nail, similar to the use of an emery board on human nails. This can be particularly useful for dogs with thick nails or those who are too traumatized by the feeling of traditional clippers. Of course, grinding takes far longer than clipping and it may take some time for your dog to get used to the sound and vibration of the grinder, but for many dogs this is an excellent option.

No matter how you go about it, it is extremely important to make nail clipping a regular part of your dog's hygiene. It can not only help prevent serious injury but can also help to reduce your dog's chances of developing some illnesses. So as unpleasant as the idea may be, get yourself the right clippers and make sure you stay one step ahead of those nails!


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