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How Do I Choose the Best Claw Clippers?

By Kathleen Howard
Updated Jun 04, 2024
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Claw trimming is an important step in grooming many house pets. There are three main types of clippers: guillotine clippers, nail scissors and electric nail grinders. Human toenail clippers can also be used on small pets, like kittens, birds and rabbits. To choose the best claw clippers, consider the size and thickness of your pet’s nails. Select pet clippers based on the needs of your pet, the quality of the clippers, and your personal preferences.

One of the most popular styles available to pet owners, guillotine claw clippers are designed with handles on one end and a metal ring on the other. An individual nail is placed in the metal ring and the handles are then squeezed, which forces a sharp metal blade to close the ring and trim the nail. Guillotine nail clippers come in a variety of sizes for different pets and might be the best option if you need strong clippers for a large dog. It can be difficult to determine how much of the nail is being trimmed though, so other clippers might be easier to use for uncooperative pets.

If you are uncomfortable with guillotine clippers, scissor-style clippers can also be used to trim thick nails and are perhaps easier to control. Small nail scissors are also good for small dogs, cats, rabbits, birds and lizards. Nail scissors look similar to regular scissors, except that each blade is indented to fit around the nail. You simply put one nail at a time between the blades and then close the scissors to quickly and efficiently trim your pet's nail. The main issue with scissors is that they can be difficult to use on thick nails if they are not sharpened.

Electric nail trimmers are another option for pet owners to consider. Instead of cutting the claw, these devices file the nail down. Electric trimmers can be used alone or in combination with other claw clippers. If you are not comfortable clipping your pet’s nails, an electric trimmer might be a good option. The main disadvantage is that electric trimmers usually take longer as they file the nails, which makes them difficult to use on restless animals.

While choosing clippers, consider the size of your pet’s nails. If your pet’s nails are very thin, you may even be able to use human nail clippers. Thick nails, however, will require specialized clippers. Clippers that are too small will be ineffective and might even injure your pet.

To make sure you are purchasing safe claw clippers, look for sharp, high quality clippers. Professional claw clippers will typically have stainless steel blades and handles that are comfortable and easy to use. If you do not like using claw clippers, use an electric trimmer to keep your pet’s nails filed between professional trimmings. Most importantly, you should feel comfortable trimming your pet’s nails. If you need additional help, ask your veterinarian to show you how to use your clippers and safely trim your pet’s nails.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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