How Do I Choose the Best Dog Nail File?

Jamie Nedderman
Jamie Nedderman
A dog with filed nails.
A dog with filed nails.

The best dog nail file for your dog might be very different from the best nail file for another dog. Expert and personal references can give you the best idea of what works for others and might provide suggestions for your particular type of dog. Your dog’s breed isn’t the only factor to consider; you also should consider your dog’s personality, age and size.

In addition to being trimmed, a dog's nails may also be filed.
In addition to being trimmed, a dog's nails may also be filed.

Until you find yourself in the market for a dog nail file, you might not realize how much variety exists. Some experts suggesting that filing a dog’s nails should be done at least monthly, so this device becomes an important tool to use when caring for a dog. If your vet or grooming facility has mentioned that your dog needs a regular pedicure, then you probably also know that these services can be costly. With some education and practice, you can save yourself some money by performing this grooming procedure yourself.

Ask a dog groomer which type of dog nail file he or she prefers. Other good sources to consider are friends and local breeders or shelters. They might have had success or failure with various products, and you can learn from their experiences. If you have obtained your dog from a breeder or shelter, each option is likely familiar with your type of dog and would be happy to offer you suggestions as well.

In making your decision, be sure to consider your dog’s individual personality. One difference between files is the amount of force and noise involved. A manual file will be quietest but will require more force, and an automatic nail file might make a lot of noise and have vibrations. If you know your dog frightens easy, try different types or carefully read reviews if you are buying online.

Your dog's age and size are also factors when selecting a dog nail file. The younger your dog is, the easier this will be to establish filing as a normal practice with your choice of tools. If your dog is older, you might need a quieter, more gentle tool — and be prepared to offer lots of praise. A large file might overpower a smaller dog, and a small file for a large dog will take more time.

As with most purchases, cost is likely a factor as well. Basic, manual files can be obtained for less than $5 US Dollars (USD). Cordless, automatic versions might cost more than $25 USD. Considering that a dog nail file is going to be a regularly used tool, be sure to consider what you deem important and convenient for your chore. Starting with a manual version is likely to give you a good idea of what might work best for you and your dog.

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Discussion Comments


For anyone who has never attempted to file a dog's nails, it is best to see how your pet is going to tolerate this activity before you invest in an expensive dog nail file. Many dogs will not tolerate having their nail's filed, so there is no point in wasting money.

I bought an electric file to use on my dog's nails because I thought it would make the job easier and quicker and do. The problem was that my poor dog hated the sound and the sensation of the file when I tried to work on his nails. Since he wasn't particularly happy about having his nails done with a regular dog nail file, I decided that having his nails trimmed with nail clippers by a professional groomer was much easier for both of us.


When shopping for a nail file for your dog, I think that it is best not to try to save money by using a file that was designed for human fingernails. This type of file is typically not as durable as one that is designed for a dog, and most likely will not work as well on your pet. The better suited the file is for a dog's toenails, the less filing you will have to do. This will definitely make you job easier, because most dogs are not fond of this type of grooming.

Personally I have found that larger dog nail files work best and last longer than any other kind or size. Even if you have a puppy, you can adjust the amount of pressure you need to place on the file to get the job done.

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    • A dog with filed nails.
      A dog with filed nails.
    • In addition to being trimmed, a dog's nails may also be filed.
      In addition to being trimmed, a dog's nails may also be filed.