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Home > Dogs > How to Sharpen Dog Nail Clippers: 7 Tips & Tricks

How to Sharpen Dog Nail Clippers: 7 Tips & Tricks

a dog groomer clipping a dog's toe nail

Keeping your dog’s nails trimmed is an important part of the grooming process and most experts recommend that nails are clipped every 2–3 months or when you can hear them clicking against wood or solid floors. However, many dogs are resistant to the process, making it a challenge to cut the nails and potentially even leading to injury as well as distress.

One of the easiest ways to ensure that the trimming goes as smoothly as possible is to ensure a sharp, effective set of dog nail clippers. The sharper they are, the easier they cut, which means the process goes quickly and smoothly and there is actually less risk of causing an injury to your dog.

Below are seven tips and tricks to help sharpen dog nail clippers and to keep them sharp.


The 7 Tips on How to Sharpen Dog Nail Clippers

1. Disassemble the Clippers

There are different styles of dog nail clippers but all benefit from being taken apart for sharpening. This enables you to sharpen the whole length of the blade, and it is usually quite easy to disassemble. Guillotine clippers have a release button while scissor clippers have a screw that needs loosening.

Pet nail clippers in human hands
Image Credit: Garna Zarina, Shutterstock

2. Clean the Blades

Before you start sharpening, ensure the blades are fully clean. Dirty blades don’t cut efficiently, and you could be left with blunt sections on the blades once you’ve finished. Use a damp cloth to get rid of debris and then dry with a paper towel.

3. Use a Manual Sharpener

Manual sharpening tool options include a sharpening file, a sharpening rod, or a fishhook sharpener. All of these do the same job, and it will come down to personal preference for which tool you use. Hold the sharpener against the blade and parallel to the blade. Don’t hold it at an angle or you will dull the blade rather than sharpen it. Pull the sharpener across the blade in one direction. Repeat the process two or three times and then move to another section of the blade and repeat the process until you have completed the whole blade.

Sharpening stick with black handle isolated on white
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

4. Use a Dremel

Alternatively, you can use a Dremel or other hand multitool. Use a grit that is medium to fine in texture, start the Dremel, and then hold the tool parallel to the direction of the blade and run it along the length of the blade. Once you reach the end of the blade, stop and repeat the process, but don’t run the Dremel back across the blade.

5. Clean Clippers When You’re Finished with Them

Once you’ve finished, use a damp cloth to clean any metal files and other debris from the blade and then dry with a paper towel.

Damp cloth with cleaning agent
Image Credit: Aleksey Matrenin, Shutterstock

6. Oil Blades Regularly

It is also a good idea to apply a little lubricant oil to the blades. This helps ensure that they close smoothly and can help prevent rusting while maintaining sharpness for longer.

7. Sheath the Blades When Not in Use

If the dog nail clippers came with a sheath or holder, put this back on when you aren’t using the clippers. Otherwise, try and find somewhere to keep them where the blades won’t be covered in dust, dirt, and debris.


Do You Need to Sharpen Dog Nail Clippers?

Dull nail clippers tend to tear the nail away rather than cut it. This causes the pulling of the nail, which is painful. Not only will it make the cutting process difficult at the time, but your dog will be more reluctant to have its nails cut in the future, too. While some people choose to use clippers a few times and then replace them when they dull, it is easier and cheaper, in the long run, to buy a sharpening tool and regularly sharpen the blades.

How Do I Know If the Blades Are Sharp?

Sharp clippers will make quick work of a dog’s nail and they will make a clean cut. Dull blades may take several passes to cut a single nail and they will leave a torn surface rather than a clean cut. You may also notice your dog trying to pull away if you’re using dull clippers because they will be able to feel the nail pulling.

chihuahua having its claws clipped with dog nail clippers
Image Credit: padu_foto, Shutterstock

How Often Should You Sharpen Dog Nail Clippers?

Assuming that you trim your dog’s nails every couple of months, and it only takes a couple of minutes at a time, the clippers shouldn’t need sharpening more than every 6 months. If you have multiple dogs or use them more often than this, you will need to adjust your sharpening schedule accordingly.



Long claws can be really uncomfortable for dogs, and it is important we trim them every couple of months. Avoid cutting them too short, make sure your dog is calm throughout the process, and use good-quality clippers that are nice and sharp. Dull clippers tear and pull at the nail which can be painful, and if your dog experiences a painful claw clipping session, it will be less inclined to have its nails trimmed in the future.

Use a manual sharpening tool or a tool like a Dremel to sharpen the blades and repeat the process roughly every six months while also keeping the clippers in good, clean condition between trims.

Featured Image Credit: Oleggg, Shutterstock

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