How to Sharpen Dog Nail Clippers

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Recently I had to replace our dog nail clippers since they were getting dull and not cutting as easily as they should.

When the new clippers showed up, I was planning on swapping the new for the old, but I couldn’t help thinking that it seemed wasteful, so I put them back in the bin.

Later I mentioned it to my husband, who suggested we sharpen the old ones instead of just tossing them out. I’m not sure why I had never thought to sharpen the clippers; they are blades just like any other.

So, the big question was how to sharpen dog nail clippers, which I took a wee bit of time and learned that was pretty darn easy.

Since I knew I couldn’t be the only pet parent out there who didn’t know how to sharpen dog nail clippers, I thought it would be fun to share what I learned.

Related: What to Do If Your Dog Won’t Let You Cut Their Nails

How Often Do Nail Clippers Need to Be Replaced?

A high-quality dog nail clipper that is properly maintained and sharpened can last several years. However, cheaper, less sturdy clippers will need to be replaced more frequently.

Additionally, depending on how many dogs you have in your household also matters. I have four dogs, so my clippers wear down a lot faster.

And the size and thickness of your dog’s nails matter, too; Mira, who is young, has tiny nails, whereas Calvin and Sophie are seniors and their nails are thick.

Why Sharpen Instead of Replacing Your Dog Nail Clippers

I know that replacing your clippers sounds easier than sharpening, but as it turns out, sharpening your clippers is pretty simple too.

The two primary factors for sharpening clippers instead of replacing them are cost and earth-friendliness.

Though you don’t need to take out a second mortgage on your home for dog nail clippers, they still cost between $6.99-$27.99.

And when it comes to nail clippers, you don’t want to always go with the cheapest option. I prefer the Safari Nail Clippers, the scissor-style, they cost around $12.50, so pretty middle of the road.

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When it comes to earth friendliness, it may seem like a small thing, but anything I can save from going into a landfill somewhere I prefer to keep.

Plus, the lack of eco-friendliness when it comes to manufacturing and shipping these products.

Related: Help! My Dog’s Toenail Ripped Off!

How Often Should You Sharpen Dog Nail Clippers?

That depends on the use and your dog’s nails; if you notice the nail clippers require greater effort to cut through the nail or the nail is being bent or not cut smoothly, then it is time to sharpen the clippers.

Or, if you notice any divot in the blade, it is best to sharpen them and smooth the blade out.

And, you can always be proactive and sharpen them on a schedule too instead of waiting for them to become dull.

How to Sharpen Dog Nail Clippers

There are different methods to sharpening your clippers. The method you choose will depend on the sharpening tool you use.

Here are a few options for sharpening tools:

Tools for sharpening your nail clippers can range between $7.99-$29.99, which is pretty close to the cost of a new clipper, so it is cheaper in the long run.

Plus, a lot of people already have sharpeners in their home that will work.

There are two methods for sharpening your clippers, manual or electric. For both ways, it may be easiest to take your clipper apart first.

However, depending on the tool and clipper, it might be possible to skip this step.

Related: How to Cut a Dog’s Nails without Clippers

Method 1 – Manual Sharpener

Step 1 – Clean the blades of any debris

Step 2 (a)Guillotine-style nail clippers often have a blade release button located between the handles.

  • Press the release button and gently tap the side of the clipper to loosen the blade
  • Next, press the handles together, as if you were cutting your dog’s nails, the blade should extend.
  • The blade should remain out after releasing the handles. Grasp the blade and gently pull it out.

Step 2 (b) Scissor-style clippers usually have a nut and screw that hold the two pieces together. Using pliers and screwdriver, remove these, and the clippers should come apart easily.

Step 3 – Taking your preferred file, hold it against the blade’s base at the same angle as the blade. If you place the file at a 90-degree angle, it will dull not sharpen the nail clippers.

Step 4 – Moving the file in only one direction, pull the file across the blade; you do not need a lot of pressure when doing this.

Step 5 – Repeat about three times, then depending on the file’s size, move the file to the next section of the blade and repeat until you have sharpened the full length of the clipper blade.

After three passes, check the blade if it needs more, then repeat step 5 until you reach the desired sharpness.

It is also important to note that it is essential to use a rounded file to fit the blade’s natural curvature.

Method 2 – Dremel

Follow steps 1 and 2 from above then:

Step 3 – Using medium to fine grit attach the bit

Step 4 – Start your Dremel and adjust to a comfortable speed

Step 5 – Holding the Dremel at the blade’s angle, starting at the base, lightly run the blade along the Dremel bit. Remember, only run the blade in one direction.

After making 2-3 passes check your blade for sharpness, repeat accordingly.

Related: How to Trim Dog Nails with a Dremel

Both Methods

Step 6 – Using a damp cloth, clean the blade, then dry it with a paper towel.

Step 7 – Reassemble the nail clipper

Step 8 – If you oil your blade, do so now, then store your nail clipper in a dry area

How to Maintain Dog Nail Clippers

Maintaining the clippers means cleaning them off with a damp towel and drying them to remove any dirt or debris.

You can also oil the blades to help reduce corrosion.


It only takes a few minutes to sharpen your clippers.

Initially, I thought it would be a pain. But in truth, it takes less than 15 minutes from start to finish, and that’s with taking your dog nail clipper apart to sharpen them.

And if you take the time to maintain the nail clippers after each use, you will extend the life of clippers and reduce the number of times you need to sharpen them.

How to Sharpen Dog Nail Clippers Pinterest

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