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Investing in the best dog nail files gives you a great alternative for dogs who find clipping a traumatizing experience. Nail files are a handy addition to any pet home grooming kit as they are an inexpensive and non-scary way of grooming your dog's nails at home, meaning you don't need to fork out for costly pet grooming services. The gentle action of this kind of nail care can also be a great way to bond with your best friend.
Although filing a dog's nails takes longer then cutting them with the best dog nail clippers or best dog nail grinder, it's a more pleasant and less noisy experience for your pup. You can also be sure you aren't cutting too far and getting to close to the quick, which can be painful for dogs – see our vet's guide to clipping a dog's nails for more information on this. You will get a more professional looking result using a nail file as it reduces the possibility of peeling or splitting your dog's nails.
Dog nail files are small, typically 6.5 inches long, so they are easy to store and can be taken with you when you are travelling. If you choose a good quality file it won't wear down, no matter how much you use it, meaning many are guaranteed to last you a lifetime.
Files can be used on the nails of any dog, but they are particularly useful for smaller pooches as they can get to places where even grinders may have trouble reaching. They also don't produce the distressing noise some grinders make, meaning it's a calmer experience for your four-legged friend.
The typical advice is that you should file your dog's nail at least once a week, but this depends on how much outdoor activity your pooch gets where harder surfaces like tarmac and concrete will wear them down naturally. If you have a dog that spends most of its time indoors, then you will need to check them regularly to ensure they aren't getting too long.
If you are looking for speed but still to get a perfect finish, nail files can be used in conjunction with dog clippers or scissors – provided your dog has the temperament for it. However you do it, it is the result that is important, as if they are allowed to get too long the nails can start growing into the paws which can cause your furry friend a lot of discomfort. Longer nails are also much more likely to break, which can also be very painful for your pooch.
Below we've gathered the best dog nail files we could find to suit any dog's paw, and in a number of styles guaranteed to match any pooch's grooming kit…
PetsRadar's pick of best dog nail files
- Best overall dog nail file: Coastal Pet Safari Dog Diamond Nail File
- Best budget dog nail file: FACEFOODING Claw Care PET Nail File
- Best stylish dog nail file: Dog Fashion Spa Crystal Nail File
- Best dog nail file for durability: Ryan's Pet Supplies Paw Brothers Diamond Edge Nail File for Dogs
- Best dog nail file for a smooth finish: Awesome Dog Crystal Glass Dog Nail File
Coastal Pet Safari Dog Diamond Nail File
Best overall dog nail file
Material: Stainless Steel | Size: 1 x 1 x 1 inches | Suitable for: All dogs
A great addition to any pet owner's dog grooming kit, the Coastal Pet Safari Dog Diamond Nail File works a treat in filing down sharp edges and lightly shaping a dog's toe nails.
It's not only perfect for nervous dogs but their timid owners too. If you've been putting off trimming your dog's nails because of fear, this handy dog nail file does the job effectively and efficiently thanks to its long length and rounded tip.
Great for thick, tough nails, it's an ideal tool even when you're pooch is visiting a groomer, smoothing out the rough edges effortlessly in-between appointments.
Pet owners report it's long-lasting and durable, so if you're looking for a reliable tool for the job you can't go wrong with this great all-rounder.
If your pet prefers a lighter touch or you're looking for a finer tool, however, this may be too coarse for some.
FACEFOODING Claw Care PET Nail File
Best budget dog nail file
Material: Abrasive paper | Size: 6 x 3.8 x 0.5 inches | Suitable for: Adult dogs
Most dog nail files look pretty similar, but the FACEFOODING Claw Care PET Nail File stands out with its fun and stylish pawprint design.
If you find working with a thin metal file tough work, this tool gives an excellent alternative at a particularly attractive price.
Most pet owners will appreciate the ease of use here; its larger surface area is easy to hold and cheerful to use.
The product could be rougher in texture for a more efficient file, but pups who like a gentle pedicure could just appreciate the softer touch.
At its budget price point you probably can't go wrong with picking up one to see how your dog responds to the larger surface area.
Dog Fashion Spa Crystal Nail File
Best stylish dog nail file
Material: Glass | Size: 6.4 x 1.3 x 0.2 inches | Suitable for: Adult dogs
If you fancy feeling like a professional dog groomer at home, look no further than the Dog Fashion Spa Crystal Nail File. Its stylish black and crystal glass design will make you feel like you've set up your very own dog spa.
Fortunately, it's not just a pretty product but also highly functional for filing nervous dog's nails down to size. The file is strong, sturdy, and rough enough to get the job done, while expect a decent size for tackling larger dog's unruly paws.
Just be careful when handling the product, the crystal glass looks sleek and stylish but can shatter if dropped.
Ryan's Pet Supplies Paw Brothers Diamond Edge Nail File for Dogs
Best dog nail file for durability
Material: Metal | Size: 7 x 1 x 0.5 inches | Suitable for: All dogs
If you're looking for a hard-wearing product that feels thick and sturdy in hand, then Ryan's Pet Supplies Paw Brothers Diamond Edge Nail File could be the tool for you.
It features a comfortable non-slip grip handle featuring adorable pawprints that pet owners love for being easy to use. The product features two sides, coarse and fine, to make it easy to grind the nails then finish.
Then simply pop it under running water, scrub the brush to remove visible debris, disinfect and rinse time after time without causing damage to the nail file.
Only drawback here is that it's slightly more expensive than the leading Coastal Pet Safari Dog Diamond Nail File.
Awesome Dog Crystal Glass Dog Nail File
Best dog nail file for a smooth finish
Material: Crystal glass | Size: 8.1 x 2.2 x 0.9 inches | Suitable for: Ideal for bigger dogs
If your pooch pet has issues with jagged edges, peeling and splitting, then this handy and super stylish tool is ideal for smoothing. Its large, double-sided design makes it ideal for larger dogs who love a good stress-free pedicure.
The file is easy to hold, has two grits and leaves a very smooth finish which prevents cracked and split nails.
However, as with other glass nail files, there is a risk of shattering and breaking so it's not for pet owners who are prone to dropping things!
How to manually file dog nails with a nail file
Once you've added a metal, paper or glass nail file to your grooming kit, getting your dog used to having their paws touched by paw handling is a great way to calm anxiety before you introduce the tool.
Hold your dog’s paw firmly and check the paws thoroughly for debris, ticks, and signs of injury. Then gently use your fingers to spread your dog’s toes from each other so you can hold each nail effectively.
Before you start, consider trimming back hair with scissors first so it doesn't get tangled while you file. Begin by rubbing the tip of the nail with the file, making passes in the same direction so you file the nail bit by bit, keeping an eye on your dog's behavior.
A good idea to calm anxiety in nervous pups is to provide dog treats for doing such a good job, keeping the session short, and offering a comfortable place for your dog to relax while filing is occurring.
Make sure that you file carefully so the affected area does not become overheated from friction. You should aim to file your dog’s nails until the nails are even with your dog’s paw pads when your dog is standing on the ground.
Regularly filing your dog’s nails will ensure it doesn't always take a long time.
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