Meet Sydney (green collar) and Sassy, our newest foster dogs. We think they might be some kind of Corgi/Carolina Dog mix. Whatever they are, they are almost unbearably cute. And like all puppies, the parts that are not ridiculously soft are painfully (and actively) razor sharp. We’re talking teeth and toenails … with a foster mom covered in horrible, tiny red scratches. Luckily, we were recently sent a pair of Zen Clippers to try.
Unless you are a veterinarian or a total weirdo, nail trimming is probably your least favorite dog-care chore. Who among us has not accidentally cut into the quick, causing a yelp, a trail of blood, and a dog who is rendered permanently afraid of nail trimming? And even some dogs who have never been hurt before seem chronically, pathologically afraid of the activity. (Our own Mama Dog falls into this category.) Well, the Zen Clipper completely eliminates the chance of cutting too much and creating a crybaby.
Originally designed for cats and kittens, it has a unique conical, or funnel-shaped, blade. It only allows the tip of the claw to enter the cutting area, stopping WELL before the quick. The result? Only the tip is clipped, and your dog is none the wiser. This foolproof blade means you can avoid that long, tense hovering period, in which you try to line up the nail, not too much, but still enough. You know what I mean, right? Sometimes I think that hovering is more stressful to the dog than the actual cut. I know it is to me. With these, you just jam the nail in, give a light squeeze, and snip! Tip is gone. Dog knows nothing. You move to the next toe before they figure it out. We had all four of Sydney’s feet de-weaponized in less than a minute.
The other thing is that these blades are stainless steel. They are sharp and well engineered, so that they really do snip, rather than crush, which some clippers tend to do. I think that’s why dogs sometimes wince and whine even when you don’t cut their nails too short. Cutting nails with the Zen Clipper is a painless breeze. I think these clippers are a total game changer — except for the single, fairly major downside: They do not come in a size for standard dogs yet.
Because they were designed for cats, the largest of the three sizes will really only work well on dogs less than 20 pounds. (The website says 12 pounds, however.) After breezing through the puppy nails, we tried them out on 35-pound Mama Dog, who has the dainty paws of a smaller breed. While it was, hands down, the easiest, fastest nail-trimming session we have ever had, they did not cut off enough — only her super-pointy tips. We are anxiously, impatiently awaiting the release of larger clippers.
Quality: The stainless steel blades are of a higher quality than most clippers we have tried. The handles, which are like standard scissor handles, are comfortable and easy to use. Overall, great quality.
Style: If you can call any nail trimmers “stylish,” these would be the ones.
Function: The special conical blade, the spring-loaded handle, and the scissor grip add up to make these the best, easiest-to-use clippers we have ever tried. It makes the task painless both for me and the dogs.
Creativity: These are pretty revolutionary for nail trimmers.
Value: The Zen Clippers sell for $23.95, regardless of size. Worth every penny.
Unless you and your dog love nail-clipping time, you need these. Seriously. The stress reduction for me was worth more than twice what these cost. We will order larger ones as soon as they are made available. If you have a tiny dog, get yours, like, yesterday.
Zen Clippers now come in four more sizes, perfect for just about any dog. The clippers come on a card with a built-in size gauge, so you can get just the right fit for your pup. We asked for and were sent the Number 5 to try on our terrier, Mama Dog.
Mama D is insanely afraid of nail trims and so we sometimes resort to just bringing her to the vet and paying them $10 to do it. Well, never again. The big clippers work every bit as well as the puppy size, and all four feet were trimmed within a couple minutes. No fuss, no crying. I am so impressed, I am thinking of ordering all of the other sizes to keep on hand for future foster dogs. And I am throwing away the three other kinds of clippers we have in our pet drawer. Happily.
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About the author: Lisa Seger (who goes by Blue Heron Farm on most social media platforms) is a former office drone turned dairy farmer and cheesemaker. She found that cubicle jobs just didn’t allow for enough quality animal time and so made animals her work instead. Like all dairy farmers, she has virtually NO free time, but what little she gets is generally spent in pursuit of rescuing, fostering, and placing homeless dogs. Or being a smart-alec on the interwebs. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.