One of the things that most dog owners often wonder is whether their dog’s nails are too long.
Are they hurting them? Do they need trimming? If so, where do you start?
Most dogs are reluctant to have their nails trimmed which makes the task even more difficult and taking them to the vets or the groomers to have them done can sometimes add even more stress.
Thankfully, a dog nail grinder can make the task a little easier to achieve from home.
They work by mechanically filing the tips of the nails, they are quicker than a manual file and pose less risk than traditional nail clippers.
We’ve put together a handy guide on:
- Where to start
- How to use a nail grinder
- Dog toe nail anatomy
- The best dog nail grinders reviewed
- Buyer’s Guide
|Nail Grinder||Our Rating||Price Range|
|Dremel 7300 Dog Nail Grooming Tool||$$$|
|Andis 65880 EasyClip Nail Grinder||$$$|
|Oster Less Stress Nail Grinder||$$|
|Conair PRO Corded Dog Nail Tool||$$$|
|URPOWER Rechargeable USB Nail Trimmer Clipper||$$|
Our Choice – Best Dog Nail Grinder
What Is A Dog Nail Grinder?
A nail grinder is a handheld device, sometimes corded but often cordless, that uses a small rotating section of material to grind down your dog’s nails.
The rotating piece can be made from a range of materials. The durability of this material will affect how often you need to replace it and how effective it is on hard, thick nails.
When used correctly, this tool will shorten the nail and leave it with a smooth, rounded finish.
Some owners prefer the smooth finish to to the sharp edges that are left behind from clippers. You’re less likely to have scratched furniture, legs or holes in tights with nail grinders.
They are also great for hard and thick nails which can be difficult to clip. Not only that but they can be a saving grace if your dog is wary of nail clippers from a previous bad experience.
Some dogs can be nervous of the sound and sensation of nail grinders. It is best to introduce it from a young age (where possible) to avoid any negative reactions.
Dog Nail Grinder vs Clipper
Nail Grinder Pros and Cons
- Smooth finish
- Perfect for hard to clip or thick nails
- Great for dogs who dislike clippers
- Causes dust
- Noisy and odd sensation
- Still easy to grind into the quick
Nail Clipper Pros and Cons
- Quick and quiet
- Requires no batteries or charging
- Easy to cut into the quick
- Can pinch the nail
- Can result in breakage if not well-maintained
How to Trim Dog Nails: A Step By Step Guide
Before you purchase a dog nail grinder, it is worth understanding how to use one. Pet parents can successfully trim their dog’s nails, just follow our step-by-step guide.
1. Socialization – Touch Your Dog’s Paws
As part of his puppy socialization, he should have gotten used to being handled.
He should tolerate his whole body being touched (including his paws).
If you have adopted an older dog – it is never too late to start this socialization (just start slowly).
When he is calm, briefly touch his paws. Praise and reward him. Providing he’s tolerating it and not showing any signs of stress, continue to touch and handle his paws.
You can give him a chew (if you think this serves as a better distraction).
You want him to learn than being touched is fine. Once he’s comfortable being touched and handled on his paws, you can consider introducing the grinder.
2. Introduce The Nail Grinder
With the grinder switched off, just let your dog sniff and explore the item. He may show no interest because it’s simply not doing anything.
This is great.
Next, with your dog in the same area as the grinder, turn the grinder on and watch for your dog’s response. Throw some treats onto the floor so he associates the noise of the grinder with something good.
3. Praise and Reward Tolerating The Grinder
Providing they are tolerating the noise of the grinder, and are not becoming anxious, wary, nervous or equally boisterous and hyper-aroused, you can move the grinder towards him and simply rest the grinder on his body or paw.
You want him to tolerate the vibration of the device. Praise and reward him.
If you are confident your dog is tolerating the noise and vibration of the device, now is the time to consider grinding his nails.
4. Start Grinding The Nails
For the first few attempts, grind perhaps a millimeter off one of his nails. Don’t attempt to do any more. Short sessions with plenty of praise and reward are crucial.
As the weeks go on and your dog continues to tolerate the sensation and movement of the device you can get to grips with fully trimming his nails.
Just like with nail clippers, it is possible to grind into the quick.
The quick is the pink/red part of the nail which is a blood vessel. Dog nails also contains a nerve, so if you cut into it, it will hurt your pooch. He will yelp and bleed and you will lose all confidence.
Dog Toe Nail Anatomy
Dogs have nails for grip, although they may not climb as many hills as they did historically, they still need grip for cornering and running with their buddies.
Whilst dogs need nails, they shouldn’t be excessively long. The tip of their nail should, at most, be in line with their pad.
Some dogs with long nails have excessively long quicks. In this instance, you should only use your dog nail grinder to grind to the quick – any further and you will cause bleeding.
For dogs with black nails it is difficult to see where the quick is.
It can help if you ask someone to shine a torch behind the nail, you can see the shadow of the blood supply. More accidents happen with dogs having black nails, so be patient and continuously check as you are grinding.
If you do accidently cut into the quick, have some styptic powder on hand as this will stop the bleeding quickly.
How often you will need to grind your dog’s nails will depend on his activity and lifestyle:
- Dog’s who frequently play or run on hard standing will file their own nails down as they move
- Sedentary or older pets will need attention more regularly
Your dog’s nails should never get to the stage that they start curling around or splaying out as they walk.
If you are unsure in any aspect of caring for your canine’s nails, seek advice from your veterinarian or a qualified groomer.
So now you know what to do, and what not to do, it helps if you have a quality grooming tool to work with. We have compiled our top 5 based on industry experience and customer reviews.
The Best 5 Dog Nail Grinders Reviewed
1. Dremel 7300 Dog Nail Grooming Tool
This grinder has two speeds which can be a great help if you think you are getting close to the quick. Start off with the quick speed to remove the length, then use the slower option for safety.
Being cordless you can grind the nails anywhere Fido is comfortable; you don’t have to worry about being near a plug.
The battery can be fully charged in 3 hours meaning you don’t have to plan your grooming days in advance.
2. Andis 65880 EasyClip Nail Grinder
Being a heavyweight in the grooming world, Andis have considered the user in this design. Its silicone sleeve and ergonomic design make it comfortable to use and a dream to control.
A corded design, the Andis is great if you are worrying about a cordless running out of power.
Marketed for smaller dogs and cats, it may not be suitable for large breeds or those with hard nails, but, customer reviews are saying the opposite with reports of great success with Pitbulls and Malamutes.
The Andis is perfect for wary owners as it has a build in safety feature which stops the grinder if hair gets caught or too much pressure is applied.
Loved by professional groomers and owners alike, Andis have again produced a top-notch product.
3. Oster 2-Speed Less Stress Nail Grinder
With a built-in safety guard, this helps ensure you don’t trim too much off your dog’s nail – perfect for those more wary owners (the guard also catches the dust for less mess on your carpet).
The Oster Gentle paws comes with 4 different bands for grinding, including coarse stone and fine, giving you all the kit you need, to tackle your dog’s nails.
Just be mindful that not all nails will fit through the safety guard, so you may need to remove it to use. This is a popular dog nail grinder at an affordable price.
4. Conair PRO Corded Dog Nail Tool
5. URPOWER Rechargeable USB Nail Trimmer Clipper
Our bargain option is the URPOWER nail grinder. Again a cordless grinder, meaning you can groom your dog where he lays. A full battery will last you a whopping three hours. Its diamond grind stone means you will never have to buy a replacement. More suitable for small breeds, so if you have a large breed with hard or thick nails, this may not be the purchase for you.
What To Look For In A Dog Nail Grinder
Still Not Sure Which Grinder To Go For?
We have got some things for you to consider when choosing your perfect tool.
Corded or Cordless?
If you have a nervous dog, you may prefer a cordless grinder as you can grind wherever he lays as opposed to luring him next to the plug.
You may also prefer a cordless as they are often easier to control.
If you have a dog with thick or hard nails, you may prefer a corded grinder as you’ll often get more power for a longer period of time.
One or Two Speed?
Ideally you want a grinder with two speeds.
The faster speed can efficiently reduce the nail length, then you can swap to the slower speed to carefully grind closer to the quick.
You can also use the slower speed during introductions to the grinder. The slower speed is often ample to grind a puppy’s softer nails too.
Whether you choose a grinder with a safety guard will depend on your confidence in the task.
You may learn to use a grinder initially with a guard on and then remove it as you get more confident.
The guard does give a good indication on where to trim, but, as all dog’s nails and quicks are different, they are sometimes moot.
Ultimately, you want a grinder that is comfortable to hold and easy to control.
If your dog is a little less active, or does not spend much time on a hard-standing then his nails can get a little long.
To keep them comfortable we do need to monitor them and trim them if necessary.
If a dog has had a bad experience with nail clippers, a dog nail grinder can be a great alternative. Not only that, but, they can be the safer option when avoiding the quick.
Introduce the nail grinder slowly and use plenty of praise and reward.
Choose the best dog nail grinder that will suit you as the operator, and your dog, whether this is corded, cordless, with a safety guard or without.