Grind Your Dog’s Nails

Trimming your dog’s nails with popular clippers causes your dog pain – yes pain! (Explains why your dog cringes at the very sight of the clippers now doesn’t it?) This article was written to help you explore the benefits of nail grinders as well as a basic primer on teaching you to use them.

Why clippers are bad

Okay, maybe I’m over reacting. Clippers are not “bad”. They serve their purpose but there is something about their use you need to be aware of so you can make better informed decisions on your dog’s nail care. We are all taught to avoid the “quick” of a dog’s nail. The quick being the nerve that lies inside each dog’s nail that bleeds when it is nicked or cut. But did you know that even when used properly (i.e. you successfully avoid hitting the “quick”) you could be causing your dog unnecessary pain? This is because most clippers work with a pinching or squeezing motion that causes the sharp edges to cut the nail. When this action is taken, you inevitably pinch the nerve inside the nail by the simple squeezing motion alone.

Making sure your clippers are as sharp as possible and are of good quality is vital if you have decided to use them. But to avoid the risk of causing your dog pain at those times you’re expecting him to trustingly place his tender paws in your hands, why not use a nail grinder instead?

What is a nail grinder?

A nail grinder is a hand held power tool a bit larger than a big fat pen with a sanding band on the tip that moves at high speeds in a circular motion. Simply stated, it’s basically a mini-sander made specifically for sanding your dog’s nails. Some varieties have various speed selections; some are just on or off settings. Most are noisy but dogs can become used to that with proper desensitizing training (such as having it turned on while petting your dog, but not using it until they are comfortable).

Making your purchase

There are many good types of grinders out there. You can even choose between corded or cordless. The one that sits inside my own personal grooming box is a corded Oster brand nail grinder set as well as a cordless Dremel set. I prefer the corded variety due simply because of the increase in grinding power you just won’t get with most grinders; not any I’ve used anyhow. Cordless varieties certainly have their advantages, however. One big advantage being that they are portable enough to take to dog shows, while traveling on vacation or even just to be able to do this necessary job when you do not have access to electricity for whatever reason.

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  1. Peter,
    Your correct in that I have not tried your product. However, two factors would prevent me from knowing if you had a quality product or not. One – the price is too far out of reach and Two – your product uses the grinding stone versus the grinding bands (sandpaper). I never use a grinding stone as it heats up way too fast and can cause pain to the dog. I only use sanding bands.

    Janet Ford
    Ironwood Kennels
    3rd generation raising and training quality
    Coonhounds & Jack Russell Terriers

  2. This is very useful. I had no idea that trimming your dog’s nails with standard clippers causes your dog pain. Thank you – I will be changing my method from now on!

  3. Thanks for the good advice. My husband cut the quick on my dog’s nail the first time he used the clippers. It bleed for ages. This is a much better way of doing it.

  4. Can’t I find some dog instructions or comments where the writer doesn’t write/speak in “dog talk”. Get to the point and explain it. I’m not a dog, explain yourself as normal. jesus.

  5. Good info but if you go to http://www.doberdawn.com you will get step by step instructions with pictures on the proper way to dremel your best friends nails

  6. Um, black permanent marker? Thank you very much, but i don’t want my dog licking chemicals off her feet.

    some dog lover you are!

  7. Ditto, Linda, poisonous magic marker? Sounds ridiculous! Grinding a dogs’ nails to protect him from pain contradicts finishing it off with the marker. Whew!

  8. Thank you for the idea of putting nails through cloth. I’m going to buy a grinder, the idea of cutting them makes me cringe. I’ve gotten them used to the noise of my own nail filer. Thanks again

  9. I have no idea what “eddie” meant by “dog talk”; I thought the instructions were excellent and easy to understand. I intend to get this product and stop paying $20 to a groomer.

  10. My Bassett hound no longer clicks as he walks across the hard wood floor now that i am able to get his claws short enough.

  11. Eddie’s complaint in July is inexplicable – the whole article seems to me to be completely jargon-free.

  12. Thanks for the very well stated information.

  13. Excellent instrustions — and I will now buy some — I have a Boxer and a Chihuahua — I do their own nails – but they are always nervous, yet I have never cut them or made them bleed. So I do hope it takes the stress out of doing their nails. Thanks.

  14. Geez Eddie, what words did you not understand?

    I was curious about using the cream to help the quick recede.
    Do you put the cream on and then wait 2 weeks or do you wait 2 weeks and then put the cream on a few hours before you use the grinder?

  15. Excellent tips and a great article. Nicely done!
    kcl
    Uralkali

  16. Hope you guys do just as well this year!
    Engine Additive

  17. Seriously good information, here. Thanks for posting it.
    Engine Additive

  18. Hard to trust any information from a source that claims that painting a dog’s nails with a toxic marker is a good idea. The only reason to do that is owner vanity. The dog doesn’t care if it’s nails are looking good, just that they are not uncomfortably long.

    I don’t know if that video was designed to show how NOT to cut a dog’s nails or not. But the guy was using a guillotine style clipper. So that’s the first strike. THOSE are proven to cause damage to nails by cracking them. Scissor style clippers are much better and give you more control. Also the guy only clipped the very tip of the nails. Great for regular keep-the-sharp-bits-down kind of maintenance, but not a full nail grooming.

    If you do it right and have experience, standard scissor style clippers are a great way to groom nails. It is even better if you grind the nails after to shape them as clipping can sometimes leave the nails sharp at the edges. Something you can do with the scissor style is clip from multiple angles, more clips per nail, rounding the edges.

    Also, what most people do is cut the nail at an angle. This is a mistake. The nails should be clipped so that the flat face of the clip should be perpendicular to the ground when the dog is standing. Nails grow from the top, giving the nails a natural curve down. If you cut at the angle prescribed by less experienced groomers and unfortunately on some nail clipper instructions you are not doing yourself or the dog any favours.

    If you are going to make a claim that clipping a dog’s nails causes pain even if you do not cut the quick you should back that up with credible sources. My two decades of grooming experience and education have never provided me with any kind of proof of this claim. That doesn’t mean it’s not out there. If it is I would love to know about it.

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