Dog Nail Grinders VS Nail Clippers: Pros And Cons

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Keeping your dog’s nails trimmed is a reality of responsible pet ownership. While it may seem like a daunting task, finding a method that works well for you and your dog can make the process much easier.

So should you go with dog nail grinders or just nail clippers?

Written by Laryn Carter.

Laryn is a Clemson University alumna, with undergraduate studies focused on Animal and Veterinary Sciences.

As a life long animal lover raised on a family hobby farm, she has special interest in both pets and farm animals.

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Nail grinders also referred to as a Dremel tool or Dremel grinder, use a small, rotating section of material similar to sandpaper to grind down a dog’s nails.

Grinders are a slightly more pricey option for your dog’s nail maintenance, ideal for dogs with large, thick nails, or clipper anxiety.

Nail clippers work similarly to a scissor, typically with a small hole or divot where the dog’s nail is placed before squeezing the handle to cut off that section of the nail.

Clippers are a cheap option for quickly and quietly cutting your dog’s nails without electricity.

The Advantages of Using Nail Grinders

Great for Large, Thick nails

Grinders are a good option for large dogs since they have large, thick nails that may not be effectively trimmed by other means.

Because the grinders gently wear away the nail, no matter the size or shape, they are popular for large breed dogs.

Make Smooth, Rounded Nails

Nail grinders grind away excess nail leaving a smooth, shapely nail with no uneven sides or sharp edges.

This can be achieved with or without the use of clippers to remove the majority of nail length beforehand.

An Option for Dogs with Clipper Anxiety

Some dogs are fearful of nail clippers, either due to a negative experience or fear of the unknown.

A potential solution for such dogs is to use a nail grinder, which may be less scary especially after your dog acclimates to the sound and vibration of the grinder.

The Disadvantages of Using Nail Grinders

Nail Grinders can be Loud and Scary

Grinders create noises and vibrations which can be scary, and difficult for some dogs to get used to.

Different models may have varying sound and vibration levels, so you may be able to find one that your dog doesn’t mind.

They create Odor and Dust

As your dog’s nail grinds away, it will create a doggy odor and a lot of dust.

It may be a good idea to wear eye protection and or a mask over your mouth to prevent eye irritation and dust inhalation.

You could Still Hit the Quick

Although some pet owners may believe they won’t be able to hit the quick of their dog’s nail when using a nail grinder, that’s simply untrue.

Using slow, gentle strokes is the key to avoiding hitting your dog’s quick.

The Advantages of Using Nail Clippers

Clippers are Affordable and Wide-Spread

Nail clippers are available in a variety of sizes, styles, and colors in numerous pet, animal, and superstores.

They can be purchased for anywhere between five and fifteen dollars.

They are Quick and Quiet

With a quick snip of the blades, the excess nail is removed in an instant, and the only sound of that will be the soft click of the clippers. 

No Electricity or Batteries Needed

Because clippers are manually operated, you’ll never need any electricity, batteries, or additional tools.

The Disadvantages of Using Nail Clippers

You might Cut your Dog’s Quick

Using clippers can make it easy to accidentally nick the quick of your dog’s nail, especially if they have dark-colored nails.

To avoid this, you should take off small amounts at a time, and keep an eye on the blood supply and shape of your dog’s nail

Nails can Break or become Pinched

Nail clippers that become dull, or even those handled improperly, can break or pinch your dog’s nail rather than cutting it.

Ensuring your clippers are sharp enough, and creating a clean, straight cut can help prevent these issues.

How about both?

One option some pet owners may utilize is using both nail clippers and grinders on their dog.

This is beneficial because the clippers make it easy to take the majority of the excess nail off so that the rough edges can be easily smoothed while a grinder.

Using both types of nail trimmers means that the pet and owner can benefit from all the positives and all the negatives associated with both grinders and trimmers.

You should keep this in mind when considering using either one or both methods of nail trimming.

Photo by Tatiana.