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Should You Use a Nail Grinder on Your Dog’s Nails?

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So many of us (me included) have trouble clipping our dogs’ nails. I’m a former dog groomer, and I still hate clipping Kilo’s nails, mainly because she hates it so much.  It’s a necessary evil that has to be done to keep our fur kids healthy.

I have thought a while about trying a nail grinder for my dogs’ nails. I wanted one small enough to work well on Kilo the chihuahua and my sugar gliders’ nails too,  but large enough to work for my big dogs. I also wanted it to be quiet. I know they all have to make some noise, but some are quieter than others.

So, should you use a nail grinder on your dog’s nails?

Nail Clippers Versus Nail Grinder

When you learn how to use a nail grinder on your dog’s nails properly, you will find that it is a perfectly safe alternative to nail clippers. One of the biggest advantages of a nail grinder over nail clippers is safety. When you grind your dog’s nails, you do so in short and quick spurts. This gives you ample time to see the quick of the dog’s nail before you cut it, which is hard to do when you are clipping the nails.

Pros and Cons of a Nail Grinder

Below you will find a few pros and cons to using a nail grinder over nail clippers for your dog’s nails.


  • Good for dogs who may get anxious when it is time to clip their nails
  • Helps achieve round, smooth nails, so there are no sharp edges
  • If your dog has thick nails, the grinder can easily grind them down while it may be a challenge to use clippers
  • Usually comes with a safety guard to help protect your dog’s paw


  • It is still possible to hit the quick if you aren’t careful
  • Grinders can be loud and can sometimes scare your pup
  • When grinding your dog’s nails, there may be a smell and dust. So, you may want to grind their nails outside or wear a mask while doing so

Ultimately, it is really up to what you prefer, and which method will work best with your dog’s personality. If you have a skittish dog that is scared easily, then you may want to consider the nail clippers instead of a grinding tool, or it may be a challenge every time you need to trim their nails.

Whichever you decide, you need to take your time, go slowly, and only do a little bit at a time to avoid the quick. Once you begin clipping a small part of the nails, the quick begins to retract from the nail’s edge. This will make it easier to clip more the next week. Avoid clipping or grinding too much of the nail at a time.

Other Dog Nail Grinder Features to Consider


We all want our pets to be safe, so safety should be a top priority no matter what we purchase for them. Find a nail grinder that has a safety guard included. This helps ensure that you don’t cut the nails down too far and protects the dog’s paw while you are grinding their nails. The safety guard allows you to see how far down you are grinding the nails.

Noise Level

Having a grinder or Dremel tool that is too loud can startle your pup and make it harder for them to sit still while you are trimming their nails. So, try to find a dog nail grinder that is quiet and under fifty decibels.

Easy to Use

You don’t want to fight with your dog nail grinder, so find a grinding tool that is easy to use and comfortable to hold. It shouldn’t be too big or too bulky, especially since you also have to hold your dog’s paw in your hand as well.

Power Source

When choosing a dog nail grinder, it is also a good idea to find a battery-operated grinder, so you aren’t limited to where the nail trimming takes place. It is also much more portable so you can have easy nail grooming as needed.

I was asked if I wanted to try out the Almago Pet Nail Grinder. I wasn’t paid to do this review, but I did get the grinder at a discount.  It looked to have the qualifications I wanted and has a 5-star rating and good reviews.


  • It fits comfortably in my hand
  • It has two sides, one for larger nails and one for smaller nails. (see photo to the right)
  • It was pretty quiet


  • It took longer to use than dog nail clippers. You only touch it to the nail for several seconds at a time, so it definitely took longer than just clipping it.
  • It uses batteries instead of being electric. Actually, this is a mixed blessing. I don’t like having to buy new batteries for it. But the cord wasn’t in the way, and I can use it anywhere without having to be close to an electrical socket.

Usually, it takes both my son and me to do Kilo’s nails. One of us has to hold her, and the other does the clipping. However, she doesn’t seem to mind the nail grinder at all. My son Ryan and I both gave it a try, and we were able to do her nails without the aid of the other.

That alone is enough for me to recommend giving a pet nail grinder a try in general, and I do recommend getting the Almago Pet Nail Grinder. Sometimes they sell out, so if they are out of stock, this one looks just like it and has great reviews.

Trimming Your Dog’s Nails

If you are a dog owner, then you know how frustrating and challenging it can be when it comes time to cut your dog’s nails. We are sure you also feel a tad bit anxious because of the horror stories you may have heard about cutting the nails too short and the quick.

The quick is a vein or a nerve that runs into each nail. If you nick this, it can be a bloody mess, and your canine companion may lose trust in you when it comes to nail trimming time. Even some of the most experienced dog owners have found themselves at one time or another accidentally running into this problem when nail grinding and nail trimming. It is especially difficult to tell where the quick is exactly when your dog has black nails and are darker in color.

If you cut the quick, it is good to have some styptic powder on hand to help stop the bleeding. The styptic powder contains astringents and antihemorrhagic agents that promote coagulation and can help stop the bleeding quickly.

Tips for Nail Trimming

  • Nail trimming should be done when your dog is calm and relaxed. Taking them for a nice walk right before is a good idea as well.
  • Before nail trimming, inspect your dog’s paw to make sure it is free of any dirt and debris.
  • You should then hold your dog firmly but gently in place during the nail trimming, so they stay still and safe.
  • You can then use the nail grinder or nail clippers taking care to avoid the quick. If you accidentally cut into the quick, use the styptic powder to stop the bleeding
  • When you use a nail grinder, you can round out and smooth the dog’s nails nicely. However, if you use nail clippers or another kind of nail trimmer, you will want to take the time to use an emery board to round off and smooth their nails before you let them go.

Have you ever used a nail grinder on your dog’s nails? Or would you consider using one? Let me know your experience in the comments!

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Barbara Betancourt

Saturday 20th of June 2020

Hi Kathy, yes I am thinking on buying one, one time I clip my little Snowy nails and hit the quick, I got so scare, ever since than I have been taking him to the salon to have his nails clip. I still will purchase the nail grinder and try it, since Snowy is all white it is easy to see where the quick is, he moves around a lot. Wish me luck.


Saturday 4th of January 2020

I use a grinder after I clip the nails so they aren’t as sharp! My little girl is a princess and lets me both cut and file her nails! I love the grinder but find it takes to long that’s why I clip first lol


Saturday 4th of January 2020

Yeah that's the main drawback of it, the time. But I like the idea of using a grinder after clipping to reduce the sharpness of the nail. Thanks for sharing that tip Katrina.

Margaret Chisholm

Friday 4th of August 2017



Thursday 3rd of August 2017

I'd try the one I mentioned in the article Margaret. Kilo did very well with it and she used to always bite me when I used nail clippers.

Margaret Chisholm

Friday 4th of August 2017

Thank you very much Cathy ?

Margaret Chisholm

Thursday 3rd of August 2017

Hi Cathy I am considering getting a nail grinder but there's so many to choose from. I tried to trim my 10 year old chihuahuas nails at the caravan the other day and she bit me. I left it for a bit and tried again but she still tried to bite me. I used to take her to the vet but he just waded in and cut them far too short and some of her nails were bleeding. I took her 3 times and decided to do it myself and take a little of as her nails are very black. She doesn't wear them down as she is only 5lb in weight. I thought I was making progress as she didn't bite me the last time. But obviously not! She gets a treat after it too but she must be too scared hates it!