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Dog Nail Grinder vs Clipper: Which One Is Better?

Dog nail grinder

Trimming a dog’s nails is a nerve-wracking job, and with all the equipment options out there, it can become a head-scratcher as well. A grinder and a clipper are the two most popular tools many dog owners tend to opt into. They both come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages, so keep reading until the end to find out which one is right for you and your pup.

Why is dog nail trimming essential?

Dog’s nail hygiene is an integral part of pet grooming that shouldn’t be ignored no matter what. Unfortunately, many dog owners hesitate to trim their dog’s nails because either they don’t know how and are afraid to do it themselves or simply can not make the dog cooperate. Whatever the reason is, it results in unkempt nails, which can lead to various health problems for the dog.


If dogs’ nails grow too long, they start making a click-clack sound whenever they walk on the wooden flooring. They also make it difficult for the dog to stand or walk because the claws constantly get in between the paw and the ground. Other signs of overgrown nails can include whining, limping, and in severe cases – even bleeding.


To maintain a healthy shape, it is recommended to trim the dog’s nails every three to four weeks. Professional groomers have always been a popular solution for this task, but it’s more budget-friendly if you learn to do it yourself. In addition, many dogs may feel less stressed if it’s their owner doing the clipping rather than a stranger.

Dog nail anatomy

Understanding the anatomy of a dog’s nail is vital to ensure safe trimming. Dog nails consist of two parts: the hard outer and the soft inner parts. The outer part is the horn-like nail that you see protruding from the dog’s paw; that is the part we want to trim. The soft inner part is also known as the nail quick. This part is the innervated, vascularized core of the nail bed. Here, the nerves and blood vessels reside, which nourishes the nails, helping the nail grow. The nail quick also aids sensation due to the presence of nerves.


The dog will not feel the pain when trimming the outer nail part. However, when you cut the nail quick, it will start bleeding, and the dog will feel the pain. Spotting nail quick is easier in dogs with light nails than dark nails.

Tips for grinding dog nails

Nail grinding, also known as nail buffing, is a method to shorten the dog nails by filing them with a specific tool called the grinder. Grinders, also known as ‘dremels,’ consist of small, rotating sections powered by electricity that wear down the dog’s nail using friction. Grinders have a cylindrical body with a rotating head to shorten and smoothen the dog’s nails.

If you don’t know how to grind dog nails, follow the tips below to hone your dog nails effortlessly.


  • Hold the dog’s paw gently and push out the nail using your finger.
  • For a firmer grip, hold the grinder near to the moving head.
  • Keep the fur away to avoid getting detangled in the grinding tool.
  • Bring the grinder near, and start grinding the tip and bottom of the nail. Keep an eye on rough edges and smooth them evenly.
  • Keep the process slow and grind small parts at once.

Dog Nail Grinder: Pros and Cons


  • A nail grinder is suitable if your dog’s nails are hard and thick.
  • It is perfect for giving a smooth finish to the nails with sharp edges.
  • A nail grinder doesn’t induce anxiety, like a clipper.
  • The grinder doesn’t require much force; hence, it is easy to use.
  • It makes it easier to avoid overcutting the nails, as it is a gradual process rather than an instant cut.


  • A nail grinder generates a sound; hence it can intimidate dogs afraid of noises.
  • Grinding nails causes dust and odor. The dust needs to be cleaned up, adding another chore to your to-do list.
  • Since the grinder is electrically powered, you need to make sure that the grinder is always charged.

Tips for Clipping Dog Nails

Clipping is another method of trimming dog nails. Dog nail clippers are made of stainless steel blades that are sharp enough to slice off the dog nails. Clippers come in different shapes and sizes, each of them with its own particular features. For example, the scissor clippers work like scissors. This clipper has smaller clefts, thus easier to grasp the dog’s nails.


On the other hand, it requires more force input hence suitable for bigger dogs. Guillotine-style clippers have a stationery indentation where the dog nail is positioned. When you compress the handles, blade moves that cut the dog nails

Here are the essential tips to follow when clipping a dog’s nails.


  • Make your dog used to physical contact by touching their paws often.
  • First, make them familiar with the clipper by letting them sniff and inspect it.
  • Gently touch the clipper to the dog’s paw without using it to cut.
  • Once the dog is calm, cut the very tip of one nail front.
  • If the dog is still at peace, continue clipping nails one by one.

Dog Nail Clippers: Pros and Cons


  • Unlike grinders, clippers do not produce any external noises.
  • Dog nail grinders tend to work well on fewer patients and easily distract dogs.
  • They are not electrically powered, instead require manual force. Hence you can clip dog nails anywhere.
  • Nail clippers are more budget-friendly and have served the purpose for a long time.


  • Cutting the nails in one go increases the chances of cutting it too deep.
  • Blades used in the nail clippers wear out over time and require replacement.
  • Does not produce a smooth finish. Clipped nails often look coarse and uneven and may require filing.

Dog Nail Grinder VS Clipper: Which is the best choice?

Which tool is the best for you and your pup depends on your skills and your dog’s behavior. If noises easily trigger your dog, opt for a dog clipper. Clipping is also quicker than grinding, so you don’t have to hold the dog down for a long time.


On the other hand, if your dog has a calm and laid-back personality and isn’t bothered by external noise, you should go for the grinder as it trims the nails slowly, producing a smoother finish. It is important to note that the grinder is a safer option when working on black nails as it provides a better feel of where the quick is.


Nail clippers let you enjoy the speed of the process; the grinder gives you more safety and control. Some owners tend to use both – clippers for trimming off the nails and a grinder for smoothing out uneven edges. Whatever choice you make, be sure to be cautious and pay attention to your pup’s behavior to ensure maximum safety. Also, reward your canine friend with a treat for being the best boy!

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