Who gets more stressed when it’s time to trim your dog’s nails?
You or your doggo?
I’ll bet you both do!
And who can blame us or them? I mean so much can go wrong with just one clip.
And once your dog has had a bad experience (like having their quick accidentally clipped), it’s almost impossible to convince them that next time will be better.
The good news is, nail grinders make giving your dog a pedi easier and safer.
If you’re in a hurry, check out my favorite dog nail grinder on Amazon.
And with positive training, you’ll have your pooch ready for a pedi in no time. But more on that later.
Using a dog nail grinder has changed the way my dogs view nail grooming. And they get super excited when the grinder comes out!
But, what is the best dog nail grinder? That’s the million dollar question!
And, if you’ve done even a little digging, you’ll know there are hundreds to choose from.
So today I’m going to break down 4 of the most popular dog nail grinders for you.
Not only that, I’ll also give you a step-by-step guide on how to get your dog to enjoy a pedi with a nail grinder. So keep reading!
So What’s a Nail Grinder Anyway?
A nail grinder is a grooming tool which is a handy alternative to the regular nail clipper.
A lot of times you’ll hear folks talk about “dremeling” their dog’s nails. This is in reference to a Dremel which is a handheld grinding tool.
There are many different manufacturers of nail grinders, Dremel being just one of them.
Instead of clipping nails, a dog nail grinder runs a motor and has a grinding attachment (sanding bit) made from sandpaper to gently grind away at the nail.
All things considered, a nail grinding tool for dog’s simplifies the often stressful experience of nail trimming.
4 Reasons You’ll Want to Use a Nail Grinder
Great for fearful dogs. If your dog has had a bad experience with nail clippers in the past, the chances of them being cool with round two, is zero to none. Alas, it’s pretty easy to accidentally clip your dog’s quick (nail cuticle), especially if they have dark nails. A nail grinder makes it much easier to avoid injuring the nail quick.
More precision. A nail grinder allows you to shave off a small piece of nail at a time. This gives you more precision without needing surgeon-steady hands.
Smooth, rounded nails. Nail clippers will leave your doggo with jagged nails. But with a nail grinder you can smooth and round your dog’s nails. This means no snagging on skin, carpets and furniture.
No more cracked nails. Even with the greatest care, a nail clipper can crack your dog’s nails. This is especially true for doggo’s with hard, thick nails. A nail grinder puts no pressure on the nail!
4 Challenges with Using a Dog Nail Grinder
Your dog will have fears to begin with. Even if your pooch is super well trained, you’ll need to put in work to get them used to this nail grooming technique. Keep reading to see my step-by-step guide on how to do this successfully.
You could STILL hit the quick. Yes, you’ll still need to be vigilant not to hit the quick. But with a nail grinder this is so much easier to avoid. If you see a small white dot appear, stop grinding!
Grinders get H.O.T. You’ll need to avoid staying in one position for too long. If you do, your dog’s nail will start to heat up causing them pain. So the rule of thumb is, no more than two second in the same spot.
The vibrating sound. Since a nail grinder runs on a motor there is a chance your pooch won’t be too happy with the sound. But in all honesty, if you do proper positive training this won’t be a problem.
What is the Best Dog Nail Grinder – Reviews
A few of these grinders come highly rated and will assist you in keeping your dog’s nails in tip top shape.
Each one comes with it’s own features and you’ll need to decide what’s the most important for you and your pooch.
Perhaps you need extra light, so one with an LED would make sense. Multiple grinding speeds or rechargeable batteries are also things to consider.
I share the pros and cons of each grinder and also my two cents opinion on each one.
Oster Professional Corded Pet Nail Grinder Kit
Speed (RPM): Variable Speeds 0 to 20 000
Power Source: Electrical
Sanding Bits: 1 x Grinding stone, 2 x 60-grit and 2 x 100-grit
This nail grinder from Oster is my top pick. If I wasn’t using my Dremel 4000 with Flexi Shaft, I’d be using this one from Oster.
The design and shape makes this grinder easy to handle. And there’s no clumpy battery to throw off the balance.
For such a feature packed grinder it really is lightweight. And the finger grips to make more handling comfortable for you.
It has an auto-off safety feature which I think it pretty neat! If you press down too hard on your dog’s nail, the unit will shut down.
The fact that it’s electrical already makes it a lot quieter than the battery operated units. And the quiet motor of the Oster nail grinder is a definite plus feature.
It’s not only quiet, it’s also very powerful with low torque. It does a super job on even tough nails.
Of all the nail grinders reviewed here, this one is the most professional by far. It’s my favorite and boasts the most intelligent design.
The unit has a range of variable speeds from zero to 20 000 RPM. And in my opinion, this is the best feature.
Having speed options is great when you’re working with a skittish pooch. And it’s a real help when you’re rounding off those nails to a smooth finish.
The entire kit comes in a handy case for easy storage. It might not be a big deal in terms of performance, but it’s nice to have a case to keep your grinder and it’s attachments in one easy to grab case.
Nothing is perfect though so after some digging I found that a few users complained about the speed increasing suddenly. This is a problem of course. But there’s a great return policy on Amazon. And Oster giver a 1 year warranty too.
The Oster nail grinder is lightweight, has an intelligent speed system and comes with a wide variety of sanding bits. It’s by far the best option in my opinion.
Dremel Pet Nail Grooming Tool ( 7300-PT 4.8V)
Speed (RPM): 3500 and 13 000
Power Source: Rechargeable Battery
Sanding Bits: 4 x 60-grit
Dremel is the superior standard when it comes to handheld tools. And their offering to the pet world is no exception.
This nail grinder offers 4.8 volts of power, so it’s strong enough to get the job done even for the tough nails of larger dogs.
I like that it runs on 2 separate speeds which gives you more control. It’s also great to have a slower speed when working with a doggo that might be fearful.
It’s also a cordless device, making it easy to use just about anywhere. And it’s powered by a rechargeable battery. Which can be fully charged in 3 hours.
The tool comes with 4 extra 60-grit sanding bands. Which should last you a long time, depending on how tough your dog’s nails are and how often you grind them.
These sanding bands are reasonably priced so replacing them is inexpensive. They are also easy to find since Dremel is so well known.
I also use a Dremel, although it’s not this specific one. But I can vouch for the quality of Dremel products.
The one downside to this unit is that the battery pack can make it a little bottom heavy. So you might need a little practice to get the balance right to begin with.
Some folks have complained that the grinder is noisy, which is not ideal for sensitive dogs. If your pooch is sensitive to sound, I recommend going for a corded grinder which tends to be less noisy.
ConairPRO Dog Professional Nail Grinder
Speed (RPM): 7500
Power Source: Electrical
Sanding Bits: 1 x Grinding stone
This offering from Conair is a decent enough nail grinder to suit any sized dog. Although, I’ll say off the bat, that it might take longer if you’re working with a large dog since it’s motor is not the most powerful.
But the fact that it’s quieter than most nail grinders is a big plus point. Especially when you’re working with a pooch that’s not keen on nail grooming.
It is an electrically powered nail grinder which does limit where you can tackle nail grooming. But the upside is you never have to worry about the battery running flat half way through.
And the cord on this unit is long, so you do have more flexibility there.
Being electrical it doesn’t have the bulky battery pack of the Dremel for example. This makes it a lot more lightweight and easier to handle.
This grinder only comes with a grinding stone, so you might want to invest in a variety of sanding bands to smooth out the nails. A pack of these are inexpensive and will give you more options.
The one downside I see with this nail grinder is it only has one speed. And like I mentioned, this will make working with tougher nails more work.
Personally, I prefer more speed options depending on which dog I’m working with. But at 7500 RPM you should be fine.
I like the idea of the protective cover. Especially for folks new to using a nail grinder. But I have read that some folks complained about the cover rattling around, causing unnecessary noise.
But if this is an issue, simply don’t use the protective cover. If you go slow and steady there’s very little chance of causing injury to your pooch.
The Conair nail grinder has a lot going for it being electrical, with a long cord and lightweight. Although, I think it’s probably best suited for smaller dogs and dogs that tend to be fearful of loud noises.
Hertzko Electric Pet Nail Grinder
Speed (RPM): Not Specified
Power Source: Rechargeable Battery
Sanding Bits: 1 x Diamond bit grinding stone
The main selling point of the Hertzko nail grinder is that it comes with a diamond bit grinding stone. This means you’ll never need to replace it. Or at least that’s what the manufacturer claims.
Another feature which I really like is the 3 port system. These 3 opening in the grinder area will guide you to use the size best suited for your doggo. Small for small dogs, medium for medium dog.
And for big dogs, you can remove the entire cover. I think this is a great feature, especially if you’re new to using a nail grinder to groom your dog’s nails.
These only one speed to this nail grinder. And as I’ve mentioned before, I like to work with something that has a variable speed option. But it’s not uncommon for dog nail grinder to have only one speed.
The speed is not specified either, so there’s no telling exactly what RPM you’ll be working at. And I’ve come across complaints that the motor loses power once it makes contact with the nail. And as far as I can tell, this is not because of a safety feature.
It could be a faulty unit. But it could also be that the user is putting too much pressure on the nail.
According to the manufacturer, this unit has a “super mute motor”. And from my research, plenty of folks have backed this up. So it’s a good option for newcomers to nail grinding.
I like the fact that this grinder has a built-in rechargeable battery. This makes it much lighter and easier to handle than the Dremel for example.
Although, I have come across several dog owners who say the unit doesn’t keep it’s charge for long enough to complete the job.
That’s a deal breaker in my opinion. I mean, who wants to get half way and have to stop because the battery died?
The unit is charged using a USB cable. So if you accidentally lose the cable, no worries! Just grab any USB cable you have and you’re good to go.
Overall, this nail grinder from Hertzko is not a bad choice for beginners. Although, I doubt this will be a “forever” grinder.
But, it’s reasonably priced so it won’t break the bank if you want to upgrade to something better at a later stage.
Conclusion: What is the Best Dog Nail Grinder?
So what is the best dog nail grinder? Personally I like an electrical grinder best. And my first choice of the bunch is the Oster Professional Corded Pet Nail Grinder Kit (Amazon).
It’s definitely a forever grinder in my opinion. It’s lightweight, comes with variable speeds and a wide variety of sanding bits.
My next choice is the Dremel Pet Nail Grooming Tool (Amazon). Dremel makes good products. And this one comes with a 2 year warranty. If you’re looking for a cordless nail grinder, this one should be on your list.
Teach Your Dog to Get Ready for a Pedi
Trimming my dog’s nails used to make me nervous. But grooming is such a fun part of the bond I have with my dogs, so I wanted to make the experience easier and less stressful.
So a while back I decided to make use of my husband’s Dremel 4000 with the Flexi attachment. And I’m super happy I did!
My dogs have totally different personalities. Ze loves to investigate anything new. Lexi, is a little more skittish and takes time to warm up to new things.
I see so many folks complaining about how frightened their dogs are of a nail grinder. And then giving up.
But let’s be honest, we can’t expect our dogs to know what is going on and what is expected of them if we don’t teach them first.
People do that though, I recently read an account of a couple who held down their rescue dog to grind her nails. I was like WTF!! Seriously?!
That’s the quickest way to break trust and cause a lifelong issue for a dog.
So don’t do that!
Here’s what to do instead…
Step One: Paw Work
This first step is super important. If your pooch is already cool to have their paws handled, you can most likely skip this part.
But it wouldn’t hurt just to make things exciting by dishing out treats just for fun! Also, the more excited your dog is about what’s coming the quicker they learn.
If this is your dog’s first time, here’s what you need to do…
All you need are treats and a clicker.
Oh, and by the way, those should be high value treats. I use cheese. And every time I groom my dog’s nails I offer cheese as treats.
First, start by gently sliding your hand from the top of your dog’s leg, down to their paw. Click and treat the moment you reach their paw.
Your dog might pull away the first time, but that’s okay, now you know you’re going too fast.
Start again click just before you reach their paw. Do this a 4 to 5 times until your dog allows you to slide your hand all the way down to their paw without pulling away.
Now start increasing the time your hand rests on your dog’s paw before clicking and treating. Ideally you want to be able to do this for a max of 10 seconds.
Step Two: Adding Pressure (Gently)
Once your dog is cool with you resting your hand on their paw it’s time to start adding gentle pressure.
This step in important because when you grind your dog’s nails you’ll need to gently press on their paw to extend the nail.
Right now duration is not important, all you want is to add gentle pressure.
At the slightest amount of pressure, click and reward your dog. Make a big fuss and tell your dog how great you think they are. The idea is to keep things fun.
If your dog pulls away, that’s okay, just go back to the amount of pressure where they were comfortable and move forward from there. Slowly!
Once you get to the point where your pooch is happily letting you hold their paw for at least 10 seconds, it’s time for the next step.
Step Three: Incorporate Time and Pressure
Now is the time to start incorporating time and gentle pressure. Start by holding your dog’s paw for a second or two – click and offer a reward if they didn’t pull away.
Methodically up the time OR gentle pressure until your dog is totally happy with you holding their paw while applying gentle pressure for at least 10 seconds.
Step Four: Enter the Nail Grinding Tool
For this step you’ll need some super delicious food treats – of course! A clicker and your nail grinding tool.
Just a note on food here again. It’s REALLY got to be high value. Something your dog is willing to do anything for. Don’t be stingy!
I used cheese for this whole process because it’s something my dogs rarely get. But you can use steak, chicken, fish, canned kitten food or anything else your dog sees a high value.
Introduce your dog to the nail grinding tool. First with it off. I just placed it on the floor and tossed treats near it for them to enjoy.
This is a great way to show your dog the grinding tool is no threat.
If you notice your pooch waiting around for a treat, toss a treat away from the nail grinder for your dog to retrieve. This way they have to come back to the nail grinder and interact with it again.
Drop treats next to and around the nail grinder and praise your dog for just being around the nail grinder.
Pack up and finish this training before your dog decides to check out. Continue the next day in the same way.
Next, it’s time to turn the nail grinder on. If you notice your dog is not comfortable with the sound, then turn it off and do a few rounds of praise and reward with the grinder off. Then try again with the grinder on.
Offer treats and praise when the grinder is on. Then turn it off and withhold rewards. Practice this: Grinder on = rewards. Grinder off = no rewards.
Do this until your dog is happily looking to you for rewards when the grinder is on. This is a super effective way to desensitize them to the whirring sound of the grinder.
Tips for Step Four
- Use the most high value rewards you have. Ideally, something your dog loves but doesn’t get very often.
- “Jackpots” are a great way to keep your dog willing to work. At random times during this process, offer more than one treat and let your pooch gobble it up out of your palm. And don’t forget the fuss and praise to go along with it.
- Go at your dog’s pace, if they are not comfortable with a new step, go back to where they were comfortable and take it from there again.
- Let your dog know they can leave the situation at any time. Be kind and don’t force them into anything.
- End the training before your dog wants to. Keeping them keen in this way makes picking up the next day so much easier.
How to Grind Your Dog’s Nails
- Pick a comfortable spot, where your dog can sit or lie down (whichever position is most comfortable for them).
- Have the most high value treats ready.
- Turn the nail grinder on and offer a treat to get started.
- Ask for your dogs paw like you taught them during training.
- Hold your dog’s paw gently like you taught them and place the grinding tool on your dog’s nail. No more than a second or two.
- Click or use a marker word like “yes!” and let go of your dog’s paw.
- Offer them a scrumptious reward.
- Rinse and repeat.
Tips for Grinding Your Dog’s Nails
The higher the grit number the smoother the nail. Ensuring that the nail is smooth means it will be less likely to crack and split later.
You might need to trip stray fur. If your pooch has longer fur around their claws you might need to trim these first. This is to make sure they don’t get wrapped around the grinder head.
Trick the quick. If your dog has overly long nails, grinding too much too soon could cause you to hit the quick. But if you grind away a little at a time, more often, you can trick the quick into receding along with the nail.
It’s all about tapping. That’s the best method when grinding your dog’s nails. Tap, tap tap at the nail, grinding off little pieces at a time. This will ensure that you don’t spend too much time in one spot which can cause the nail to heat up.
The long and short of it. Be careful not to leave your dog with nails that are too short. some folks say that if you hear nails clicking on the ground they are too long. I disagree! Dog’s don’t have fully retractable nails like cats do, so there will always be some sound when they walk. My rule of thumb is, as long as no nails are touching the ground when your dog is standing, that’s fine.
I hope these reviews have helped you get a good picture of what to look for in a dog nail grinder. Drop questions about the training process or the grinders in the comments below.