Dog Nail Trimming vs. Nail Grinding: What You Should Know

July 21, 2021 3:09 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

As a dog owner, you need to occasionally trim your dog’s nails, or at least make sure their groomer does it. When dogs’ nails get too long, they can curl up and become painful, and even impede their ability to run or walk. Over time, that built-up stress can cause arthritis and other types of joint damage.

Your options are dog nail grinding and nail clipping. But how do you know which is the better option for your dog?


There are a variety of nail clippers on the market designed specifically for dogs. The scissor-type clipper operates very much like a standard pair of scissors or pliers. These clippers provide the force needed to work through the larger, thicker nails of larger breeds.

Guillotine-style clippers or common for smaller to medium-sized dogs with smaller nails that will fit through the hole for slicing off.

The primary benefits of the dog nail trimming method is that it is fast and cheap. You can get the process done much faster than grinding, and a pair of clippers cost far less than grinding equipment. The process is also quiet, especially compared to the ongoing buzzing of nail grinders, which can be upsetting to some dogs.

The drawback of clipping is that it can be easier to cut into the quick, and because clipping is faster than grinding, that means you could quickly end up with a lot of blood if you do in fact hit it.

In addition, using standard clippers on a dog whose nails are prone to breaking could result in some damage that can be difficult to repair.


There are several types of dog nail grinders available on the market. Dremel perhaps makes the most well-known version. The company is known for its multi-tool that can be used for grinding, sanding and cutting in a wide range of applications, and it also happens to make a grinder specifically for pet nails.

Most grinders for nails are a similar format: a rotary grinding tool with attachments designed specifically for pet nails.

The primary advantage of grinding is that it’s safer and often more effective for particularly thick or dark nails. Thin nails are much easier to clip than thick nails, and dogs with dark nails can make it difficult to determine where the quick begins, which could in turn make an accident more likely to occur during clipping. With grinding, you very slowly eat away layers of the nail, which makes it harder to affect the quick.

Grinding also allows you to smooth out the cut, whereas clipping could leave some sharp edges.

The drawbacks of grinding are the noise, dust and heat. Grinders make a sound that may irritate your dog and could make the process difficult if they are non-compliant. The dust from sanding off the nails could smell a bit and make a slight mess. Finally, grinding generates heat, so you need to be careful not to focus on one spot for too long.

For more information about grinding and nail clipping, contact the team at The Soggy Dog today.

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