Should I Use A Nail Grinder?

Nail grinders are very popular for dogs right now though some people may not realize they are using them. They are being sold as “pet nail trimmers” with “precision emery filing wheels” but they are actually nail grinders or sanders. Is a grinder right for your dog? Should you use a grinder?

Nail grinders have been around for a long time. The basic or original model is based on an all-purpose rotary tool, such as you might buy at a hardware store. When you place a small sanding drum (the size of a thimble) on the end of the rotor, this makes a perfect sander for a dog’s nails. This sander files the nails painlessly and leaves them nice and smooth. Dog show people, breeders and dog groomers have been using this technique for decades.

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There are professional models for dogs built on this rotary tool design. They come in both electric cord and battery-operated versions. They typically operate at a speed fast enough to remove nail filings from very large dogs who have harder, thicker nails. Some are two-speed so they can also be used at a lower setting for small dogs and dogs that object to the high speed.

The current crop of pet nail trimmers are also built on this rotary tool design with a sander or “emery filing wheel.” They typically operate at lower speeds than the tools for professionals but many pet owners seem to be happy with them. Some pet nail trimmers have both a basic model and a more powerful model for dogs with thicker nails.

There are plenty of pluses to using these nail grinders, whether you use a professional model, a pet nail trimmer or you purchase a Dremel rotary tool and sanding drums to use on your dog.

Rotary nail trimmers are painless to your dog and they file your dog’s nails without hitting the quick. There is no bleeding or cutting when you use the nail grinder. You can take off as much of the nail as you need to remove. With some pet nail grinders there is a guard to prevent you from filing too deep.

In addition, nail grinders are reasonably quiet so most dogs don’t object to them. There isn’t much noise to frighten a nervous dog when you are doing his nails. For dogs who have had bad experiences with having their nails trimmed, nail grinders are a great choice. They make a good choice for any dog.

To use a nail grinder you simply need to hold your dog’s paw in one hand and firmly touch each nail with the grinder. Let the grinder do the work and file the nail while you hold your dog.

You can find pet nail grinders for sale in local drug stores, online and from the manufacturer. Professional nail grinders are sold by dog supply stores and by vendors at dog shows. You can find Dremel rotary tools in many styles in your local hardware section.

Wayne Booth is owner of Canine Behavior Specialists in Nashville, TN where he helps people train and solve problems of all types with their dogs. Wayne has also been teaching people how to become Professional Dog Trainers since 1990 and he is the Training Director of Canine Behavior Specialists Network. Please visit the websites at or the trainer school at

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