Dog Nail Grinding – Is It Safe And How To Do It Properly?

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
If you trimming dog's nails puts you under a lot of stress, you should try with grinding. This rotary tool can help you keep your dog's nails short and clean, and on a budget.

Dog nail grinding is something that is a mandatory part of a proper dog grooming routine.

Trimming or cutting your dog’s nails can be a real challenge, and this is something that many dog owners usually have trouble with.

If you are one of those who believe that dog grinders are hard to use, or if you are not sure how to use a dog nail grinder – we have got you covered.

Before we explain how to use a nail grinder, and what is the difference between clipping and grinding, know that both procedures are harmful to dogs.

However, it may be easier to use a nail grinder to trim your dog’s nails if clipping puts too much stress on you. Here is why.

Grinding Dog’s Nails Pro & Cons

Grinding dog nails are great for dogs with thicker nails, as traditional clippers may not cut through thicker nails.

If you are used to trimming a dog’s nails with traditional clippers and your dog is used to it – we recommend that you stick to it.

But… If you want to try grinding a dog’s nails you should know that there are some pros and cons of this specific technique.

Check them below:

Grinding Dog’s Nails Pros

  • Grinders are great for dogs with dark nails, where the quick is difficult to see
  • Creates a comfortable rounded edge
  • Some models may even have a built-in light making the working area easier to work around

Grinding Dog’s Nails Cons

  • Strong noise: dogs are not lowers of harsh and strong noise. Actually, they are rather irritated by sounds.
  • Smelly dust: rotary tool always makes dust that smells a bit. It would be handy to have a mask or eye protection, especially if you’re sensitive. In some cases, it would be much easier to grind nails outside.
  • Heat level: pet nail grinders are rotary tools and although they are small, they can still generate some heat if you leave them in one spot for too long.

Nail grinders for dogs usually produce a sound that dogs are not liking, so make sure that you always reward your dog after nail care.

Delicious treats should help dogs deal with grinders much easier. You may grind super slow and some bleeding still may occur.

To react properly have on hand a first aid kit for dogs.

If you want to avoid any sort of bleeding, difficulties associated with a long nail, or learning about blood vessels in dogs you can always choose to use professional groomer services.

This may be pricey, but it will save you time, and keep you stress-free.

If you still want to learn about a dog nail grinder and how to use a dog nail grinder, keep on reading.

How To Use Dog Nail Grinder?

If you have ever asked yourself are nail grinders safe for dogs, know that they are safe, as long as you know how to use them.

Grinding dog nails is actually easy if you first understand how a grinder works.

Dog Nail Grinder

A dog nail grinder is a rotary tool that works by grinding your dog’s nail down. You are probably familiar with nail clippers.

After all, they have been here for a while. Until recently, nail clippers were the only available option.

Nail clippers were also the safest and most convenient option in the world of trimming dog nails. Until nail grinders appeared.

Many found that nail grinders are more convenient, safer, and more accurate.

Grinding also reduces the chances of pain, the appearance of cracks, and then reduces the high chances of uneven pressure.

Some nail grinders come inbuilt with a tool that polished dogs’ nails and prevents rough edges.

There are many grinders available on the market, and it’s up to you to choose the perfect one, based on the dog’s size and your personal preferences.

Features that dog owners love about dog nail grinder:

  • It usually comes with a set of rechargeable batteries
  • It is light in weight, making it perfect to hold for longer periods
  • It is easy to control
  • Comes with two speed settings: high and low

Grinding dog nails should not be forced and if your see that treats are not helping to calm your dog make a break and try again.

If you see that your dog is still under stress due to the grinders sound do not force it. Otherwise, here is how to use a dog nail grinder effectively:

  • Put the rotary tool directly onto the dog’s nails
  • Hold the grinder on the nail for a second or two at a time
  • Monitor carefully how much of the nails is being grinded
  • On every break reward your dog with delicious treats
  • Always grind one quick tap at a time
  • Know when to stop grinding dog nails

Not sure how to know when to stop grinding dog nails? This one may be tricky but isn’t impossible to master.

Commonly, it is enough to grind the pointed tip until the nail looks relatively straight.

Good to know: Dog grinder is prone to heating up after prolonged usage. This is why it is recommended to grind nails for a second or two maximum.

For your dog to have a great grinding experience you should take it slow.

Be calm and arm yourself with patience.

Here are some tips to make grinding a safe and fun experience for both you and Fido:

  • Always introduce your dog to the nail grinder first
  • If you are just exploring how to use a pet nail grinder, let your dog be next to you while doing so – do not forget to offer some treats
  • Turn on the tool, turn it off and offer Fido a treat – do it repeatedly until your dog becomes comfortable with the noise
  • Give your dog time to get used to new sounds and situations
  • When grinding, do it by grinding one quick tap (or brush) at a time and serve treats in between the breaks

Why you should continuously offer treats? Whenever you are introducing your dog to something new, treats should make it a positive experience.

Does Nail Grinding Hurt Dogs?

As long as you use the nail grinder properly there should not be any issues.

The biggest downside of the grinder is that it may heat buildup which actually might hurt your dog.

It can also result in accidentally hitting the nail quick if you are not being careful, otherwise, there should not be major issues.

What Angle Should I Grind My Dogs Nails?

As a general rule, you should hold the tool at a 45-degree angle.

Rest the paw pad on the pad on the guard and touch the nail to the sanding disc. This way you will follow the nail’s natural shape.

Clipping Dog Nails vs Grinding Dog Nails

If you are not a fan of trimming dog’s nails, you will find it even less fun if you dog is a large dog breed with large paws and thick nails.

The majority of nails are black and you can’t be able to see properly the cutting line.

Altogether, it makes trimming a dog’s nails difficult, and dog owners are nervous about the whole ‘cutting nails’ process.

Both trimming and grinding come with their benefits, apropos pro, and cons.

Clipping Dog’s Nails Cons

Cutting a dog’s nails is a quick and quiet process.

Any type of traditional dog nail clipper is going to be quiet, making the experience more tolerable when it comes to the sound at least. The nail clipper is also budget-friendly and even cost less than the grinding tool.

Also, a great thing about clipping is that you don’t need any electricity for clipping the nails.

You can even clip his nails in the backyard. But, some things can make clipping an uncomfortable experience for dogs.


  • Your dog won’t sit still: it’s easy to hurt your pet if he keeps moving around. It takes only one second to see blood on your hands. It’s easy to stop bleeding, but it can be a mission impossible to regain your dog’s trust when it comes to using clippers.
  • There might be some pinching: traditional dog clippers can pinch your dog. It can cause pain even when you don’t cut into the quick.
  • There can be nail damage: just like humans, some dogs may have more sensitive nails, prone to breaking, cracking, or even splitting. Using clippers on these types of nails can make the damage worse.

Importancy Of Grinding Your Dog’s Nails

Grinding or cutting your dog’s nails can be difficult if you are not prone to these grooming needs.

Moreover, if you are scared of trimming or cutting your dog’s nails you can make more damage than good.

Grooming your pet is mandatory if you really want to have a healthy and well-maintained dog.

Grooming your pet also means that you are a responsible pet owner and that you take care of you are pet as you should. Professional groomers make everything look easy.

When it comes to nail cutting it looks like they are sliced through nails like butter. In reality, for the majority of pet owners, this experience is not that easy.

As result, many dog lovers owners choose to switch from nail clippers to a grinder.

Do Dogs Prefer Nail Grinders?

There is no straightforward answer to this question as dogs are individual beings.

To some dogs, nail grinder may be great, while others may prefer more traditional nail trimming.

It is up to you to see which method makes your dog more comfortable. You want to avoid any painful moments.

Why Do You Have To Trim Dog’s Nails?

If the dog’s nails become too long it can lead to several serious problems. Moreover, it will initially affect their ability to work and run properly.

Also, long nails can curl under and become painful, pushing the dog to adapt his way of running and walking. This can also put a strain on their paws and legs which can cause stress on the dog’s joints.

Furthermore, this can lead to arthritis and joint damage.

Long nails can break and snag which is a painful injury for the pup.

Long story short, all nails including the declaw must be shortened. The dewclaw can also curl back and cause pain.

If you notice that your dog often licks its feet it may be an indicator that he is in pain.

So, simply trimming his nails, by cutting or grinding, you may give your dog much-needed relief.

Dog’s Nails – Good To Know

Mammals’ nails are made of a tough protein named keratin. So, dogs have claws actually, and not nails.

As you already know, dogs’ nails are significantly different than humans.

Dog’s nails have two layers. They have a hard outer covering called unguis and subungual, under the unguis, which is flaky and softer.

The faster growth of the unguis is what gives the dog’s nail its characteristic curl.

Many dogs also have a fifth nail, or a declaw, on the inside of the leg, just below the wrist.

Interestingly, some dogs are born with dewclaws on the front only, while others are born with declaws on every leg.

There is no certain way to know if a dog will have or not a declaw once he is born.

Some pet owners and dog lovers are arguing if dewclaws should be removed or not, but one thing is for sure – if a dog has dewclaws, they need to be trimmed.

Dog Nail Grinding – The Bottom Line

One of the most important things when it comes to dog grooming is keeping dogs’ nails at the right length.

This can be achieved by numerous tools and different approaches. However, if you want to avoid traditional trimming then you should think about grinding dogs’ nails.

The first major obstacle here is the noise that the grinder makes.

Therefore, it’s important to make introduce this rotary tool to your dog on time.

If your dog has nails that are too thick to cut with traditional clippers, or he is simply scared of clippers, you should think about grinding. Moreover, grinding provides round nails after clipping.

Frequently Asked Questions On – Dog Nail Grinding

1. How Often Should Dogs Nails Be Grinded?

In general, you should need to cut your dog’s nails every 1-2 months.

Also, if you hear your dog’s nails hitting the floor a.k.a. ‘clicking’ it’s time to trim your dog’s nails.

2. Do Grinding A Dog’s Nails Hurt Them?

Overall, no. One of the main reasons why dog owners switch to grinders from traditional scissors clipping is because they can’t hurt their dogs.

However, if you are not careful you can provoke pinching. Pinching can cause discomfort and pain, even if you don’t cut the quick.

3. Do Long Nails Hurt Dogs?

Too long nails can be painful for dogs.

Long nails can cause a dog to lose traction in their paws, making it significantly easier for them to fall and slip. This can cause additional pain in the nail alone.

4. Does Walking Your Dog Trim Their Nails?

You have to trim your dog’s nails regularly. However, taking your dog out on walks outdoors can help cut down on the number of trimmings a dog needs.

Also, dogs who don’t run or walk will need their nails trimmed more often.

5. Should You Hear Your Dog’s Nails On The Floor?

Some breeds have so short nails that you can barely see them, such as the Doberman Pinscher. However, this is not a rule.

The commonly accepted rule is that when a dog is standing, the nails shouldn’t make contact with the ground.

If you hear your dog coming, it means that his nails are too long.