Grinders vs. Clippers: What’s Best for your Dog’s Nails?

Maybe it’s the telltale click-clack as your canine moseys throughout the kitchen flooring. Or the unmistakable and infrequently painful raking sensation when she jumps as much as greet you. Or perhaps it’s whenever you’re lounging collectively on the sofa and also you notice your canine’s nails have grown so lengthy, you’re unsure for those who ought to trim them or see what they’d seem like if painted a scorching shade of fire-engine crimson!

Whatever prompts you to note that your canine’s nails want consideration, good for you. Nail care is necessary, and it’s typically missed by homeowners who both aren’t certain tips on how to do it, are afraid to trim nails themselves, or can’t fairly get their canine to go together with this system. If this describes you, we are able to present you tips on how to do it most simply and tips on how to get your canine to not simply cooperate, however to willingly volunteer for a trim.


The Benefits of DYI Nail Trims

Tlisted below are many advantages of do-it-yourself canine mani-pedis, particularly whenever you take the time to show your canine to cooperate in the course of the process by slowly and punctiliously desensitizing and counter-conditioning first. (See “A Counter-Conditioning Protocol for Nail Trimming” on web page 5.) Some of the DYI advantages embody:

Improved well being. Walking on lengthy nails can have an effect on how the canine strikes and doubtlessly contribute to the event of orthopedic issues, similar to arthritis, later in life.

Decreased stress. Teaching your canine to calmly tolerate a nail trim prevents stress and, doubtlessly, fear-based aggression. 

Increased security. The canine is much less more likely to be injured on account of lively resistance or panic-induced flailing, and also you (or your vet or groomer) are much less more likely to maintain a chew. 

Body consciousness. Time spent trimming nails can also be the right alternative to familiarize your self along with your canine’s bodily topography. Regularly getting your fingers in your canine – past primary petting – is a good way to rapidly acknowledge adjustments that would point out well being issues.

Financial advantages. The value {of professional} manicure provides up over time!

There are two essential methods to shorten nails: clipping with both a guillotine-style or a scissor-type clipper and grinding with a rotary device similar to a Dremel or an identical product designed particularly for grinding canine nails. 

Between the 2 strategies, many groomers (and I) favor utilizing a rotary nail-grinding device, although many canine must be desensitized to the sound and the vibrating sensation. The largest benefit of utilizing a nail grinder over clippers is that with clippers, for those who lower off an excessive amount of – both since you misjudged how a lot to chop, or the canine wiggled simply as you squeezed the deal with – you’re extra more likely to “quick” the nail by mistake. (“Quicking” a nail occurs whenever you lower into the blood provide of the nail. It may be painful and, on account of the yelp and reflexive motion that the ache elicited from the canine, traumatizing for each the canine and the individual doing the nails.) 

In distinction, grinding the nail includes high-speed submitting the place the surplus progress is floor down incrementally however rapidly, so long as the device is in touch with the nail. You can “quick” a nail by going too quick with a grinder, too, however in our expertise, it’s a must to work more durable to take action. 

The different benefit of grinding vs. clipping is how the high-speed submitting makes it straightforward to spherical off the tip of the nail, whereas clipping typically leaves sharp edges. If your canine tends to paw at folks for consideration, this may be problematic till the nails naturally put on down right into a extra rounded form.

We’ve revealed numerous articles previously about clipping a canine’s nails; what follows right here is all about utilizing a grinder as an alternative.


Author/coach Stephanie Colman has taught her Golden Retriever, Saber, to calm down on his again between her outstretched legs, which cradle and assist him. It’s an awesome place for trimming his nails, in addition to checking his paws for foxtails or different burrs, and giving stomach rubs and face and chest massages.

It takes slightly observe to determine what place is most snug for you and your canine in the course of the nail trim. Both of you on the ground? Him on the sofa and also you on the ground? On a grooming desk? Some folks discover it best to trim the canine’s nails when he’s laying flat on his aspect. 

I discover it best to take a seat on the ground, legs outstretched, with my canine on his again and cradled between my legs. I discover this permits for probably the most snug angle of method to grind the nails, and particularly for rounding the sides, as I wish to spherical up from the underside of the nail. I educate and construct worth for this place early in my canine’ lives, and we use it typically – it’s a chance for quiet therapeutic massage and “together time” – not simply one thing we do when it’s time to trim nails. 

No matter what place you employ, don’t overlook to first construct a optimistic affiliation with merely being in that place and having his paws dealt with earlier than you add any of the steps that contain trimming nails. I really feel strongly that every one canine ought to be taught to simply accept all of the completely different behavioral items of a nail trim no matter whether or not you’ll do nails your self or for those who plan to ship the canine to a vet or groomer for routine trims.

It’s clever to “assume the position” typically – for reward, treats, and calm petting – to assist maintain your canine from studying that your request for that individual place all the time accompanies manicure, by which case it’s possible you’ll discover your canine turns into reluctant to cooperate. 


The objective of manicure is to shorten the canine’s nails in order that they don’t fairly contact the bottom when she is standing on degree floor; she ought to have the ability to stroll throughout the kitchen flooring with out a faucet, faucet, tapping sound. Nails that contact the bottom will push the toes out of their pure place because the canine stands and strikes; the longer the nails, the extra displacement the toes will expertise. 

Remember, the innermost core of the nail consists of a vein and nerve, often known as the “quick.” The longer the nail, the farther towards the tip of the nail the short will prolong. If your canine’s nails are far too lengthy, it can take a lot of periods of eradicating tiny bits of nail at a time to step by step return them to a wholesome size with out chopping into the short, hurting the canine, and inflicting the vein to bleed (referred to as “quicking” the nail). 

Diamond grinding ideas for rotary grinders are dearer than sandpaper bands, however they grind extra easily and don’t put on down rapidly or want frequent alternative like sanding bands do, making them the popular grinding tip of {many professional} groomers.

Fortunately, taking tiny bits off at a time is precisely what rotary grinders are finest at! Frequently eradicating the surplus nail a millimeter at a time will assist the “quick” recede again towards the bottom of the nail. For very lengthy nails, see for those who can match a couple of minutes of nail grinding as soon as every week. It may take months of this to get the nails to a brief and robust situation, however for those who keep it up, your canine’s ft and legs shall be a lot more healthy for it. Once your canine’s nails have reached an acceptable size, only one or two quick periods of grinding every month ought to keep them.

A number of closing ideas:

* Don’t grind on anybody nail for greater than a second or two, because the friction creates warmth, inflicting a burning sensation. Touch the grinder to the nail for one or two seconds and pull it away – a grind-release, grind-release sample. 

* To keep the effectiveness of the grinder, make sure you exchange the sandpaper-like sanding band as soon as it’s worn. Replacement bands are cheap – about $6 for a package deal of 6 – and may be bought by many on-line pet-supply shops. 

* Using a diamond bit (as an alternative of sanding bands) helps cut back the noise and vibration of grinding. These bits  are dearer (wherever from $20 to $20) however they final a very long time. 


With slightly product analysis and a few coaching and observe, you, too may quickly end up a member of the rotary membership. 

Stephanie Colman is a author and canine coach in Southern California. She works within the pet division at Guide Dogs of America, serving to to recruit and handle volunteer pet raisers.

Quick! What To Do About Bleeding

Whichever device you employ to trim nails, don’t get began with out having some styptic powder available. 

Styptic powder is used to rapidly cease any bleeding that may happen for those who unintentionally lower into the nail’s blood provide. It’s an anti-hemorrhagic agent that works by constricting tissue to seal injured blood vessels. 

Failing to have the powder close by whenever you begin nails is a good way to simulate a criminal offense scene; if in case you have a “whoops!” second when trimming your canine’s nails and have to enter the opposite room to get the powder, you may be certain your canine will go away a bloody path – both following you or making an attempt to run and conceal from you! 

Styptic powder is offered in a wide range of containers with numerous applicators which can be alleged to make it simpler to get onto a lower nail rapidly. Most generally, nonetheless, it is available in a small jar. Some folks faucet among the powder into the palm of their hand after which press the lower nail into the powder of their hand. I wish to maintain slightly dish of water close by so I can moist my finger with no need to lick it, particularly throughout these pandemic occasions, the place I’m being additional aware of maintaining my fingers off my face basically. I coat my moist finger with a beneficiant layer of styptic powder and press the powder straight onto the affected nail tip. I give slightly faucet to assist pack the short with powder.

Reapply as wanted if the nail continues to bleed by the primary layer of powder. If wanted, you’ll be able to quickly occupy the canine with a favourite chew bone to forestall him from smelling after which licking the nail, re-starting the bleeding. 

No styptic powder? In a pinch, cornstarch additionally works. 

If the bleeding hasn’t stopped inside 20-30 minutes, contact your vet, as that may be a attainable signal of clotting points.

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