Homedog grooming

How To Cut Dog’s Nails Without Clippers

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Nail clipping is an important aspect of any pet’s grooming regime. Those nails need to be the right length to avoid any discomfort or injury. This means that owners need the right tool and ideal strategy for a quick, painless procedure. Dog clippers are an obvious choice, but don’t suit everyone. Instead, many want to turn to an effective nail grinder, but just aren’t sure of the best process.


In this guide we will look at the simple steps dog owners must take when learning how to cut dog's nails without clippers. This means a closer look at the process, but also at the tools used, training tips and some health and safety considerations. First of all, let’s compare the methods.

Dog nail grinder vs clippers: which is best?

The reason that many people want to learn to trim dog’s nails with a grinder is because they dislike clippers. Clippers can be a little difficult to handle, and a bit rough. Some like that clippers mean one, quick simple cut and no wasted time. Yet, it is too easy for nervous, uncertain dog owners to clip in the wrong place. This could mean a risk of pain or bleeding. Then there is the fact that users then need to file down the rough edges with a nail file.

Grinders are different. These tools offer a smooth finish as user gently work their way down to the right size. There may be more noise and vibration here, but there is also less risk of users making mistakes or painful cuts.

Those that want to try this alternative method need the right tool for the job.

There are lots of different models around vying for the title of best dog nail grinder. Each aims to provide ease of use and great, smooth results. It is important to consider the worth of a cordless model over a corded one, because of the ease of handling. But, this always means a need for a good battery life and powerful motor. Other features to look at include the different speed settings, the weight of the tool and helpful extras like storage cases.

What tools do you need to trim a dog’s nails this way?

Obviously this top dog nail grinder is the most important tool at your disposal for a great grooming session. Still, there are other items that can help. A pair of scissors will prove to be of use during this process. It can also help to have a cushion to keep the animal comfort and some treats for their good behaviour and patience. Finally, keep some wound powder on stand-by – just in case. 

How to cut dog's nails without clippers. 


This process is actually quite simple and can be broken down into the following steps:

1) Make sure that everything is set up in a convenient, comfortable location. This means that you can be quick and efficient, and not have to leave the dog unattended with one paw unclipped.

2) Use those scissors to trim the hair around the paws. This is especially important on breeds with longer coats. You don’t want the hair getting tangled around the tool and distressing the dog.

3) Hold up the paw and separate the toes so that it is easy to work on each nail individually. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be much of a market for mini dog toe separators. This would make things even easier.

4) Start up the tool on the appropriate speed setting and slowly work layer by layer. Work at an angle perpendicular to the floor in order to get the best result and watch out for the start of the quick.

5) Brush off the dust, check that the nail is smooth and give your dog some praise for being so well-behaved. If they are new to the process, give them a little treat too.

6) Repeat all of these steps until each nail is done. Be gentle and patient on each nail, even when you are close to the finishing line.

7) Power down the grinder and put it on charge if needed for next time. Once finished, store it away to keep it clean and safe.

Training dogs to be at ease with these dog nail grinders. 

One concern that users have about nail grinders is the amount of noise and vibration produced. Clippers are a common choice because there is no risk of either, which should lead to a calmer, happier dog. Yet, it is possible to train dogs to have their nails trimmed with a grinder, and then enjoy all the other benefits. The first thing to do is get your pet used to the sound of the tool for a while before working on their nails. Once they know there is nothing to fear from the sound, show them what the vibration feels like. Reward them with praise and treats for each completely nail and take your time.

Health and safety concerns with dog nail grinders.

The other fear that dog owners have when clipping or grinding nails is damaging the quick and causing the nail to bleed. So, what should you do when grinding black nails, or if it does start to bleed? Black dog nails are problematic because it is harder to see the quick. This is where slow speed grinders help because you can gradually reach the right length without going too far. If there is an accident and the quick does bleed, there are some great silver nitrate products that can stop the bleeding. Add this to the wound and praise the dog for their bravery. If you are out of your normal supply of wound powder, cornstarch does work as a substitute.


Prepare yourself with the best tools, training and techniques for the best results.


There are definite benefits to learning how to cut dog's nails without clippers. However, this grinder approach isn’t going to happen overnight. Those that take the time to find the best dog nail grinder, train their pet and follow the steps should be fine. It may take practice and patience, but you can achieve smoother nails with an easier process and fewer safety risks.

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