A Nail Grinder For Your Dog? As Good As Getting Your Teeth Drilled

I was reading a newspaper article about trimming a dog’s nails. All was well until I came across a curious paragraph:

“Trimming your dog’s nails necessitates the right equipment. There are two basic types of nail clippers for dogs — a guillotine type and a scissor type. Purchase the size that is correct for your dog. If a nail clipper is intolerable for your dog, an alternative may be a nail grinder — an electronic tool that sands nails down.”

Well, I suppose that’s what you get when how-to advice is written by journalists and not field experts.

I have seen a few of those ‘nail grinders’ on the market (one of them is pictured above) and in all my years of veterinary practice I have never met a dog that would tolerate having their nails sanded down by one of those.

To suggest that if a dog’s nails can’t be trimmed you should use a nail grinder is like suggesting that if the jump leads wouldn’t start your car, you should try hitting it with a hammer! It’s ridiculous, shows ignorance and simply wouldn’t work.

So please, please do me a favour – don’t buy a nail grinder for your dog. Not unless you really want to be bitten. Or maybe you just want a present for someone you don’t like.

And if you want to learn how to cut your dog’s nails – I have written an article ‘How to cut your dog’s nails‘. And believe me, I’ve cut a few dogs’ nails in my time.

About Dr Vadim Chelom

Dr Vadim is a house call Veterinarian in Melbourne


  1. rebecca

    I find this article untrue. My dogs two yorkies. They hate to get their nails clipped. They have no problen at all!
    They are calm and relaxed.
    So Doctor I say you are wrong on thus one!

    • Rebecca,
      I wouldn’t argue with what you are saying. All I can say is that you would be the only dog owner I ever met whose dogs tolerate having their nail sanded down like a piece of polished floor. To think of it, I don’t think I would like that done to me either.

      • rebecca

        I guess you have met the one dog owner.. 🙂 that their dogs are both laid back while their claws are being smoothed out. They freak out with nail clippers. Its weird but true.

    • rebecca

      Your wife or you dont get pedicures or manicures?
      Same concept, but done manually.

  2. Joy

    I also disagree with your article. My dogs, although they are tolerable of having their nails clipped at the groomer (not by me!), are just as tolerable with the “grinder” method. Also, I believe with the grinder they can get the nails shorter without touching the quick.

    • Than you, Joy,
      Always love a little feedback from the audience. I personally wish this item came with a ‘try before you buy’ offer. I think they would sell a lot more units that way.

  3. Ken

    I also use the grinder on our dogs, took a little time for them to get used to it. I Clip first to get off the bulk then grind to soften the sharp edges. We also foster dogs for a rescue, and have had great success (NOT 100%)with getting the foster dogs to accept the grinding.

  4. Debbie Nicholas

    Same here. We have a doxie whose front nails grow like weeds so I have to be at them all the time. Clippers involve a wrestling match and just using the grinder a little bit every few days helps me keep them from getting out of control. He sits patiently for awhile but let’s me know when he’s had enough so it’s never an ordeal. I use a little grinder on my own nails (made for humans) and it doesn’t bother me. I just make sure his nails don’t get hot from being ground too long.

  5. Darcey

    Just came across your site and have to add my two cents on nail grinding. We have two shelties who are fine with nail grinding. Like most grooming techniques, if you train a dog when it is young, it is accepting. Our shelties had their nails ground by their breeder, so they were already used to it by the time we got them. We’ve been grinding their nails for about six years. In fact, my husband sits in his recliner and puts a pillow on his legs. Our dogs will jump up and lay on their backs while he trims the hair off their feet and then grinds their nails. That said, I can’t imagine our previous dog being so accepting, nor fitting on my husband’s lap. She was a Rottweiler. We clipped her nails.

    • You make a good point.
      A lot of things are possible if the dog is trained correctly from a young age.
      This is great advise for a puppy owner – train for good habits now for a lifetime of rewards to come.

  6. many thanks for the wonderful article! I have been
    looking for things related to this. I will be following your Feed
    so i won’t miss out the good stuff! once again, magnificent website please keep it up! Please excuse me if my english is bad.

  7. ok, let me say that even a grown dog can be trained to get used to the “grinder” method. Our first St. Bernard was a over year old when we first introduced him to it and at first he was not keen on it. It seemed to tickel his paws. After a couple sessions he was fine and just layed there while my husband did it.

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