Grooming Pet Care

How to Trim Or Grind Dog Nails: Tips & Tricks

how to trim or grind dog nails
Written by Robert Lewis

Does your dog love to run and play? Help your precious pup stay comfortable on their feet by regularly taking care of their toenails!

Overgrown nails can be painful for your pooch to walk on. You don’t need to spend money at the groomer’s to trim their nails; there are many nail tools like nail clippers and nail grinders you can learn to use at home. These tools can help you safely prevent your dog’s nails from becoming too long. 

How Do I Trim my Dog’s Nails?

The two most popular methods to keep your dog’s nails short and healthy are clipping and grinding. Nail clippers are a mechanical tool that cut each toenail straight across. Nail grinders use a special electronic tool to gradually file each nail down. 

Once you have a nail trimming tool, look at your dog’s nails: are they white or black? If Rover’s nails are white, you can see a pink part inside the nail. This is called the quick, and you should stop cutting before you reach that pink spot. The quick contains blood vessels and nerves inside the nail, which can bleed and get painful if it’s nicked. If your dog’s nails are black and you cannot see the quick, cut the nail gradually and stop when you see a pink dot at the tip of the nail.

Trimming by Cutting

When you clip your dog’s nails, it is a quick process but may leave sharp edges, which will gradually wear down as Fido walks on hard surfaces like asphalt. To avoid sharp edges, you can either file the individual nails or skip clippers altogether and read ahead in the next section about our recommended method: using a nail grinder.  

In case you’d like to learn more about nail clippers, there are two main types that each feature a different shape: nail scissors and guillotine clippers. Here are two recommended products:

Safari Nail Scissors
Safari dog nail trimmers

Nail scissors are a common handheld option and don’t require batteries or charging. These nail scissors have sharp, stainless steel blades for durable and reliable cutting. If your pet is a smaller breed, this may not be the best option for you, as scissors like these work best on medium to large dogs.

Resco Guillotine Clippers
Resco 747 Jumbo

Here’s another mechanical option for keeping your dog’s nails trimmed. The clippers are shaped differently from scissors: you first insert the nail into a hole, and then a blade clips across the nail’s front. These heavy-duty clippers work best for large breed dogs. 

When using nail clippers, please be careful! If you cut your dog’s nails too short, you risk injuring them by cutting the quick and making them bleed. 

Trimming by Nail Grinding

Nail grinding is a safe and best way to keep Rover’s nails short; some even come with guards and sensors to let you know when you reach the perfect length. The best devices offer multiple modes and speeds and come with a nail guard. Ideally, a good nail grinder will also be quiet and have gentle vibrations so your dog can relax and feel comfortable with the process. 

Here are some great options for nail grinders:

LuckyTail Claw Grinding Device
luckytail claw grinding device

Here’s our top pick for a cordless, effective, and convenient nail grinder. LuckyTail features two speed modes and grinding modalities. It has a whisper-silent motor with ultralight vibrations and comes with a safety guard so you can feel confident in trimming your pup’s nail to the right length. It will work for dogs of any age or size. Large dogs, small dogs, puppies, elderly dogs all benefit from regular manicures, and this model will even work for other pets like birds, rabbits, and cats. 

Dremel PawControl Dog Nail Grinder
Dremel PawControl Dog Nail Grinder and Trimmer

This lightweight nail grinder by Dremel is another cordless option to keep your pup’s paws feeling their best. It includes a variable speed switch and a safety guard. This nail grinder tends to run loud and fast and some reviewers noted that their dogs were afraid of its noise and speed. Also, please do not use a regular dremel tool on dog nails; this one is designed for pet use!  

Rexipets Dog Nail Grinder

This two-speed nail grinder features a diamond-bit grinder and is made by Rexipets. It’s a low-noise and low-vibration option that will put your pet at ease. Like the other two products, the Rexipets nail grinder is cordless and comes with a USB cord to recharge its batteries. This grinder works slower than the other two on this list, which might make your dog a bit impatient. 


Nervous about trimming your dog’s nails for the first time? Here are some essential tips to keep the process as easy and comfortable as possible. 

  • How short?

Your dog’s nails should be short enough that they are comfortable and that they still cover the quick (the pink part that you can see inside the nail). The nails should have a round shape so that they are not sharp and do not catch on fabric or carpet.

  • How often?

How frequently you clip your dog’s nails depends on how active your pup is and what kinds of surfaces they are walking on. If they are regularly walking on asphalt, their nails might naturally grind down from these surfaces. If your dog spends more time indoors on soft surfaces like carpet, you might have to trim their nails more often. For most dogs, a trim every 3-4 weeks should suffice. 

  • How to use your tools?

The easiest, most effective way to properly care for your doggo’s nails is to purchase a nail grinder and to use it as needed, about once a month. If your pet is easily startled let the grinder run near them so they can get used to its sound and vibrations. While the nail grinder is running give your dog treats and praise, so they can create positive associations with the grinder. 

Final Thoughts

We think that using a nail grinder is the safest and most convenient way to keep Fido happy, healthy, and feeling great. Looking for more information on the best nail grinders to trim your dog’s nails? Check out the 10 Best Electric Dog Nail Grinders of 2021

About the author

Robert Lewis

Hi, I’m Robert. I live with two Golden Retrievers and a Labradoodle. Four-legged canines have always been by my side. I’m a pet enthusiast at heart & blog writer by job title. Combining my passion with my job is the most rewarding experience I could ever ask for. My goal is to give buyer advice and share insights about various pet products/services with you.

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