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Published Aug. 7, 2021

Being a proud pet owner means going above and beyond to ensure your furry friend is happy and healthy. You take them for walks, fill up their water dish, give them belly rubs, and so much more. Granted, some things are easier said than done when it comes to taking care of your dog. One of the most important things to be aware of is their individual grooming needs, including nail length. Whether you’re in between trips to the local pet spa or you’re ready to fly solo when it comes to trims, the best dog nail grinder will make an at-home manicure quick and easy. This is one of the essential dog products you’ll need in your home if you want to take care of grooming yourself.

What to consider when searching for the best dog nail grinder

There are a few things you should think about before buying a new dog nail grinder. First things first, make sure you understand when and how you should use this helpful tool for dog grooming. Understanding the ins and out of caring for your pup’s nails will help you narrow down the right dog nail trimmer for you. You’ll also want to consider your dog’s age, temperament, and nail type as you consider one of these dog essentials.

Why is it important to cut my dog’s nails?

A domesticated dog needs assistance when it comes to taking care of health and hygiene. Just like we need to bathe, cut our hair, and trim our nails to keep up not just our appearance but maintain our overall well-being, dogs rely on the same routine for the exact same reasons. While frequent walks on pavement or concrete can help naturally file down a dog’s nail, dedicated filing or clipping is critical. If your dog’s nails get too long, that can start to affect their gait and stress their joints. Beyond that, if their nails continue to grow, they can puncture their footpads or injure themselves when scratching. While the best thing you can do is regularly take your dog to a professional groomer, an at-home nail grinder means you can keep them in tip-top shape, even if the pet spa is all booked up. 

How do I even use a dog nail grinder?

A nail grinder uses a high-speed rotating head with a textured bit, much like sandpaper, to gently file down canine nails. While they take more time to complete the task than trimmers, they can be a safer alternative, especially for sensitive dogs. All you need to do is hold the grinder up to your dog’s nails and gently move the tool back and forth. Your nail grinder should be light, easy to grip, and either come with a power cord or long-lasting batteries that are rechargeable or replaceable, so you don’t need to stop mid-trim. It’s a good idea to acclimate your pup to the sound of the grinder before taking it to their nails, and it’s never a bad idea to prepare treats for them post-pedicure.

A grinder results in smooth nail ends, eliminates cracking, and gives you ample time to assess how close you are to the quick. The quick is the pink part of the nail that delivers blood. While you want to make sure you don’t grind this area down, regular nail trimming will naturally cause it to recede, which is beneficial! If you’re feeling particularly nervous about over-trimming, look for a grinder that comes with a guard, which will put a physical barrier between you and a sensitive part of the nail.

What size dog do you have?

Generally, the size of your dog will tell you about their nail thickness. Small dogs typically have thinner nails that don’t need a super coarse grinding bit or multiple speeds. Larger dogs have thicker nails that need a little more power behind the grind. Multiple grinding speeds can help whittle down tough areas, and a diamond or stainless-steel sanding drum will increase efficiency. A really powerful grinder has the potential to heat nails to an uncomfortable degree, so it’s a good idea to work in quick bursts and pay attention to any intense heat coming off of their nails. Age and breed can also have an impact on your dog’s nail density. Before purchasing, we recommend palming your dog’s paws and scoping out the tool’s specs to double-check the grinding gear can handle the trim.

Does your dog have dark fur and/or dark nails?

Trimming your dog’s nails on your own can be a bit anxiety-provoking, especially if you have a hard time distinguishing the nail from the fur. If Fido is rocking a dark nail, dark fur combination, consider investing in a nail grinder equipped with an automatic LED light. This guiding light will illuminate everything you need to see to protect your puppy from any inaccuracies. 

Related: Give your pet a treat afterward the trimming with the best dog puzzles

The best dog nail grinders

Best dog nail grinder overall: Dremel 7300-PT

The Best in the Business

A top-tier nail grinder with multiple speeds, a rechargeable battery, and replacement sanding bands. Dremel

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The Dremel 7300-PT is one of the best dog nail grinders on the market. A 60-grit sanding drum and two rotation speeds (6,500 or 13,000 rotations per minute) bring enough power to file down tough nails on large dogs or gently sand down your tiny dog’s talons. The rechargeable battery can last up to three hours, and each unit comes with a charging stand equipped with an LED indicator light. It also comes with five sanding disks, so you’ll start your journey stocked up on replacements.

Best dog nail grinder with multiple breeds: Casfuy Dog Nail Grinder

Runner-Up

Designed to safely grind down the nails on just about every breed type. Casfuy

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The Casfuy nail grinder promises a gentle yet powerful grind with minimal vibration and noise to keep your pup calm during upkeep. The built-in battery is USB rechargeable and lasts up to two hours. This trimmer has two speed settings and three ports. The first port, a notch in the included protective sleeve, is designed for small pets, the second port for medium-sized dogs, and the unprotected diamond-bit nail grinder is perfect for big dogs with thick nails.

Best mess-free nail grinder: Oster Gentle Paws Premium Nail Grinder

Great Guard

With a protective shield that catches the shavings, trimming your dog’s nails is clean and simple. Oster

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The Oster Gentle Paws nail grinder has a two-speed design and includes one fine and two coarse sanding bands. An adjustable safety guard will help you feel confident and protect your pet from any accidental nicks. Best of all, the removable safety guard will collect the nail filings, so all you need to do is remove the cap over the trash, and clean-up is complete. This nail grinder is best for small to medium-sized dogs, and Oster says it can even be used on some very patient cats.

Best dog nail grinder with a guide light: GHG Dog Nail Grinder

See What You’re Doing

This grinder’s light allows you to securely see the difference between fur and nail GHG

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This dog nail grinder from GHG features a diamond bit, a rechargeable battery, and a quiet motor that produces under 40 decibels of sound. It has three rotation speeds settings and three grinding ports to suit your pet’s size and nail thickness. A LED light located under the grinder shines directly on your pet’s paw, brightly illuminating the quick, so you know where to cut. Turn the light on and off at will, depending on which pup you’re trimming or the natural light in the room.

Best nail clipper-and-grinder set: Boshel Dog Nail Clippers and Grinder  

Best of Both

The comprehensive kit works for both dogs and cats. BOSHEL

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While grinding your dog’s nail can be safer than clipping, sometimes it’s helpful to keep both tools on hand. This set from Boshel is suitable for both cats and dogs, with sharp blades and a safety stop on the clippers. The diamond bit grinder has a two-speed motor with a rechargeable battery and three ports suitable for any size dog. This pet nail grinder set also includes a mini nail file to round out any sharp or uneven edges when you’re trimming dog claws.

FAQs

Q: What happens if you never cut your dog’s nails?

Just like human nails, dog nails will continue to grow until they are filed or cut down. Dog’s nails can receive free filing from frequent walks on rough surfaces, like sidewalks or rocky terrain, but that’s typically not enough. You’ll want to trim your puppy’s nails regularly to prevent them from growing too long and getting in the way of their walk, or worse, scraping and puncturing their foot pads. 

Q: How often should you grind your dog’s nails?

On average, you should be cutting dog nails every one or two months depending on how fast they grow. If they go on frequent walks across concrete, this time might be extended. Generally, when you can clearly hear your dog’s nails scratching against the floor when they run up to greet you, they could probably use a trim. 

Q: Does grinding a dog’s nails hurt them?

No, grinding a dog’s nails should never hurt them. Just make sure you have proper control over the grinder and a good handle on your canine’s paw. Trimming and grinding does not hurt or irritate your dog, but the vibration and noise of the machine can scare some dogs. If possible, start grinding down their nails when they are a puppy, or, if you’re well past that stage, let them get used to the noise before starting on their paws. 

Final thoughts on the best dog nail grinder

Just like us, dogs need a certain amount of upkeep to make sure they are not only looking but feeling their best. The best dog nail grinder will make it easy for you to take care of your pup from the comfort of your home. A particularly useful tool for older dogs, you can ensure their happiness and safety in between trips to the groomer. Just make sure you grab a grinder that is suitable for your dog’s size and temperament before setting up a spa day and pampering your pooch. We’re sure your furry friend will thank you later in the form of slobbery kisses and tail wags.

Related: Learn more about your canine’s genetics with the best dog DNA test

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