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Can You File a Dog’s Nail with an Emery Board?

Fanned out stack of emery boards on a white background

Using a human emery board is okay as long as you have time. It is not as crazy as you may think. These nail files are easy to handle, and you really do not have to worry about cutting the quick. That is the area you have to watch out for when you use a grinder or a clipper.

You do not want to be rushed when you do this activity. Not all dogs are the same which means that your pet may love the feeling they get when you use a human nail file to trim their nails. You just have to experiment a bit and get used to doing your dog’s nails like they were human nails.

Just find the best way to hold your pet so that they are comfortable during this time.

Dog’s need their nails cut, but do you know how? Check out our post “How to Cut Dog Nails” to learn more.

Can I File My Dogs Nails with a Normal File?

Yes, you can. The nails of a dog are not that hard where using an emery board will not work. There are some keys to using an emery board when you do this option.

Hold Your Dog

If it is a small dog, you can hold them in your lap. This helps keep them still while you patiently work on those nails.

Be Patient

Human hands using an emery board to file a dog's nails

Unlike using clippers and a grinder, using an emery board is going to take some time. You need to block out a large section of your day to make sure you get the task done right.

Go slowly, there is no hurry, and your dog may enjoy being held in your lap. It is a great bonding time. Don’t forget to speak calmly and softly to him or her.

Is it Better to Cut or File Dog Nails? Click here to find out.

Start When Your Dog is a Puppy

Black and tan puppy with its paw being held up by a human hand

The best way to train your pet for almost everything is when they are young. Start using the emery board when they are old enough to have their nails trimmed. That way you will get less resistance when they are adults.

Use Rewards

When your dog behaves correctly reward them throughout the nail trimming time. Just be careful not to overfeed your pet.

Can You File a Dog’s Nails with Human Clippers

Human nail clippers isolated on a while background

No this is one tool you should not use. These human clippers may be okay to use when your pet is young, and the nails are not fully developed. But as your dog gets older, its nails get stronger and tougher.

Human nail clippers are just not strong enough to handle those stronger and tougher dog nails. Plus, they may not cut the nail. They may break it which in turn may cause your pet a lot of stress.

When they get stressed, they may resist more the next time when you try to cut their nails. It is best to stick to tools that are specially made to cut the nails of your dog.

The exception to this rule would be a human nail file. The file is designed to shave off the nail not cut it. That means the tough and strong nail won’t break the file when you use it.

Human nail clippers may be handy, but they are made to cut human nails only and even then some are not tough enough to handle that simple job.

Hate to clip your dog’s nails? Click here to learn how to keep dog nails short without clipping them.

Some Nail Cutting Tools Alternatives

If you can’t find your current set of dog nail clippers or grinders, you do have other options. The emery board is just one of those alternatives and they do a great job. Plus, they help protect you from cutting the quick.

Human Scissors

Hand holding up a pair of scissors against a blue background.

If they are sharp enough and the right size, then you should be able to trim those nails. However, even these may not be a match for your adult dog’s nails. Play it by ear to see if they will work for you or not.

Nail Trim Mats

These come in different formats, and you can find one that your dog will like. It may take a little training but eventually, your dog may handle their nail trimming on their own.

Nail Scratch Pads

Scratch Square by De' Vora (Small) (Large)

A form of the preceding option, this format may also take some training to get your dog to trim their own nails. But once they have learned, you may not have to face that stressful nail clipping time again.

That is reward enough for your hard training effort.

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Please note: We are not veterinarians and you use our advice at your own discretion. We always recommend that you consult your veterinarian whenever you have health-related conditions your furbaby is facing. With that in mind, as pet parents ourselves, we wish nothing but the best for your pet and their healthy and happy lives.