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Dog Nail Trim vs. Grind

Dog Nail being trimmed with pink trimmers

Maintenance of nails is one of the most important aspects that define your dog’s comfortable living. Overgrown nails can prove thwarting and painful because split nails, severe pains, and splayed toes are the usual outcomes. Dogs’ nails are thicker and stiffer when compared with those of humans and need to be trimmed strategically. This article compares two oft-used techniques (called trimming and grinding) so that we can choose the best for our pooch.  

Trimming Dog Nails

Trimming is the conventional and most commonly used technique for cutting nails. The best tool for trimming dog nails is a pair of sharp clippers. These clippers come in two types, Scissor Clippers and Guillotine Clippers (and can be found on Amazon).

If we are trimming the dog’s nails for the first time, we must familiarize him/her with the tool. Allow the pup to sniff the tool and reward him/her with treats for staying calm. This creates a positive association between the dog and the tool. Once the pet is comfortable with the clipper, follow the steps given below to trim his/her nails.

  • Get the dog in a relaxing position.
  • Grip one of the paws and lift it to ensure that you have a proper view of the nails.
  • Locate the quick under the light. If the pup has light nails, it will appear as a pink tint in the nails. For darker nails, it is hard to locate the quick and we have to cut the nail in gradual successions.
  • After locating the quick, clip the nail confidently and briskly.

Grinding Dog Nails

Trimming dog nails with a rotary dog nail grinder

Although grinding is less conventional, it is still an effective way of shortening dog nails. Basically, a nail grinder (like these from Amazon) is an electrical tool that contains a motor for driving the abrasive grinding wheel. The first three steps (familiarization, comfort, and a closer look) of grinding dog nails are identical to the trimming procedure.

In addition to that, we need to ensure that the grinder is fully charged before cutting dog nails. The standard duration of charging is two hours for most nail grinders. Once it’s fully charged, locate the quick and start grinding.

If the nails are longer, we can start grinding at a higher speed. We will reduce the speed when we approach the quick. I like to shape the nails of my dog in a round shape because it feels comfortable while walking.

What’s Better about Dog Nail Trimmers?

Dog Nail Scissors

The salient features of dog nail trimmers that give them ascendancy over grinders are discussed below.

Noiseless and Faster

In comparison to a grinder, nail clippers trim the nail in a much faster and quieter manner. If the trimmer is sharp, it’s just a game of few seconds to clip off the nail.


Nail trimmers are very economical and easily available. It won’t cost an owner too much to buy a pair of clippers. However, it’s NOT recommended to compromise on the quality of the product. We can easily purchase a quality dog nail trimmer (from a renowned brand) at a reasonable price.

Manually Operation

Unlike grinders, trimmers are operated manually and don’t require any power supply or battery.  

What’s Better about Dog Nail Grinders?

DOg getting nails ground with rotary tool

The following are the key characteristics of dog nail grinders that urge dog owners to use them.

Alternative for Clippers

Some dogs don’t like the feel of a trimmer on their nails. In this case, grinders can prove quite useful if the pup is comfortable with its noise.

Nail’s Face can be Rounded

This is probably the biggest advantage of using grinders for cutting dog nails. Clippers leave a flat surface and sharp edges at the face of the trimmed nail. These sharp edges can be problematic because your dog’s nails can get caught in the fibers of a carpet.

Likewise, some dogs are habitual of leaping onto their owners and can scratch their skin in the process. In these circumstances, dog nail grinders are preferred because we can create a smooth nail surface with them.

Better for Thick Nails

If we try to clip thicker nails, we are often left with rough nail faces. Grinding the nail is the perfect solution to this problem because it keeps the surface smooth.

Who Should Get Dog Nail Trimmers?

Dog with white paws getting nails trimmed

Clippers can complete the job a lot quicker than the grinders. Based on this feature, dog nail trimmers are considered better for the canines who get anxious if cutting takes long. Likewise, they are recommended if your pup freaks out due to the buzzing sound of the grinder.

Grinding nails often creates dust and odor that can be inhaled during the process. The people who are allergic to dust may prefer to use the clippers for this reason. Last but not least, dog nail trimmers offer a cost-efficient alternative to cut dog nails. 

Who Should Get Dog Nail Grinders?

Dog in background with rotary nail grinder in forground

One of the biggest risks in clipping is to cut the quick. It can be seriously hard to locate the quick if our pup has dark nails. Therefore, the risks of damaging the quick are aggravated and grinders are recommended to avoid any mishap. They cut the nail gradually and we can stop when we approach the quick.

Even if we don’t cut the quick, clipping can still be painful for the dog. This is because dog nail clippers tend to squeeze the quick inside the nail that causes pinching.

Dog nail grinders also make a better choice if we are dealing with a hyperactive dog. He/she may tug his/her paw and get injured while clipping. In rare cases, trimmers can also cause the nail to break. Likewise, if you can’t sharpen the clipper regularly, a grinder is a much better alternative because it will avoid ineffective cutting.

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