3 Ways of Filing Dogs’ Nails Instead of Clipping Them [Video]

Filing a Shiba Inu's Nails

If you are like most doggie parents you have discovered your pup doesn’t like his nails clipped the traditional way.  It puts pressure on their cuticles and can crush the nail instead of cutting through cleanly and can be painful. And if they are anything like mine, they recognize those clippers immediately and disappear! If your dog is like this then filing your dog’s nails instead of clipping them may be a good idea.

Filing Dog’s Nails at Home

Dog with paws resting on table as it gets its nails filed

One way I have discovered to file my dogs nails at home and to get past the issue of the runaway pup is to use a dremel tool with a rotating file drum, but they also make them already made just for pets if you prefer to work with something a bit smaller and less noisy or scary sounding for your pet. Always expose to the noise gradually over time so it becomes the norm and then try this method once your pet has acclimated to it.

File Dog Nails with an Emery Board

Gloved nail technician hands filing dog nails with Emory board

I myself use an emery board to file my pups nails as he is a smaller dog with thinner smaller nails and doesn’t really like the noise of a dremel or battery powered nail file, however it can take some time to do it this way and takes patience.

It is best to always handle your pups paws from day one…I will massage my dogs paws without doing any filing or trimming so he knows that not every time will be a stressful moment. And I always reward him with his favorite treats when he has done well.  

You will find a couple very instructional video links below that will help you determine which will be the best way to file your dog’s nails at home. (these could also work for cats 😉 )

Nail trim mats for dogs

Another recent and very useful invention is the nail trim mats or scratch pad/boards for dogs. 

Scratch pad for dogs

Similar to a cat scratcher they can take care of their own nails, but it takes time to train them to do this on their own. I myself am considering giving this a go.  Not only does training look fun but it is a healthy way to get your doggo to participate instead of being scared! There are several different versions on the market too.

Summary: Filing Dog’s Nails Instead of Clipping Them

In summary, there are many ways to achieve the same outcome of traditional trimming without the stress or pain of what clipping can do to your pet.  Sometimes you just have to try a few things to see what will work best for your particular pup. When I say particular, I mean it. LOL. Mine is very particular about what he likes and does not, as with all fur babies. As always, hoping these tips have been useful in helping your pup enjoy the most out of life. 

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Hi! My name is Heather Hallman. I’m the mother of two beautiful girls and a MAJOR passionate pet parent. I can hardly wait to bring you the BEST resources and information that I've found for our fur-babies.