Hwo-To Grind Dog Nails
With so many dog toe nail grinders on the market these days it has become the "thing to do" to grind our pets toe nails instead of cutting or along with cutting their nails. And it is not a difficult thing to do. However, there is a technique to it to make it the best job. Keep reading and you will find some good dog nail grinding techniques down the page. There are many sizes of grinders and there are cordless and electric corded grinders. Of the different ones I have used, I have found the Dremel 750-02 Minimite cordless to be extremely easy to use and quiet. The larger 800 Series Dremel is great for larger dogs with tougher nails but is a bit more noisy. These are the two pictured at the left. These cordless Dremels are tough themselves and much easier to use then fighting with a corded grinder. And it's very easy to find replacement sanding discs for them. Click on the picture at the far lest to order the Minimite from Amazon.
Some grinders, such as the Pedi Paws which is pictured here at the left, have guards on them for safety against the pet putting his nose into the sanding disc or to prevent tangling any hair in the spinning shaft, yours or the pets. So if you choose to use a grinder without a guard on it, just use caution.
Just as when you are going to cut dog toe nails with a nail clipper, you should first check for any white or light colored nails that you can see where the quick or blood line is to give you an idea of how much nail you can grind off without causing bleeding. However, the back toe nails are usually worn down more and you cannot take as much off as on the front. I have heard it said that when grinding the nails they do not bleed if you hit the quick. This is not true. It will bleed if you grind into the quick. If the nails are extremely long the grinding goes faster if you trim a little off first with nail clippers. For some details about clipping nails see the information at How To Clip Dog Nails. Have some styptic powder (quick stop) handy and just put a dab on the end of the nail if it bleeds. If you just barely caught the quick it will stop the bleeding easily. If you cut into it a bit more and it bleeds a lot, put the styptic powder on it and hold for a few seconds. You can order the styptic powder from Amazon also by clicking on the Kwik Stop picture at the left.
The trick for grinding dog nails is in how you hold the grinder and the manner in which you grind the nails. You have the most control in holding the grinder very close to the top of the grinder as you see in the picture at the left. In this case I am usiing the small size grinder, the Dremel Minimite cordless grinder. This grinder is small and comfortable in the hand and very quiet. It is a great size for using on small to medium size dogs. There is a little larger 800 model that is easy and fast for grinding nails on larger dogs. I also find it most comfortable to hold the foot in a way that I can push on the toe nail I am cutting or grinding to separate it from the other toes and push the nail out. But sometimes it is more comfortable for the dog to bend the foot backwards to work on the nails. Work with each pet and see which is most comfortable for you and the pet. For cats it is always easier to position yourself above the cat and be able to hold the paws where you can push the nail out forward not backwards.
Notice the position of my hands. You can see in the picture at the left where I am using the larger grinder on a larger dog. The right hand is holding the toe, pushing it out and away from the next toe. My left hand is holding the grinder very close to the shaft which gives me better control but what really keeps the grinder steady and gives me the best control is that my left thumb is braced against either my other thumb or the foot. By holding the grinder in this manner you have greater control than if you hold it towards the end of the grinder and you can apply more pressure so the process goes faster. If you have already trimmed the nails all you have to do is slightly go around the edges to smooth them. But if you were not able to cut the nails first, you can apply a little more pressure to grind off the nail faster.
Now here is the technique that will separate you from other groomers. The best technique to get the best job of grinding dog toe nails is to not just grind over the tips and just make a flat nail. Start by grinding the tip but when you have not quite taken off the amount you want start going around the edges more than just over the tip of the nail. Grind the edge of the nail all the way around, sides, bottom and top. This rounds over the blunt edges making it smoother and you can actually take a little more off the nail in this way. If yo start seeing a dark spot or something that looks like a white thread you are getting close to the quick. Stop grinding.