Maintaining Your Dog’s Toenails: Grinding vs. Trimming

For many dog owners, the process of trimming their dog’s toenails is one they dread. Dogs tend to be very fidgety or uncooperative, and it’s also a very delicate process—trimming the nails improperly could be painful for the dog and result in bleeding.

There are some ways you can make the process a little more bearable, though. Find a tool that works for you and your dog, and consider whether dog nail grinding or trimming is going to give you the best results in West Des Moines, IA.


There are a couple tools available if you prefer to clip your dog’s nails. Guillotine clippers are frequently used because they feature a round hole to easily fit in the nail, making it a bit easier for you to tell exactly where you’re trimming. The blade crosses through that hole (like a guillotine) to produce a quick and easy snip.

Thick claws might make it difficult for you to get the most out of a guillotine clipper—you shouldn’t have to use force. Consider the type of nails your dog has before going with this option.

There are also clippers that more closely resemble scissors, which can be more effective for those denser nail types. Like with the guillotine trimmer, you’ll need to watch for the quick of the nail, where the blood vessels are located. If you hit the quick, this will create a very painful sensation for the dog and could result in a lot of blood. Smaller scissors give you more control over the cut, and the blades should be sharp for them to be able to cut more effectively.

If your dog is afraid of having their nails trimmed, you can always do just one or two nails at a time, then come back and do some more later.


You might prefer to use a grinding tool rather than a clipper. There are nail Dremels for dogs that can be highly effective. However, if you opt for grinding, you will need to grind more often than you’d need to clip.

The primary benefit of a grinder is that it tends to help keep nervous dogs more relaxed. They can also provide a smoother finish to the nail than what you’d get from a clipper, and will be effective on both dense and standard nails. If you have a dog with black nails, there’s a lower chance of hitting the quick, because you will have more control in the trimming process with a grinder than you will with a clipper.

Aside from the greater frequency, the biggest downside is probably that it simply takes longer to grind the nails than to clip them. Some dogs might not enjoy the vibrating sensation the tool produces. It’ll also take a bit longer to get set up for trimming with a grinder than with a clipper.

Interested in learning more about the differences between dog nail trimming and grinding and which might be the best option for you? Contact Canine Country Club in West Des Moines, IA today.

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