There are dozens of abrasive tools on the market – products made specifically for trimming dog nails, as well as turning tools for woodworking or other projects. We asked a group of dog trainers – people who usually trim their own dogs’ nails – about the type and model of grinders they like best: Which products consistently get four tidy paws for ease of use and effectiveness?
The consensus was that while the dog-specific rotary grinders are quieter, they take much longer to decrease the dog’s nail length, especially in breeds with thicker nails. However, some people said that they found the brands used on dogs useful when initially training young or anxious dogs to tolerate nail trimming, or for small breeds with thinner nails.
DOG-SPECIFIC GRINDER ON ENTRY LEVEL
A quick search on Amazon reveals dozens of dog-specific nail grinders to choose from. Most of them have a flat plastic protector that covers the grinding drill. The plastic protection has a cutout area that only exposes a small part of the grinding surface. This is where you position the nail.
While I like that the presence of a guard seems to prevent a dog with a long coat (or the human operator’s hair) from being accidentally wrapped around the spinning tool head, it seems to require a better target, them to get and hold the nail is aligned with the cutout. We have found that the protection of some products is removable to accommodate larger nails or to file faster.
A good entry-level pet-specific grinder is the best-selling Casfuy Upgraded Professional Two-Speed Pet Nail Grinder, which sells on Amazon for $ 30. Note that both speeds are relatively slow: 7,000 and 8,000 revolutions per minute (RPM).
A pet-specific grinder can be a nice addition to your toolbox if you are working with a breed with thin nails or young, small, or fearful dogs, or if you are brand new to grinding and don’t want to start out with a higher performing tool. If your dog has thick nails and / or you are confident that you can safely handle more force, it is worth making the switch to a multi-purpose rotary tool.
HOBBYIST’S TURNING TOOLS
For rotating tools that weren’t made specifically for pet nails, our panelists agreed on a top choice: the Dremel 8050 Micro. This grinder is powered by an 8 volt lithium battery. The tool has five variable speeds from 5,000 to 25,000 rpm. Note that 5,000 RPM is too slow to sharpen a lot, and 25,000 RPM will make the nail get too hot too quickly. Overall, this product is quieter than older models – a plus for working with dogs.
Three functions give the 8050 its top position:
✓ The LED light built into the nose cap of the tool (this will illuminate the nails as you work – brilliant!).
✓ The docking station that keeps the tool fully charged and ready to use.
✓ If something gets caught, the tool stops automatically.
This last point is especially important if you work with long haired dogs or if you have long hair. (Pro Tip: If your dog has hairy feet, try cutting a small hole in the end of a baby sock or nylon stocking. Cover the paw with the sock or stocking and use it to pull the long hair of the Keep your dog in check forget to pull your long hair back too!)
Dremel also offers clear plastic nail guards that can be attached to a variety of its rotary trimmers. The guardian is designed to help achieve a 45-degree angle for trimming, handling nail dust, and keeping a long-haired dog’s fur out of the way. If you already have a Dremel but are not comfortable using it, pet grooming nail guards may be a good foundation for “training wheels”. The protection is sold individually as “Pet Grooming Nail Protection AT01-PGK” but costs almost as much ($ 33!) As a kit that includes the protection and a Dremel 7760 rotary tool ($ 47 at Amazon.com). Get the kit if you don’t already have a rotating tool and like the idea of protection.
Grinder vs. Clippers: What’s Best for Your Dog’s Nails?