5 Best Dog Nail Grinder

Are you and your dog both a bit squeamish when it comes to cutting their nails? Without the best dog nail grinder, it is so easy to get it wrong, and a bad experience can be scarring for both of you! I’ve been there. Using the wrong tools, I accidentally cut my dog’s nails down into the quick (the dog’s cuticle), resulting in some pretty traumatic and messy bleeding.

Naturally after this incident, I started looking into safer and more effective ways to look after my dog’s nails, and I found myself in the wonderful world of nail grinders. This is a tool that allows you to grind away excessive nail, which is safer and gives you more control than cutting.

Read on to find out all you need to know about nail grinders and how they work, and find the best grinder based on your particular pet needs.

If You Are In A Rush…

When it comes to a quality grinder, you can’t go wrong with the Dremel which is the market leader for a reason. It is simply a quality grinder with a pretty reasonable price tag. If you are looking for a more affordable alternative, consider the FURminator, but remember the future price of replacement batteries as opposed to the rechargeable batteries that come with the Dremel. 

These models are designed for home use. If you are looking for something more professional, consider the Wahl Ultimate. But considering the hefty price, this really is for the serious dog groomer.

Quick Links: Our Top 5 Best Dog Nail Grinder

  1. Dremel 7300-PT Dog and Cat Nail Grinder KitBest Overall Grinder
  2. Oster Gentle Paws Premium Dog and Cat Nail Grinder – Safest Grinder
  3. FURminator Nail Grinder for Dogs and CatsBest Budget Grinder  
  4. Hertzko Electronic Dog and Cat Nail Grinder with USB Charger – Most Durable
  5. Wahl Ultimate Corded Pet Nail Grinder – Best Premium Model

An Overview of the Best Dog Nail Grinder

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Multiple speeds
  • Rechargeable battery
  • Cordless
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  • Quiet
  • Clean
  • Safety features
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  • Affordable
  • Lightweight
  • Automatic LED light
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  • Quiet
  • Usable with different sized animals
  • USB rechargeable
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  • Quiet
  • Lightweight
  • Ergonomic design
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Five Best Dog Nail Grinders

1. Dremel 7300-PT Dog And Cat Nail Grinder Kit – Best Overall Grinder

Dremel 7300-PT Dog And Cat Nail Grinder Kit

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Dremel nail grinders are so good that nail grinders in general are often known as dremels, after the brand. Therefore, it is little surprise that this specialist tool from Dremel is the best on the market.

Product Features

  • Two speeds
  • Cordless and rechargeable

It comes with two speed settings, 6500 and 13000 RPM, which means you can cut through the outer parts of the nail quickly while moving a bit more slowly and applying a bit more care as you get closer to the quick. This speed may seem a bit slow to some, but unless you are a professional, you don’t really want to be working with faster speeds when grooming your pet.

The tool is also cordless which makes it easier to use, and you only need to worry about your dog’s paw and the tool and don’t have to think about cords and sockets which can be particularly troublesome if your dog suddenly becomes distressed. They may be less likely to react to this model than others, as it is also quieter than quite a few other models on the market.

The tool is powered by a removable and rechargeable battery which means that there is no need to worry about stocking up on expensive batteries. It also comes with the required charger and a variety of sanding cylinders.

Pros:

  • Multiple speeds
  • Rechargeable battery
  • Cordless
  • Relatively quiet

Cons:

  • Expensive

This Dremel grinder is a high-quality product from a high-quality brand, so it is more expensive than some of the other options on the market. It is twice as expensive as the cheapest tool on this list. But you get what you pay for with the Dremel and a two-year warranty as well.

2. Oster Gentle Paws Premium Dog And Cat Nail Grinder – Safest Grinder

Oster Gentle Paws Premium Dog And Cat Nail Grinder

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The Oster is probably the quietest grinder on the market, so if your dog is made nervous by these kinds of noises, the Oster is an excellent choice at an affordable price.

Product Features

  • Two speeds
  • Safety guard
  • Bands of different coarseness

As well as being whisper quiet, this is another grinder that is designed to be as safe as possible to use. It includes an adjustable safety guard that helps prevent you from grinding too far down the nail and also conveniently catches nail grindings for easy cleanup.

Another two-speed model, you can adjust your settings based on your confidence and which part of the nail you are working on. It also comes with a coarse stone, fine band, and two coarse bands, so you can adjust the band as well as the speed based on your needs.

The main downside with this model is, again, that it requires disposable batteries to run, and unlike with the FURminator, the first set does not come with the product. This means that this particular model is more expensive than it seems.

Pros:

  • Quiet
  • Clean
  • Safety features
  • Multiple speeds
  • Various coursenesses

Cons:

  • Uses batteries, not included

Despite the extra expense of buying batteries, the Oster is still an excellent tool, especially if you are lacking in confidence when it comes to grooming your dog’s nails and you are looking for features to make it as safe and easy as possible.

3. FURminator Nail Grinder For Dogs And Cats – Best Budget Grinder

FURminator Nail Grinder For Dogs And Cats

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The cheapest grinder on this list, the FURminator offers a highly affordable option that is still high-quality and one of the safest grinders on the market.

Product Features

  • Two speeds
  • LED light
  • Uses AA Batteries
  • Nail Guard

This is another two-speed design that allows you to adjust your work depending on how close you are getting to the quick. It also includes a lot of safety features including a nail guard to ensure that your dog’s fur does not get caught in the grinder and an LED light to help you get a clear look at what you are doing.

The main downside with this model is that it requires AA batteries to function. It comes with the four batteries that you’ll need to use it the right way and two grinding pads. While the idea of not needing to wait to charge might appeal, the expense of replacing batteries can quickly eat up any money that you saved by buying this product over the Dremel.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Lightweight
  • Automatic LED light
  • Multiple speeds
  • Safety features

Cons:

  • Uses batteries

As well as coming with an attractive price-tag, this grinder is one of the safest on the market. If you are a bit nervous when it comes to nail grooming, these additional features should help you grind away with confidence.

4. Hertzko Electric Dog And Cat Nail Grinder With USB Charger – Most Durable Grinder

Hertzko Electric Dog And Cat Nail Grinder With USB Charger

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The Hertzko uses a diamond bit grinder to ensure a smooth and safe grinding experience, but as expected with diamonds, it comes with a relatively hefty price-tag.

Product Features

  • Diamond bit grinder
  • Cordless
  • USB charger
  • Three size options

Like the Dremel, this Hertzko is cordless, so you can focus on the task at hand without worrying about cords. While cords can be particularly problematic if your dog decides to spook, this is less likely with the Hertzko than some other brands, as it is blissfully quiet.

The grinding machine comes with three different size openings, appropriate for different sized paws, which means that a single machine can effectively service a multi-pet household.

USB rechargeable, the higher price than some of the cheaper models should quickly even itself out as you save on battery replacement. However, you may find yourself out of pocket if you need to purchase new bands for the grinder, as they are not included, but these diamond bands should last and last.

Pros:

  • Quiet
  • Usable with different sized animals
  • USB rechargeable
  • Cordless

Cons:

  • Does not come with replacement bands
  • Limited speed options

This grinder is high quality but does not score higher on the list, as it comes with limited options when it comes to speed and coarseness levels. Nevertheless, this is a durable grinder that should more than do the job.

5. Wahl Ultimate Corded Pet Nail Grinder – Best Premium Model

Wahl Ultimate Corded Pet Nail Grinder

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By far the most expensive grinder on this list at twice the price of the Dremel, this Wahl grinder is the premium product.

Product Features

  • Multiple speeds
  • Multiple sanding wheel options
  • Power cord
  • Durable storage case

This model is designed for your comfort of use, as it is lightweight and ergonomically designed with finger grips to add comfort and control.

The grinder also comes with a variety of options with multiple speeds up to 13000 RPM, a large sanding drum with three different sanding wheels, and a small sanding drum with another three different sanding wheels. This means that you have multiple options depending on what you are doing which makes it ideal for a professional groomer.

The downsides with this model, besides the hefty price tag, is that it is not cordless which means the cord is just one more thing to keep an eye on while working.

Pros:

  • Quiet
  • Lightweight
  • Ergonomic design
  • Variable speeds
  • Multiple use options

Cons:

  • Very expensive
  • Corded

While this model may be too complicated for amateur home use, it has all the features needed when it comes to professional dog grooming.

Nail Grinders: The Basics

Nail grinders are pet grooming tools that allow you to file down your dog or cat’s nails as an alternative to clipping. Grinders are often also called dremels, named after the leading brand of grinder. In fact, according to vet Marty Becker:

… well before the idea of a dedicated canine nail grinder became reality, people used rotary grinding tools such as the Dremel to trim canine claws.

Dremel is well-known for selling power tools, and nail grinders are pretty similar in design and function to the grinding tool you might use for home improvements, but they generally run at slower speeds for safer use.

Grinders are considered especially beneficial for dogs that have extra thick nails, nails that are difficult to cut with clippers, or dogs with dark nails which make it difficult to distinguish between the nail and the quick, and for owners that are nervous about hurting their pets by excessive cutting or an unsteady hand.

According to vet Dr Marty Becker:

One advantage of grinding over clipping is that it can be easier to avoid the quick with a nail grinder, since you’re taking off just a tiny bit of the nail at a time. You can usually spot the quick before you hit it, unless your pet has dark or black nails.

Advantages

While a grinder will certainly be more expensive than a pair of clippers, there are lots of advantages to the extra investment.

Reduces Fear

As well as being a scary experience for your dog, especially if you have had problems before, nail cutting can be a scary experience for owners horrified by the idea of accidentally hurting their pup by cutting their cuticle. This is significantly less likely with a grinder than clippers, as you can work away slowly at the nail. You will feel more comfortable and confident, and your dog will pick up on that, so they will feel better too.

Steady Hands

One reason why dogs might have a fear of nail clippers is a bad experience in the past when an owner with unsteady hands did not have a firm enough grip on paws and clippers and accidentally took more of the nail than they mean to. While, of course, you will still want to be in control of both paw and machine with grinders, they require less precision, so things are less likely to go wrong.

Smooth Edges

When you clip your dog’s nails, you can often end up with sharp edges, which can be more dangerous than the overly long nails that you were dealing with. With a grinder you can smooth the edges of their nails, much as you would with a nail file.

Disadvantages

Of course, just because something is a better alternative does not mean that it does not have its downsides.

Noise

Grinders are pretty noisy, which is both annoying and can be its own source of fear as far as your dog is concerned. Also, a grinder alone will not dispel any pre-existing fear that your dog might have about having their nails trimmed. They may still protest when you take hold of their paw.

Odor And Dust

The grinding of sandpaper against nail can cause a pretty unpleasant smell and dust, which is actually ground up nail and pretty disgusting when you think about it.

The Quick Is Still At Risk

While you are much more likely to accidentally cut into your dog’s quick with clippers than with grinders, it is still possible to cut into the quick and hurt your pet. You will know that you have got down to the quick if you start to see a small dot in the middle of your dog’s nails.

Tips For Grinding Dog Nails

Of course, whatever nail grinder you go with, you need to use it properly for it to be effective. Read on for tips on using a nail grinder to groom your dog’s nails.

First, you need to get your dog accustomed to the tool. You can do this much as you do to  introduce your dog to anything new. Second, show them the grinder, and give them a reward to provide a good association with the tool. Then place a treat near the grinder, giving your dog an opportunity to sniff it out and become accustomed to it on their own. Learn more the best dog treats for training.

Once they seem happy with that, hold the grinder in your hand and turn it on and off quickly while sitting with your dog, giving them a reward for staying with you as you do. This helps them become accustomed to the sound of the grinder, which they may initially find quite disconcerting. Gradually keep the grinder on for longer periods of time until your dog seems generally happy with the tool.

Be aware that this process may take a few weeks.

When you are finally ready to start grooming your dog’s nails with the grinder, start slow and only grind away a small amount of your dog’s nail at a time. It is better to do a small amount of grinding weekly to regularly maintain your dog’s nails, rather than try and spend a few hours grinding down a set of overly long nails.

Support your dog’s toe in your hand, but be careful not to grip it too tightly. Start by grinding across the bottom of the nail, and then carefully work in from the tip of the nail.

Only hold the grinder against the nail for a second or two at a time, as both the grinder and the nail will get hot quickly which will be very uncomfortable for your hand and for their paw.

Remember to stay aware of your dog’s hair, and don’t let it get caught up in the grinder, as this can be quite painful. A piece of advice from Vet Street is to use old pantyhose to keep the hair away. Cover your dog’s paw with the hose, and push the nails through.

For more tips on grinding your dog’s nails, check out this YouTube video from Doctors Foster and Smith.

FAQs

Are Dog Nail Grinders Better Than Clippers?

Grinders are better than clippers when it comes to dogs with thick nails that are hard to cut with clippers. They are also better for dogs with dark nails when it is difficult to see where the nail ends and the quick begins. Owners that are nervous about hurting their dog when cutting their nails will also benefit from grinders.

Does Grinding Dogs’ Nail Hurt Them?

Grinders generally function at pretty low speeds by design in order not to put undue stress on the dog’s joints through the vibration of the grinding. Nevertheless, grinding should be done little by little on a regular basis, rather than doing a significant amount of work in one sitting which can cause undue stress.

Do Long Nails Hurt Dogs?

While it is clear that cutting dogs’ nails too short can hurt them, letting them grow to long is also painful. Moreover, having nails that are too long can damage the tendons in a dog’s feet which can cause pain when they walk and lead to long term deformities if left unchecked.

How Often Should Your Grind Your Dog’s Nails?

Most dogs need to have their nails cut every one to two months. If you hear your dog’s nails clicking on the floor, it is time for a trim.

The Verdict

Which grinder is best for you depends very much on what you want from your tool. If you are looking for the best grinder overall, unsurprisingly you should probably go with a Dremel. Affordable and effective, it is the market leader for a reason.

Whenever you are looking for something cheap but quality, consider the FURminator. If safety is your priority, then the Oster is the right grinder for you. If you are looking for durability and something that will last and can be used on multiple pets, then consider the Hertzko. Lastly, if you are looking for a professional tool for heavy use, then you can’t really go wrong with the Wahl Ultimate.

Whatever model you go for, remember that the tool is only as good as the person using it. Make sure to take the time to learn how to use your grinder properly and to train your pet to feel comfortable around the grinder for a happier, safer, and more cost effective grooming experience.

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About Wendy

Wendy
Wendy is a self-employed beauty therapist, mother of two, life-long pet parent and lover of dogs who somehow manages to squeeze in the time to satisfy another of her loves - writing. Wendy is the founder, main contributor to and editor of TotallyGoldens.

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