Dog Nail Grinder vs Clipper - Which is the Better Grooming Tool?

|8 min read

Does grooming your dog feel like going to war? Or are you tired of paying a hefty fee while enduring your dog's tantrum at the dog grooming center?

Well, we are about to tell you everything you need to know about pet grooming accessories needed to take care of your dog's overgrown nails at home.

In this article, we will cover the pros and cons of the nail grinder and the nail clipper. This will enable you to make an informed decision as a responsible pet parent.

So put your feet up, and, for the time being, drown the clickity clackity sound of your dog's overgrown nails with music. Let's find out which grooming tool is best for your dog.

Dog Nail Grinders

First, let's answer your question about how to grind dog nails?

Due to their newer technology and higher price, dog nail grinders are less common than scissor-style manual nail clippers.

A dog nail grinder is a nail-trimming device that is cordless and electrically powered. It has a small rotating section of unique, abrasive sandpaper material that grinds down the dog's nails gradually.

Important Note: A grinder typically wears down your dog's nails through friction. And as long as your dog is not afraid of the noise a nail grinder makes, it can be regarded as one of the safest and most straightforward methods.

However, grinding the nail to the required shape and length also takes time. The grinders typically come with replaceable heads that you can swap out according to your dog's nail type. This makes the machine extremely customizable to your needs.


There are several benefits to using a pet nail grinder in providing nail care for dogs. We are going to go over them one by one with you.

  • Precision

    A nail grinder helps shape nails with precision. You can also smooth rough edges and rounded nails with the nail grinder. Clipping dog nails can leave rough edges. This can be dangerous and may harm you or your dog.

  • Less Risk of Cutting the Quick

    The risk of accidental nail clipping quickly decreases when using a nail grinder. Accidental cutting of the quick can be painful for the dog. It may cause bleeding and an injury that may impact their mobility.

  • Minimized Discomfort

    For some canine fellows, nail grinders may be more comfortable than clippers, as no force is involved, and the whole process is very gentle.

  • Suitable for Thicker Nails

    A nail grinder is a better option for dogs with thick nails. Thick nails require a lot of force to cut. The force you exert to cut the nails may cause discomfort for your dog if they have thick nails. It is also suitable for dogs with dark nails where the quick isn't visible.


A few disadvantages are involved in using a nail grinder for trimming your furry friend's nails. Let's see what those are -

  • Time-Consuming

    Using a nail grinder can be highly time-consuming, especially if the dog is uncomfortable during the process. This may result in you taking many breaks during the process.

  • Noisy

    Nail grinders have a buzzing sound that can cause your dogs to become anxious or fearful.

  • Friction

    When coming in continuous contact with the dog's nails, the dog nail grinder can generate heat, which can sometimes be uncomfortable for the dog. It may also cause burns in an extreme scenario if the grinder is left in one spot for too long.

  • Cost

    Dog nail grinders are an advanced nail maintenance tool. Thus, they are expensive when compared with traditional clippers. Their parts may also require replacement from time to time.


RexiPets Dog Nail Grinder

  • Safe and Easy
  • Great for home and profession use
  • Super quiet while grinding
Learn More

Dog Nail Clippers

Now let's discuss nail clippers. There are mainly two types of dog nail clippers available in the market.

1) Scissor Nail Clippers

This is the most commonly chosen option in clipper style. Scissor dog nail clippers work like regular scissors.

They are better suited for big breeds and dogs with thick nails. This is because these clippers let you use much force to deal with sturdy overgrown nails.

However, for the same reason, they might not be a good option for young dogs, small breeds, or dogs with arthritis. They usually come with an ergonomic handle that fits better in your palm and is convenient to use. That is what matters at the end of the day.

2) Guillotine-Style Nail Clippers

Guillotine-style dog nail clippers are the least commonly used dog clippers. These dog clippers have a hole where the dog's nail is supposed to go, making it easier to trim the nail. It also helps prevent cutting the quick. 

A blade slides over the hole and cuts the dog's nail when the handle of the guillotine-style dog nail clipper is squeezed.

Due to the inability of guillotine nail clippers to effectively cut the thick and long nails of big dogs, this design is best suited for small or medium dogs.

However, one downside of these clippers is that their blades require more frequent sharpening or replacement to maintain their sharpness.


There are certain pros dog nail clippers have over dog nail grinders. Let's look over them -

  • Time efficiency

    Nail trimming is definitely a swifter method for trimming dog nails. All you have to do is be accustomed to the practice, and dealing with those long nails hardly takes time.

  • Less Noisy

    The noise of a grinder may sometimes induce anxiety in some dogs. If this is the situation with your dog, opting for a dog nail clipper is ideal, as it has minimal noise.

  • Affordable

    Let's face it, keeping a pet dog is not easy on the pocket, so you must save up every chance you get. The dog nail clipper is a cheaper option compared to a dog nail grinder and also requires less equipment.

  • Precision

    Nail clippers offer more precision in making small cuts. This comes in handy when dealing with dogs with smaller nails.


No doubt, there are several benefits to using traditional nail clippers and trimmers for dogs. But there are also potential drawbacks that we should also consider.

  • Quick in danger

    When it comes to nail clippers, there is a bigger risk of accidentally cutting the quick of the nail by cutting too deep. It is a mistake beginners and new dog owners often make. And it can cause your dog extreme amounts of pain and difficulty in walking. Plus, it may also cause bleeding.

  • Requires Skill

    Trimming a dog's nails with clippers requires a lot more skill and precision than using a nail grinder, and it is something that comes with time. It is tough to clip dark nails cause it is harder to locate the quick in them.

  • May Cause Discomfort

    For some canine buddies, nail clippers can be uncomfortable or even painful. This is mostly in unfortunate cases of cutting too much or simply if your clippers are not sharp enough and do cut swiftly.

  • Limited Control

    It is difficult to shape the nails as the clipper cuts only in one direction, which limits your control over the shape of the nail. It may also leave sharp edges on your dog's nails that can harm your dog or you.

So grinding is a better option if you want to keep dog nails short without clipping.

Dog Nail Grinder vs Clipper - Which Option is Best and Why?

The choice between using a dog nail clipper and a dog nail grinder ultimately depends on your dog's personality and what you and your dog are comfortable with. Feeling at ease with your chosen method or tool is essential because your dog can sense anxiety and react to it.

Important Note: You may prefer clippers over a grinder if your furry friend is timid and frightened of loud noises. However, if you use clippers, it's best to go slowly and only clip a small section of the nail each week. This allows the quick to gradually pull away from the nail edge, making it easier to cut more in the coming weeks. Avoid cutting a large portion of the nail at once to avoid accidentally cutting your dog's quick.

Sometimes, even if you use a clipper, a grinder can smooth out sharp edges and create a more polished finish.

Lastly, there is nothing wrong with opting for a professional dog groomer for trimming your dog's nails instead of doing it yourself, as long as you budget for monthly nail trimmings.

How Long Should Dog Nails Be?

Dogs should have nails that are visible but do not extend past the paw. You might not be able to clearly see the nails if your dog has long hair. However, you'll know your dog's nails are too long if they stick out past the bottom of the paw pad.

If you have hardwood flooring, the noises of nails shrieking or clicking on the wood indicate that it is time to cut your dogs' nails. As a general rule, your dog's nails shouldn't be touching the floor.

How Often Should Dogs Nails Be Ground or Trimmed?

Now that we have walked you over let's determine how often you should grind or trim your dog's nails.

How often you should grind or trim your dog's nails depends on various factors such as the breed, lifestyle, and activity level of your dog. Generally, it is recommended to trim or grind your dog's nails once every 2 to 4 weeks.

However, there are some signs that you can look for to determine if your dog's nails need to be trimmed. These include a clicking sound that you may hear when your dog walks on a hard surface; it's a sign that the nails are too long.

Another sign to look out for is scratching. If your dog scratches you, the furniture, or the floor more than usual, it may be a sign that the nails are too long and need to be trimmed.

Lastly, the visible length of your dog's nails indicates that your dog's nails are overgrown. If the nails are visibly long and curling, it's a sign that they need to be trimmed.

Important Note: While it is recommended to trim or grind your dog's nails once every 2-4 weeks, monitoring your dog's nails for signs that they need to be trimmed more often is essential.

Final Words!

Choosing between a dog nail grinder or a clipper is essential for any pet owner. It is important to consider your dog's personality, comfort level, and the benefits and drawbacks of each tool. It is also essential to consider what you are comfortable with because if you are uneasy during the process, your dog will sense it and be anxious. 

While clippers may be better for timid dogs, grinders can provide a smoother finish and eliminate sharp edges. 

However, regardless of your chosen tool, maintaining your dog's nail health through regular grooming is the most important thing. With the right tool and technique, grooming your dog's nails can be a stress-free bonding experience for you and your furry friend.

It is vital to know that if you feel overwhelmed by the whole process, don't be afraid to seek professional help or advice from your veterinarian. 

So, now that you know everything there is to know about dog nail grinders vs clippers, what is stopping you from grooming your canine friend?

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