Why I Prefer Using a Nail Dremel Over Nail Clippers
Do you cringe every time you use nail clippers to cut your dogs nails, or is it just me?
Professional groomers make it look so easy; they make it look like clippers slice through dog nails like butter. But when I do it? I feel like I’m trying to cut through concrete with a piece of dental floss.
So a few years back I made a change; I switched from using nail clippers to a dremel. Did it make trimming my dogs nails more fun? Well, no, it’s not a miracle maker. But it does make it much more tolerable.
Here’s why I made the switch, and why I prefer using a nail dremel over nail clippers.
Are Your Dog’s Nails Hard to Clip?
Do you struggle trimming your dogs nails? If so you’re not alone; it’s not a fun process. Most dogs hate it, and from the people I’ve spoken to the majority seem to despise it just as much.
So how did I make clipping my dogs nails a little easier? I switched from using a pair of nail clippers to a dremel. A nail dremel might not be right for everyone, but they’re great for those of us who struggle trimming our dog’s nails with traditional guillotine style nail clippers.
Why I Prefer a Nail Dremel Over Nail Clippers
Laika is a pretty big dog with thick nails, and even with a brand new set of clippers they’re not easy to clip. And since most of her nails are black I can’t see the quick (the part in the middle that’s filled with blood vessels), so I’m always nervous about cutting them too short.
The reason I recommend using a dremel over nail clippers is control. I never feel like I’m in complete control when using nail clippers. They get dull, and they turn what should be a nice easy trim into a nerve wracking experience.
Have you ever cut into your dog’s quick? If so it’s something you (and your dog) won’t forget. With a dremel I don’t have to worry about that. With a dremel I know how much I’m trimming at a time, and I don’t have to worry about accidentally cutting her nails too short.
Nail trimming is never fun. Using a dremel isn’t the highlight of my week, but it does make trimming my dog’s nails so much easier. It gives me confidence in what I’m doing, and when I’m less nervous my dog is less nervous. It makes nail trimming a much more tolerable experience for both me and my dog.
Tip: If you do end up cutting your dog’s nail too short here’s 5 remedies to stop your dog’s nail from bleeding.
What Exactly Is a Nail Dremel?
A nail dremel is a rotary tool that work by grinding your dog’s nails down. They’re a good alternative for dogs who hate having their nails clipped by guillotine style clippers, though the noise they make does take some getting used to.
The 7300 dremel that I use is cordless, and came with a set of rechargeable batteries and 4 replacement drums. It’s lightweight (1.4 pounds), which makes it easy to control and hold onto for extended periods of time. It has two speed settings: high and low. For Laika (70 pounds) I use the high speed setting.
After 3 years of use I’ve only had to change two drums (they get worn down after repeated use), and it still holds it’s charge as well as is did when I first got it.
How to Use a Nail Dremel
To use a nail dremel you push/tap the grinder directly onto your dog’s nails. They do get hot after prolonged use, so it’s recommended that you only hold it on your dog’s nail for a second or two at a time.
One of my favorite things about using a dremel is the ability to get my dog’s nails much shorter than I could with clippers. Since you’re only removing small bits of nail at a time it’s easy to watch your own progress and not worry about cutting into the quick.
Here’s a great video by Laurie Luck showing how to use a dremel on your dog’s nails:
How to Introduce Your Dog to a Nail Dremel
When introducing your dog to the dremel be sure to take your time and use plenty of treats. The noise it makes will take your dog some getting used to, so the goal is to make the experience a positive one.
Using a dremel may give you more confidence, but it will still take time for your dog to get used to it. My best advice is to take it slow. Give your dog a chance to get used to the noise a few times before heading right into the trimming part.
For dogs that are sensitive to noises (or new situations) I suggest turning it on a few times around them without trimming your dogs nails. It’s tedious I know, but rewarding them for being around that new scary thing is one of the best ways to make sure you don’t completely sour their association with it right away.
I’d give Laika treats for sitting near me when I had the dremel on, and we worked our way up to doing one nail at a time.
And if you’re clumsy like me just be careful around your dog’s fur when using a dremel; I have gotten the dremel stuck in the carpet a few times, and I don’t even want to imagine how horrible it would be to get it stuck in your dog’s fur.
Watch Out For Heat When Using a Dremel
When it comes to using a dremel on your dog’s nails there’s one thing to watch out for: heat.
Nail dremel’s get hot after prolonged use. If your dremel has been turned on for awhile don’t hold it on your dogs nails for more than a second at a time. Do one quick tap (or brush) at a time and take a break for a few seconds in-between.
The dremel I use (the Dremel 7300) is fairly low powered (compared to others on the market), so it takes a bit longer to heat up (it is powerful enough to be effective on my 70 pound German Shepherd mix). But after a few minutes on the high setting it does become hot to the touch.
It’s a good idea to get in the habit of turning your dremel off in between nails. That will help delay how quickly it warms up, and it will help you avoid any unnecessary tangles. (I’ve gotten mine stuck in the carpet a few times because I forgot to turn it off before setting it down)
The Pros & Cons of Using a Nail Dremel vs Clippers
I love my dremel, and I’ve been using it for years, but in fairness I admit it’s not perfect. Using a dremel still takes awhile to get my dogs nails completely done, and the activity itself isn’t the most pleasant. But it does bring a level of stability and comfort that I rely on, which is the main reason why I prefer using a nail dremel over nail clippers.
When I use traditional clippers I have to push down so hard, leaving me paranoid about accidentally splitting or crushing my dog’s nails. With a dremel I don’t have that worry; I know exactly how much I’m going to grinding off.
Thinking about making the switch from nail clippers to a nail dremel? Here’s the pros & cons of using a dremel:
Pros of Using a Nail Dremel
- More control (don’t have to worry about cutting the quick)
- Doesn’t get dull (they come with replacement bands)
- Works well on thick nails (mine is powerful enough for my German Shepherd mix)
- Doesn’t leave your dogs nails sharp (with clippers I’d have to use a file afterwards)
- The incremental trimming makes getting short nails easier
Cons of Using a Nail Dremel
- Requires charging and/or a cord
- More expensive (mine cost $29 versus $9 for clippers)
- The noise & vibrations can make dogs nervous (use lots of treats when starting out)
- Can take longer if you’re proficient with clippers
- Gets hot after prolonged use
The Benefits of Using a Nail Dremel Over Clippers
Thinking about switching over to a dremel for your dog’s nails? Here’s the benefits of using a nail dremel over clippers:
- Trimming thick nails that are hard to cut with clippers
- Trimming black nails where you can’t see the quick
- Those of us who are nervous using clippers
Now I know that’s only 3 benefits, but when it comes to trimming my dog’s nails those are my main concerns, and why I always choose my dremel over clippers.
A dremel makes trimming my dog’s nails easier, I don’t have to worry about cutting them too short, and they don’t make me nervous like clippers do. Those 3 reasons alone are why I prefer a using dremel over clippers, and those are the reasons I’m never looking back.
How Do You Make Trimming Your Dog’s Nails Easier?
Have you tried using a dremel for your dog’s nails? Do you prefer using a nail dremel over nail clippers? Do you have any favorite tips or tricking for making trimming your dog’s nails easier?
If you’re looking for more information on trimming your dog’s nails be sure to check out the following articles:
- Trimming a Dog’s Nails – The Other End of the Leash
- Cutting Your Dog’s Nails: How Important Is It Really? – Susan Garrett
- How to Trim Your Dogs Nails With a Dremel – Smart Dog University
- Doggy Nail Care – Dremel vs. Clippers – DZ’s Adventures
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Laurie Powell says
I use a well chewed nylabone with lots of ridges dipped in peanut butter held by my husband or distract our pointer while using the dremel on his impossible black nails. The dremel has been a game changer. Saving trips to the vets for stressful and expensive nail trims. I’ve trimmed lots of dogs with regular nail clippers but he was impossible until now.
I much prefer using a Dremel, too, but it’s not only because it’s more controlled and convenient but because of 2 of our dogs just flat-out hate nail clippers. Our cat also gets really cranky when her nails are supposed to get clipped, and in the past, we successfully used a blindfold to get her to stay calm. We went on to Dremels, thinking it would be even more difficult but we were ready to try anything at that point. And it turned out to be the solution. However! Our third dog is reversed – she hates the Dremel and has no problem with clippers. So as usual with pets, it depends on the individual and you really gotta test which option works ^-^
Why on earth would you cut s cat’s nails??
Cats nails get very long, sharp and they get caught in any and all material. Additionally, the length of their nails leads to unintentional scratches
I had a dremmel, but gave it away and went back to clippers. My dog is an 85lb Weimaraner, and it took FOREVER to trim his large, thick nails w the dremmel. Now that was 8 years ago, and maybe they have gotten better since then. Or maybe I needed a bigger, higher powered one. But since I am afraid of cutting the quick, Murphy’s nails are pretty long. Even after trimming, they are longer than the nails in the first pic.
Should I try again? I would LOVE to get Murphy’s nails shorter without risking hurting him. Perhaps the trimmer in this article would do the job better than the one I had before. It was all but useless on his nails.
Anastacia And Eskin | Eskin's Escapades says
Hi, Kell. I might be able to help. Since your dog has longer nails, you should take the process gradually. The quick in your dog’s nails will begin to recede, so repeat the nail clipping process about once every week until the nails are nice and short. In case you’re wondering how to find the quick in your dog’s nails, clip the nails until you see a black dot in the center of the cut surface (for black nails. white nails usually have a pink surface once you reach the quick). If you would like to try using the dremel, start on a low speed and then switch to a higher speed, which might grind the nails better. You could also try clipping the nails and then finishing the process off by grinding using the dremel Hope this helps!
Probably just need a lower grit sanding band for it. Depending on which grit, you can either take off the width of a hair after a few seconds or half an inch. Not sure what grit you were using or should be used for nails as I am just now looking into grinding my dogs nails but am somewhat familiar with dremels.
faith poe says
I have three pups and two pairs of clippers that look just like they did when I bought them. I tried taking them to a groomer to get them clipped but I couldn’t do it anymore after I had to clean my car and run my littlest one to the vet because of the amount of blood from a bad trim. My baby’s didn’t get them done for a while because I was scared to do it myself and didn’t want to bring them back to the one who did the bad trim. But now with the dremel I’m taking care of their claws again and feel better about doing it.