Hello, wonderful people!
Ok, my next topic of research are pawdicures – do you do them yourselves for your fur babies, or do you let the professionals do it? Do you trust your vets, or commercial groomers such as those at a Petco or Petsmart?
If you do your dog’s nails yourselves, do you use a nail clipper or a nail grinder, or both? What is best (particularly for a small dog, 13lbs)? We have a nail clipper for Bruno but he seems to be afraid of it no matter how slowly we condition him to it, or give him treats. He also gets spooked by the sound of the nail being clipped…
Any input or shared experience will be appreciated!
When I raised rabbits, I always did it myself. I used to do the goldens too. It still freaks me out, and since the current pack has a groomer, I have them do it.
However, my brother in law does theirs with a grinder and said it’s fairly easy, and hasn’t ever hit blood, dark nails too. As far as commercial groomers, my sister brought her westie to petsmart because there was a lady there who specialized in them, and they did a nice job so that would be fine. Now that I’m watching him (only 6 more weeks 🙁 ) he goes to my groomer because I don’t want to make the extra stop
aquariangt, thanks so much for the response! We really are thinking about investing in a grinder, if the little one would let us do his nails with it, it will save us some money in the long run… And if not, well, we tried, and maybe the future dogs will be less afraid of those things… 🙂
I use a grinder/dremel. I bought it at the hardware store. When I had my Doberman, I used to take him to the groomer inside Petsmart to have his nails done. One time when I took him, some f’n b**ch hacked everyone of his nails down to the quick. It hurt him to even walk. I couldn’t even get him to go back into Petsmart after that, he was THAT traumatized. Needless to say, I got that b**ch fired and ever since then I do my dog’s nails myself, with a dremel. It does take some getting used to, and some dremels are quieter than others. My Bailey is really good about it now, but it did take alot of treats to get her used to it.
- This reply was modified 5 years, 3 months ago by Cyndi.
I use a grinder/ dremel also but I have a large/ giant breed and it is much more comfortable for him. I have also had them done by a groomer and they also used a grinder. I have the dremel 4000 which is electric, variable speed and I use the lowest setting. That may be more than you need and someone with a smaller breed can help with that. One other idea that was suggested by the groomer and has worked really well is to use a nail file that is used on acrylic nails. I buy a course 100 grit file at Sally’s Nails and use it once a week. It is easy to keep track of how close you are getting to the quick and there is no noise or vibration. You might not need any more than that. Hope this helps.
Aleks, we used to use clippers for Bentley. When he was really little, we actually used human toenail clippers for a while because he was so tiny and it was hard to see the quick in his nails when using dog clippers. We graduated him to dog clippers when he got big enough, but even though we never cut his quick, he was always terrified of them. I think they hurt him when they closed down. He’s right at that size where he’s too big for the scissor style ones and too small for most of the regular ones around here. He’s got them big jack russell nails, yet he only weights 7 or 8 pounds!
I remembered a long time ago, when they were still new, my grandma bought me a PediPaws for the big dogs (they don’t need it, so it put it away), so I dug that out and it goes over much better with Bentley. He still doesn’t like it, but he doesn’t scream bloody murder for no reason or take off like a bat out of hell when he sees it. He just doesn’t like getting his nails cut. He never has lol
I am a dremel user for our new Lab. I find I have better control.
I started with the dremel on our previous Lab many years ago because I was a novice dog owner, she had dark nails, and I was terrified of cutting the quick.
Arrow is a yellow lab with light nails and when we adopted him this winter, I could not find the dremel and tried the clippers, figuring it should be easy. I drew blood anyway. Never again. A tiny nick and he went out into the snow and made it look like the scene from a horror flick. lol.
Thank goodness, with the reward of a nice treat when I am done, Arrow is quite okay with the sound and smell of the buzzing dremel.
I just use clippers. But then again, the boy I do is Mr. Floppy – he will lay down on his side and go completely limp like a dead dog when I bring the trimmers out. Only thing that moves is his wagging tail!
I’d say the grinder would be a good investment though. I’ve also seen ingenius ideas – sticking sandpaper to a board and teaching the dog to dig on it. Buuuuut not too many dogs learn the command “dig” lol!
My other guy, Loki, isn’t a huge fan of nail clipping. He gets his nails filed by running on asphalt/cement. He very seldom needs them trimmed now.
Everyone, you have been so extremely helpful!!! Thanks so much! 🙂
I have been looking at the Furminator Nail Grinder – but when you say you use a dremel, do you mean like a real (hardware?) tool?
Also, I also think it may be hurting Bruno when the clippers close down – something with the pressure of it I think. And although we never did draw blood on him, we did get the quick once – I was going very slowly, he yelped, I stopped, no blood. I cut that nail higher with no problems, but I think that may have traumatized him.
Carlyn, I think this is a cool idea – Bruno loves digging anyway, and we may even try that board-and-sandpaper thing, but do you think it will hurt his paws at all though? He;s a vigorous digger!
I usually still file his nails with a human nail file for real nails even after he has them clipped/ground, because they are still scratchy. It takes a while, but he lets me do that better. So I can try the nail file for acrylic nails too, that may work better! I may get that first, then the sandpaper board, then either the Furminator grinder or a dremel if that is what we need. And if all else fails, well, I will just take him to the Petsmart people – he hasn’t had a problem with them, I just wanted to see if doing it myself would be a better investment.
I use both, but my dogs prefer the dremel.
Naturella, Yes, my Dremel is a regular tool but the important thing is it has a slow speed of 5000rpm and that is what I use. I use it for a few seconds on each nail so they don’t get hot and then come back to them again as needed. The 120 grit (fine) Dremel sanding band is about right. Someone else may be able to tell you if you could use something like the Dremel Mini-mite which is cordless and rechargeable.
You are right about the pressure of the clipper. If you have to exert much pressure it can squeeze the quick and hurt even if you don’t cut it.
I honestly have no clue if it’d hurt his paws. If it’s done for just a few min at a time, I wouldn’t think it could do any harm.
Funny thing about him hating the pressure of clippers – my boy Shasta (the one I mentioned as Mr. Floppy) is mostly perfect about it, but occasionally he gives a squeak (even though I’m nowhere near the quick). I’m guessing he just doesn’t like the pressure/pulling from it. But then I clipped his dewclaw (it was so long that it’s making a half-circle), and he didn’t care one bit – but I actually /did/ get the quick and make it bleed. He didn’t fuss at all. I put a bit of cornstarch on, then he’d lick it and make a disgusted face. Within a few minutes bleeding stopped completely. He’s so silly!
It’s hard to see his quick since his nails are black, but I’m so glad he does it while laying down – I can look at the underside of his nails and see exactly where the quick starts.
Sorry to hi-jack. Very interesting topic.
Will a sanding block work? My dog hates the nail clipper, and I’m afraid to use dremel on him. He has long hair and I’m afraid the hair would get caught in the tool.
This is what I’m thinking of using.
Oh, ok, I looked it up and I think that the Dremel Minimite would work for Bruno. It is about the same price as the Furminator grinder, I will just have to see, cause I think the Furminator has some protective thing on it, supposedly to prevent getting into the quick. So I may just try that. I am hoping it would also work on a larger dog too, as we want to have another one, a bigger one some day, but right now, we just need to find something that works for Bruno, lol.
GizmoMom, this block is interesting, but do you know how big it is? I think it may be a little small for the digging exercise… I didn’t see measurements in the product description.
Again, thank you all so very much, I learn so much from you all! I just hope that one day, when I have some human babies, baby-forumers would be as kind and knowledgeable as you are! 🙂
P.S. Cyndi, I am so sorry for your poor Doberman’s experience!
(If your other dog is a pup, then definitely try to get it used to clippers/files/etc ASAP….much easier to get a pup used to something as opposed to a 40lb dog!)
GizmoMom, Yes, the long hair could get caught in the Dremel and usually they recommend trimming the hair first. I looked at the sanding block and if you like the way it feels when you hold it I would give it a try. I currently use a nail file that is 100 grit but also a Dremel with a 120 grit. I have a large dog with BIG tough nails so the Dremel gets the job done much faster. He prefers either to a clipper. One thing to be aware of when sanding is that heat can build up from the friction so I do a little and then move to the next nail. I just rotate through them until they are the way I want them.
Thanks for the comments about the sanding block. I think I’ll give it a try. I wasn’t planning to train him to dig, just wanted to use it like a nail file.
Shasta, I certainly will for the next one if it is a puppy. Personally, I am not opposed to adopting even a senior dog, but Brian (the husband) would prefer a pup or a younger dog I think. But if I find the grinder to work better for Bruno, I will try it on the next one for sure.
Also, thanks for the advice, Zane’s Mom! I think for a little dog it would not take too long to take care of each nail.
I’ve never used a dremmel but here is a tip for the hair: put a pantyhose or knee hi panty pose over the dogs paw. It’ll keep the hair back for easy trimming!
InkedMarie, great idea! Thanks!
Currently I make dog treats and I am a canine massage therapist and I make essential oil based flea products for dogs and cats. I used to be a groomer. My expectations for using a dremel where high. It does not cause as many nail bleeds as a nail clipper but if you press hard and keep going the nail can still bleed. However, it vibrates the nail and this can be a problem. So here is my mini guide to nail clipping.
Heavy Grit Nail File – Puppies and any super sensitive dog can benefit from a nail file. First you begin to associate good things with your dog letting you handle their feet. Treats, toys, love, whatever is a high value reward for YOUR dog. Stay below their freak-out threshold. This means that if your dog freaks out the minute you get close to their foot you stay just outside that threshold and reward. You slowly move closer and closer to the foot each time stopping just before they reach their freak-out threshold and you reward. If you go too far just stop for the day and continue tomorrow.
Once you can handle the foot without a reaction you touch the file to the nail and if everything is still good you give a stroke and so on. This requires patience and determination but you will soon be filing your dog’s nails. If you file your dogs nails regularly you will not have to do anything else.
Nail Clipper – Only use pliers type clippers or scissor type clippers. Guillotine style clippers have a cutter on only one side and are much more likely to crush or pinch a nail. Any nail clipper you use MUST be super sharp. As soon as they begin to dull throw them away and get a new one! If your dog’s nails are very long and there is a nice chunk of nail that you can cut without hitting the quick then DO NOT use a grinder. Grinding large amounts of a nail are usually more upsetting to a dog than one quick clip. When clipping a nail don’t softly squeeze the clipper. One firm squeeze and your through. A firm squeeze IS the way to go. If your dog has dark colored nails and you can’t see the quick, cut small slivers and look at the nail from the bottom where you just cut. As you get close to the quick you will begin to see what looks like a black dot in the center of the bottom of the nail. This is the vein canal and you are getting close to the quick and you have gone far enough. In light colored nails the vein canal will show as a pink dot. If the nails are still touching the floor at this point you should cut a sliver a week until you get the nails just above the floor. Each time you cut a nail close to the quick the quick recedes a little and in a week you can cut another sliver. If you wait two weeks or more then the quick is right back where it was and you will not be able to get the nail any shorter than the last time.
Dremel – Good for finishing any nail to remove the sharp edges or to slightly shorten a nail. If there is long hair you can slide your free hand under the hair and pull it back. Long hair can get wrapped around a dremel and upset you and your dog!!!
Walking on concrete helps any dogs nails and with enough walking some dogs never need their nails cut. Dewclaws never touch the ground so they must ALWAYS be checked!
Dang, that might be the longest post I ever wrote!
USA Dog Treats, Thank you for taking time to write a very long informative post. It is very helpful.
Very nice info, USA dog treats! I also find that for wiggly dogs, it is usually fine to just clip the middle two nails on all four feet and then the dewclaws (if needed, my boy has a rear dewclaw on one side that is huge and in a half-circle, we are slowly “moving” the quick back. The other one? It got torn off when he was a pup, and now it only needs to be clipped once every 7-9mo).
Most of the time, the two outside nails don’t need more than a tiny sliver removed, if that. So if you can at least get 8-10 nails out of your dog in a day, then that’s great.
I find going for regular walks/jogs is plenty to keep the rear nails filed (whew! Loki hates having those ones messed with)
OMG, USA Dog Treats, thanks so much for the informative post! Our clippers are guillotine – so yeah, I think that’s why Bruno didn’t quite like them.
But I really want to get a Dremel and try that soon, so I will keep you posted! Payday on Wednesday! Woohoo! 🙂
Ok, everyone! Today was the day we used a dremel-like tool (Black and Decker) on Bruno’s nails. All I can say is – poor baby!!! He was terrified and hated it. Equally hates clippers and the dremel. BUT, when hubs got the dog in his hands things began going faster – I think I was spending too much time trying to entice and get Bruno to calm the heck down – hubs was more like: “Come here. We love you and this is not hurting you but it has to get done and the less you cooperate the longer it will take”. He was very efficient though and now Bruno has lovely short rounded nails! No yelping and no quick-getting – just a ton of squirming.
We decided to do this weekly so that we just maintain it and so it takes just a few minutes and not a half or a whole hour like today! But I like that we can do it ourselves and save money and have them done nicely and as we wish.
Sorry things didn’t go super well….I know how tough it can be to mess with nails lol! Did Loki’s for the second time ever the other day. Let’s just say he disliked them XD
Weekly sounds good though. I pretty much never trim Loki’s nails anymore since I run him on the driveway. Maybe you can get away with walking/jogging Bru down a sidewalk daily, and then using just a file every week?
Carlyn, well, by the end of it the poor baby was exhausted from wiggling and trying to escape, lol, so it was easier. He does walk on concrete (cement) every day but prefers the grass so he walks on it more often than not, even when on long walks. I may do his nails with the Black&Decker one more time, then see if I can maintain it with just filing with a nail file. His front ones were perfect, but the back ones can use some finishing touches, lol!
Ah yes, the back ones are definitely hardest lol! That’s how Loki is – I almost never need to clip his front ones since he runs on the driveway, but the back ones don’t get filed down as easily.
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