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Dog Nail Grinder vs Clipper: Which is Better?

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By Nicole Cosgrove

dogs getting nails trimmed

Keeping a dog’s nails trimmed is one important grooming step that shouldn’t be overlooked, no matter the breed of the dog. Whether you’re happy sharing your life with a little Chihuahua or a big German Shepherd, long and sharp nails can result in scratched flooring at home. Long nails can be pretty loud when your dog walks around the house at night.

And nails that aren’t trimmed can get caught in carpets, clothing, and bedding which can be painful for your pooch. But if you’re like many dog owners, you may be wondering what to use when it comes to keeping your pup’s nails short and smooth as time goes on. In short, you have two choices: a nail clipper or a grinder. Here’s what you need to know to make an educated buying decision that is right for you and your dog.

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Dog Nail Grinder vs Clipper: What’s the Difference?

dog's nails
Image Credit: Nature_Blossom, Pixabay

Even though they look different, dog nail clippers are a lot like the nail clippers humans use to keep their nails trimmed. One type of nail clipper that’s available on the market is the Miller’s Forge Trimmer, otherwise known as the scissor clipper. These clippers work a lot like traditional scissors in that you use them to simply snip the tips of the nails off.

Then there are guillotine clippers to consider. These clippers have small holes built into the blades that make the clippers look reminiscent of a guillotine – hence their name. The tip of the dog’s nail goes into the “guillotine” area of the clippers and all you have to do is squeeze the clippers together.

Dog nail grinders are quite a bit different than clippers because they don’t clip at all. Instead, they sand down the nail just like a traditional sander or Dremel would. And instead of being hand-powered like dog nail clippers are, grinders are powered by electricity.

What are the Pros & Cons of Each Type?

There are some positive and negative aspects of both dog nail clippers and grinders to keep in mind when choosing an option to use at home on your own pooch. Here are the pros that each option has going for and against them:

Dog Nail Clippers

dogs getting nails trimmed
Image Credit: Duet PandG, Shutterstock

The best thing about nail clippers is that they’re quiet and easy to use. They also happen to be an affordable tool that will perform for you and your dog for years to come. Dog nail clippers also get the job of trimming done quickly so your dog doesn’t have to sit still for long.


Clippers aren’t always accurate and can make it tough to see the nail you are working with, which can complicate the trimming process. And although the nails will be shorter after clipping them, they may look course or uneven when all is said and done. There is a better chance that you will accidentally cut your dog’s skin when using clippers, too.

Dog Nail Grinders

oster nail grinder


Grinders are an excellent choice for dogs that have thick, long nails. The nails can be ground down without having to use much force which would be more comfortable for both you and your dog. Dog nail grinders also make it easier to avoid cutting the nail too short. Grinding can be done a little at a time until the desired length is accomplished. Grinders also enable you to smooth your dog’s nails out and round the edges, so they look as good as they feel.


Dog nail grinders are loud and can be intimidating to dogs and make them try to move away from the machine while you’re trimming their nails – so some patience, treats, and training may be necessary. Dust is typically left behind once the trimming process is complete, which means more cleanup for you. And grinders typically require power to function, so you can’t use one to trim your dog’s nails in the yard or anywhere there isn’t a power outlet.

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Dog Nail Grinder vs Clipper: Quality Options to Invest In

dachshund getting nails trimmed
Image Credit: kudrashka-a, Shutterstock

Whether you choose dog nail clippers or a grinder for your dog, there are lots of great options available on the market to choose from.

Dog Clippers

One quality clipper option to consider are the Safari Professional Nail Trimmers. They feature a stainless-steel compact design and precision blades that promise attractive results. Another option that may interest you is the Four Paws Magic Coat Super Mini Nail Clippers. They feature a safety bar that will help you avoid overcutting your dog’s nails.

Dog Grinders

As for grinders, you can’t go wrong with the Oster Gentle Paws Premium Grinder. It features a quiet 2-speed motor and a safety guard to rely on. And the JW Pet Palm Nail Grinder is a reliable choice that shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s cordless, it’s small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, and it features a handy LED light.

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The Bottom Line: Nail Grinder vs Clipper For Dogs

Dog nail clippers are great options for small to medium size dogs, while grinders are optimal for large breeds. But both are suitable for all sizes of dogs, so choose what you feel most comfortable working with. You may even want to purchase one of each to accommodate all of your future dog nail trimming needs, even as those needs change.

Have you tried clippers or grinders to trim your dog nails in the past? We’d love to hear about your personal experience! Feel free to share your story in the comments section below.

Featured Image Credit: Duet PandG, Shutterstock

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