Keeping your dog’s claws nice and short is important. If they get too long, your dog runs the risk of catching them. This could result in a torn claw or worse. Even if that doesn’t happen, it will be uncomfortable for your dog to walk around with claws that are too long. If you hear your dog’s claws hitting the pavement or floor with every step, they probably need trimming.
Shouldn’t you get the vet to do this?
You can take this route, and indeed some owners do resort to doing this. Trouble is, it can be costly. It’s also something you can easily learn to do yourself.
If you want to try maintaining your dog’s claws on your own, you need to decide whether to opt for a top dog nail grinder, or whether a clipper is more your style (check out our post on the best dog nail clippers!) to get the job done. Let’s find out the differences between them.
Dog nail clippers
As the name suggests, these allow you to clip the nails to a safe length. Many of them look like a pair of pliers, but one of the blades will be curved, allowing you to put each nail into the curve before clipping it.
You could also use guillotine clippers if you prefer. These are so called because there is a hole at the end of the clippers, much like the hole of a guillotine. They have handles just as the regular nail clippers do. When you close the handles, the dog’s nail is neatly trimmed.
The plier-style clipper is better for dogs ranging from small to medium. The guillotine-style clipper may not be strong enough to cut through larger, thicker claws, so bear that in mind.
Dog nail grinders
A grinder works by wearing down the dog’s nails to an acceptable level. A small tool – much like a Dremel – is used with a grinding tip on the end. You switch it on and begin grinding down the nails.
This process takes longer than regular clippers, which can get each nail cut in mere seconds. However, if your dog hates the clippers, this may be a better option.
The grinder can be repeatedly used before requiring replacement. However, just as sandpaper will eventually wear away, so will the grinder tip. Keep an eye on it and replace it when necessary to ensure you can still grind away your dog’s claws as efficiently as possible.
A multitude of owners prefer dremel style nail grinders for their ease of use.
Clippers vs grinders: Which is best?
There is no firm answer to this. It can depend on which breed of dog you have. Those with small dogs often prefer clippers, because the nails are much smaller and easier to cut than those of big dogs. Very often you’ll find the clippers just don’t cut it – literally – with the larger breeds.
Your dog’s disposition is another key element to bear in mind. If your dog isn’t keen on having their claws trimmed, they may not hang around for long enough for you to do the job with a grinder.
The longer it takes, the more stressed they (and you) can get. With clippers, the task is over in seconds.
If cost is an issue, dog nail clippers come out on top here as well. Many decent pairs of nail clippers can be purchased for just a few pounds. Of course, it is worth investing in a decent pair, as they will likely be sharper and smoother to use.
Which method is safer for avoiding cutting into the quick?
Of course, regardless of the method you choose, there is always a chance you could cut into the quick. This is painful for the dog and it can bleed as well.
Either method could result in this, so it is wise to be careful whenever trimming your dog’s claws. If you use clippers, take it slow and trim only a small amount each time. It’s better to trim longer claws daily over the space of a few days to get them to the length you desire, rather than clipping off too much and hurting your pooch.
With a grinder, you are far less likely to catch the quick. Since grinding takes longer, you can pause and check your progress before deciding whether to continue. Again, you may feel happier doing a little at a time, especially if your dog gets restless easily.
It’s always easier to clip the nails of a light-furred dog, since they are more likely to be pink and white. Dark claws make it very difficult to see the quick, so take greater care if this is the case.
The choice you make between nail clippers and nail grinders will depend on your dog’s breed, size, and disposition. By weighing up these elements, you can work out which will be the ideal tool to buy to trim your dog’s nails.
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