Are dog nail clippers or grinders better?

Are dog nail clippers or grinders better? Vet cutting Whippet dogs nails with clippers
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Trimming your dog’s claws is never going to be an enjoyable task, but are dog nail clippers or grinders better at getting the job done? 

Keeping your pooch’s claws neat and trimmed is vital for their overall health, especially for those who lead a relatively sedentary life or spend a lot of time indoors. Having nails that are too long for them can cause pain and distress and need to be carefully and regularly managed. 

You can employ a professional dog groomer to trim your dog’s claws, but if you invest in one of the best dog nail clippers or grinders you can save yourself a tonne of cash and do it yourself. Plus, if you have a nervous dog, having their trusted human do it instead of being carted off to a stranger can help keep them calm. 

The two main ways you can keep a dog’s nails trim are by using nail clippers or if you want a little more power, one of the best nail grinders for pets. There are pros and cons to using either, which we’ll discover. 

Should I use dog nail clippers?

Using dog nail clippers is by far the most common method for trimming your dog’s claws. They’re easy-to-use, cheap, and convenient, and they’re a great way of ensuring that your pooch lives unburdened by unruly claws.

As well as being easy to pick up at the pet store or even supermarket, dog nail clippers offer a number of other advantages. Nervous dogs who might be frightened by loud nail grinders will often fare better with the silence of a nail clipper, while the process is usually over pretty quickly.

However, there are also plenty of disadvantages to think about too. With nail clippers, you’ll be left with rough edges to the nail, which can be scratchy on surfaces and your skin. If your dog has thick or black nails, it can also be harder to avoid cutting the quick of the nail, which can cause bleeding when using simple clippers. The pressure and force needed to cut thick nails can also cause some discomfort to your dog, too.

Should I use a dog nail grinder?

If you’re looking for an alternative to nail clippers, choosing the best dog nail grinder is an excellent choice. Although generally more expensive than nail clippers, they offer several advantages which may make it worth the extra outlay. 

You’ll be rewarded with much smoother nails after using a grinder, which can be kinder on surfaces and skin. It’s also much easier to be precise or control the grinder when trimming thick and black nails - you’ll have a much better idea of when you’re about to hit the nail’s quick (and therefore stop grinding) when using this tool. 

Using nail grinders is a much slower process than with nail clippers, so you’ll need to set plenty of time aside. You’ll also want to make sure any fur around the paws is trimmed back to ensure it doesn’t get trapped in the grinder and cause pain for your dog. To avoid running out of power in the middle of the session, make sure the grinder’s battery is fully charged before you get to work.

Nervous dogs might find the noise and vibration caused by a nail grinder to be intimidating, so it’s worth starting your dog off gently if you’re unsure. Introduce the nail grinder to the dog for a few days before you actually start using it to get them used to the sound and vibrations, and then start with just one nail at a time, with plenty of the best dog treats getting dolled out in between.

Which is cheaper - dog nail clippers or dog grinders?

There’s no doubting that dog nail clippers are much cheaper than dog nail grinders. However, you shouldn’t necessarily confuse cheapness with good value.

If your dog prefers nail grinders, and they do a better job, then the extra spend will be worth it in the long run. If you’re unsure about which to start with, then it would make sense to start with the cheaper option and try that first.

Which is best - nail clippers or nail grinders?

Ultimately there’s no right or wrong answer to whether dog nail clippers or dog nail grinders are best.

Each dog is different and there are pros and cons to using each. Nail clippers are arguably the more convenient, and they are certainly the cheapest. Nail grinders have their own advantages too, though - especially for dogs with thick or black claws.

Whichever you choose to use, allowing your dog to get used to the process slowly will lead to a much calmer experience and keep them happy, healthy, and padding around for many years.

Amy Davies

Amy Davies is a freelance writer and photographer with over 15 years experience. She has a degree in journalism from Cardiff University and has written about a huge variety of topics over the years. These days she mostly specialises in technology and pets, writing across a number of different titles including TechRadar, Stuff, Expert Reviews, T3, Digital Camera World, and of course PetsRadar. She lives in Cardiff with her dog, Lola, a rescue miniature dachshund.