What is the Difference Between Trimming and Grinding a Dog’s Nails? | PetFirst
Pet Care & Health

What is the Difference Between Trimming and Grinding a Dog’s Nails?

by PetFirst Pet Insurance
5 months ago

Let’s be honest, nobody likes trimming their dog’s nails.  It’s most likely that your pup doesn’t like it much either.  However, nail trimming is an essential part of caring for your dog’s health and hygiene and should be maintained frequently. 

Preparing Your Pup

Regardless of the method of nail trimming you choose, it will involve handling your dog’s paws. Therefore, it is ideal if you familiarize your pooch with having his paws touched at a young age.

That’s not to say an older dog can’t learn new tricks!  If your dog is older and is not used to having his feet handled, you can certainly get him comfortable with this process.  It takes patience, but you can desensitize a dog to having his nails clipped.  

However, if your dog displays signs of intense fear, distress, or aggression, you should stop and consult a certified dog behavior specialist.  It is better to be safe and talk with a professional who can help modify this behavior.

Why is nail maintenance necessary?

Your pup’s nails should be trimmed frequently enough to keep the nails short at all times.

If your dog’s nails are left unmaintained, it can damage your dog’s legs, causing him pain when he walks.  If the nails are long enough to repeatedly touch the ground, they force pressure back into the nail bed and on to the toe joint. Over time, this can realign the joints of the dog’s foreleg, causing your canine companion to be more susceptible to injuries.

A dog’s nails also help provide traction when your canine companion is running or on an incline.  If the nails become too long, your dog’s natural sense of balance can be offset.

If allowed to get too long, your dog’s nails are more prone to tearing or cracking, both of which can be painful, and in some cases, lead to infection.

What is nail trimming?

There are two main ways to maintain a dog’s nails.  One is to use a tool known as a trimmer or clipper. The other is to use a motorized tool called a grinder.

There are a couple of different types of nail trimmers:

  • Guillotine style clippers work by placing the dog’s nail through a hole and squeezing the handle. A single blade slices down across the hole and cuts off the excess nail. This style tends to work with small to medium dogs. However, it may not be strong enough to cut large, thick nails.
  • Scissor clippers work similarly to scissors. The blades have small indentations to make it easier to position the dog’s nail for clipping. This style clipper allows for more force and is better for dogs with larger nails.

What is nail grinding?

Grinding is another way of maintaining a dog’s nails. Instead of using clippers, this requires an electrical rotary tool that shortens the dog’s nails with a spinning section of material similar to sandpaper.

These tools are also referred to as dremels, and they wear down the nails by using friction.

Should I clip or grind my dog’s nails?

Whether you opt for clipping or grinding depends on your dog’s personality.  Some dogs do better with clippers, while others do better with grinders.  If you are trying to decide which might be best for your furry friend, consider the following:

Nail Clipping:

  • It is quiet and less likely to scare a dog than the buzz of the grinder.
  • It is faster, so the process is quick. This may work best if you have a dog that doesn’t sit still for long.
  • Clipping does not require any electrical cords or batteries.
  • It is easier to cut the quick of the dog’s nail, causing bleeding.
  • Blades must be replaced regularly to keep them sharp.

Nail Grinding:

  • It is useful for large and thick nails that are hard to clip.
  • It creates smooth and rounded nails.
  • It is excellent for sharp-edged nails.
  • It is an excellent option for pets that suffer from clipper anxiety.
  • It is loud and can be scary for a dog who is afraid of noises.
  • It causes an odor and dust, so you should have a mouth mask and eye protection.

Trimming your dog’s nails should be a simple procedure when performed correctly.  If you have not trimmed your dog’s nails, ask your vet or vet tech to give you a lesson on the correct way to complete the nail trimming.

At PetFirst, we know accidents and illnesses happen to all pets, even those whose owners maintain their health and grooming.  That’s why PetFirst is here for every canine and cat to help cover unexpected vet visits. 

Pet insurance provides peace of mind that if your pet gets sick or injured, you don’t have to worry about the financial aspect of your pet’s care. Make sure your pet is covered with PetFirst Pet InsuranceWe have Dog Insurance Policies and Routine Care Coverage to fit every budget.

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