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Dremeling dog nails is a fantastic alternative to the traditional method of clipping. It is not surprising that many dogs react poorly to nail clipping. Even if you do not cut painfully into the quick, the motion of clipping still pinches the sensitive nerves inside of the nail. Dremeling is a great way to maintain healthy nails and to lessen stress for everyone involved. You don’t have to be a professional to do a good job, but, there are some important steps involved in properly Dremeling nails.
- Speed/RPM: Ideal dog nail grinding happens at between 10,000 – 15,000 RPM (a.ka. it’s speed -the sanding drum’s rotations per minute). Anything RPM lower than 10,000 RPM will be too slow, and anything higher than 15,000 is TOO HOT and will cause too much heat to generate as you Dremel. If you are new to Dremeling, it is ideal to start out at 10,000 RMP. If you have questions about models and RPM, please comment below, I am happy to help!
- Corded, or Cordless? I prefer cordless. Cordless is less tricky for you to maneuver, and much less disruptive to the dog. Just remember to re-charge your cordless Dremel battery about once every 2 weeks.
In my opinion, these are the three to choose from. They are all cordless:
Miles is a dog that absolutely cannot stand having his nails clipped. I cannot emphasize how passionately he used to fear nail clipping! No amount of food or training could convince him to tolerate nail clipping. It was terrible. With training, however, he is completely content to relax while I Dremel his nails. This is because I introduced the tool slowly and carefully, and because I use it properly.
Because you will be using this tool once or twice a week for the rest of your dog’s life, it is critical for both you and your dog that there is no fear or force involved. For many dogs, the whirring sound of the Dremel can be suspicious at first, and understandably so! If you train your dog that the Dremel isn’t a scary thing long before you use it on their nails, there is a much greater chance it will be a tool they won’t mind for life. Please work with a experienced trainer who uses “force-free” methods if you are unsure of how to approach this task — update — see the beginning of this post!!!
You can practice putting your dog in “Dremeling” position for short periods of time while giving them treats before you introduce the Dremel. In combination with Dremel training, your dog will realize that the sound and vibration of the tool, along with this position, are routine, and not at all scary.
For a medium or small dog, I recommend that you place the dog belly up on your lap, or on their side on a comfy dog bed. A large dog can be laid on his or her side on the floor in front of you, ideally on the couch or on a dog bed.
Turn your Dremel on, and set it to to between 10,000 and 15,000 RPM (again, if you are unsure what this means, comment below). Hold up one paw, carefully push any fur away, then select a nail, With your free hand, hold fur away from the nail. While supporting the nail between your fingers, touch the sander against the nail for 1-2 seconds, and then retreat. Never leave the sander touching a single spot on a nail for more than two seconds, and never apply pressure. The goal is to smooth little sections off, while never putting enough friction on the nail to generate any heat. That is why using a Dremel that has variable speeds is very handy for the safety and comfort of the dog, because the slower the speed, the longer it takes to build friction, and the more control you have over ensuring the process never creates any heat, or sands the nail down too fast. As long as you never put pressure, and you gently and briefly smooth the sander along the nail, and never remain in one spot more than a second or two, you will do just fine. The best way to Dremel nails is to focus on one paw at a time, rotating between all of its toes.
Over time you will learn exactly when to stop sanding. A sure indicator of when to stop is when you begin to see a little white dot in the center of the tip of the nail. Also, the tip of the nail will start seeming a bit softer – and less dry and flaky. That is because you are entering the “living” part of the nail. That little white dot is the beginning of the quick. The first time, don’t do too much. You can always try again in a few days. If you don’t see a little white dot, but you get too close to the quick, your dog will lightly flinch. Stop sanding if your dog shows sensitivity, as this is an even clearer indication that the nail is finished.
When you are finished Dremeling all of your dog’s nails (bottom left), the final two steps are:
Over time, not trimming dog nails often enough can lead to all sorts of health problems. Every single part of your dog’s body depends on, and is affected by his feet. Nails that aren’t clipped often enough will to grow longer quicks over time. This means, if your dog goes for periods where his nails are on the medium/longer side, the live part of the nail will also longer, and that is the part that you cannot cut. Not regularly trimming your dog’s nails leads to them being longer, long term.
For most dogs, Dremeling once a week is a good schedule of how often to trim. If you can manage it, I like to Dremel twice a week.
How often you Dremel really depends on how fast your dog’s nails grow, and how often she is running around on rough surfaces, which also can aid in wearing down the nails. For this reason, avoid Dremeling your dog’s nails right before strenuous activity. The soft part of the nail can be a bit delicate for the first few hours after Dremeling.
Additionally, say you’ve just discovered Dremeling, and your dog has a longer quick area than he should. I have found that if you Dremel on a schedule of around every 3-4 days, you can actually get the quick to retreat over time. With this sort of frequent trimming, you will need to be diligent and to trim every 3-4 days on a strict schedule. Once the nails have reached the desired length, you can go back to regular maintenance 1-2x weekly trimming.
One great advantage of Dremeling your dog’s nails is that if you introduce the process slowly and positively, the likelihood that your dog won’t mind it is much greater than the alternative of nail clipping. I know this because my own dog Miles is extremely sensitive, and couldn’t have his nails clipped, and he is now very accepting of having his nails Dremeled (see below video).
If you Dremel using the instructions here, it is great because it is:
When it comes to dog nails, they are comparable to human nails. Right now, you can see the white nail and the meaty pink section beneath it on your fingernail. The nail plate is the white part of the nail, while the pink part is the nail bed. If you’ve ever rushed to trim your nails, you know how painful it is to cut the nail plate too close to the nail bed, which contains sensitive nerve endings. The white section lacks nerve endings, while the fleshy underbelly contains the blood flow that feeds the nails. The same can be said of dogs’ nails. The unnerved part of a dog’s claw is white, while the sensitive area containing blood vessels is termed the quick.
Here’s the grinder that got it all started. Dremel was one of the first firms to develop electric nail grinders, thus displacing clippers. They’ve got more time to work on improving their product and making it the best it can be for dogs and their owners. You can trim your dog’s nails in the garage, the lawn, or the bathtub, thanks to the cordless operation. You may safely and humanely clip your dog’s toenails with a reduced risk if you have enough space to monitor how near you are to the quick. A nail trimmer might damage your dog’s nails even if you use extreme caution. This is particularly true for dogs with thick, strong nails. No pressure is applied to the nail using a nail grinder.
Everyone desires a long-lasting tool. The same is true for a canine nail grinder. It should be made of solid, high-quality materials, such as high-density polyethylene. Keep an eye out for a nail grinder with a diamond bit; these tend to last longer.
When it comes to the dispute over dog nail grinding vs. trimming, the ideal option will rely on your dog’s disposition as well as your grooming experience. If your dog is afraid of loud noises, you may want to avoid using a grinder and instead use clippers. If you decide to use a clipper, do it carefully and only cut a small portion of your nail once a week. When you trim a tiny bit of your nail, the quick begins to retract away from the nail edge, allowing you to clip more the following week. If you trim a significant amount of hair at once, though, you risk cutting into your dog’s skin. Even if you prefer to use a dog nail clipper to cut your puppy’s nails, a grinder can be utilized to smooth off the nail’s edges.
A dog nail grinder will inevitably make a noise, and while some dogs may have little to no reaction to it, others may become alarmed. Choose a grinder with a quiet motor to make the operation less unpleasant for both you and your dog.
What Dremel bit to use on dogs nails?
Can I use a regular Dremel for my dogs nails?
If you go too short, you’ll end up cutting below the quick (tip 2) and hurting your pet. As a general rule, it’s enough to grind away the pointed tip until the nail looks relatively straight.
Is a Dremel better than Clippers for dog nails?