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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:
The 5 Best Dremel Bits For Dog Nails
Note: If you click some of the links in this article we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Best Replacement Bits by Dremel Best Sanding Bits by Dremel as a Budget Option Best Dremel Drum Sander for Dog Nails Best Long Lasting Diamond Bits (not by Dremel) Best For Budget Dremel SD60-PGK EZ Lock Pet Nail Grooming Sanding Discs Dremel 432 1/2-Inch 120 Grit Sanding Bands, 6 Pack, 1/2″ sanding bands , Purple Dremel 407 1/2″ Drum Sander Groomers Best Friend Diamond Rotary Nail Grinder Bit – Painless Nail Trimmer Bits Wont Pull Hair or Get Hot – Bit Size Large Andis Nail Grinder Replacement Accessory Pack, Multi, 5.75 x 0.50 x 4.00 inches (65920)
How do I grind my dog’s nails?
When grinding a dog’s nails, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions, such as using only the lowest power setting on the Dremel PawControl 7760-PGK. Start by finding a quiet place to grind your dog’s nails when your pet is calm. Then gently press on each nail and grind it for a few seconds at a time as you take frequent breaks and praise your dog throughout the process. Giving treats never hurts, either.
What Dremel bit to use on dogs nails?
Is a Dremel better than Clippers for dog nails?
How often should I Dremel my dog’s nails?