How to Cut Dog Nails Without Clippers

Dogs need their nails trimmed regularly, just like humans. If you’re like me, you hate clipping your dog’s nails. It’s a lot of work, and it often results in bloodshed. But there is another way! In this post, I will share how to cut your dog’s nails without clippers.

How To Cut Dog Nails Without Clippers
How To Cut Dog Nails Without Clippers

Today I’ll show you how to trim your dog’s nails without clippers. My dog is a bit nervous around loud noises, so I had to find a way to trim her nails without making too much noise.

Now, some people might tell you that you can use a regular pair of scissors to trim your dog’s nails. And while that will work in a pinch, it’s not the safest way to do it. You’re more likely to cut your dog’s nails too short and cause them pain if you use scissors.

So what do you use instead?

The problems with nail clippers

Nail clippers are not everyone’s preferred tool for clipping nails. Those who are confident with them can achieve a quick, clean finish in no time. Others lack that confidence and may put the dog at risk as a result. Those that clip too far can damage the nails quickly, which can cause pain and bleeding. There is also a chance that some clippers will cause the nail to crack and split. This can all lead to an unpleasant process for all concerned. The good news is that there are alternatives.

How to cut dog’s nails without clippers?

There are two options here that you can try to avoid using nail clippers.

# A nail file

# A nail grinder

The pros and cons of the nail file

A manual nail file is a much better alternative to a nail clipper because it gives you more control. It’s up to you how far to go, and you can do it slowly and steadily. Filing dog nails gives you more control and makes it less likely you’ll damage their quicks.

As well as getting a smooth finish, you can also shape and lengthen the nail file to your liking. There are, of course, some downsides to this option. It can be a long and slow process, so it’s not ideal when you need a quick fix. With the nail clipper, it’s just a matter of clipping each nail, and the dog can go about its business. This way, you are asking for a lot of patience from your pet. Dogs who are already nervous about the process might have a problem with this.

The pros and cons of the nail grinder.

Nail grinders remove these issues of time and patience. These tools are much faster acting and can sand away the nail to the required length in a fraction of the time. Think of it just like a high-powered nail file. This means a smooth result and easy process without asking the dog to sit still for long periods. There is still that element of control too, with few concerns about hitting the quick. Users are advised to trim the hair around the paw before proceeding. This will reduce the risk of it tangling up in the mechanisms.

The problem with this option is that it isn’t a manual approach. This is a powered tool – either with a battery or a power cord to create those quick rotations. This means that the process comes with some noise and vibration. Some dogs will struggle with this, especially those who are sensitive to noises already. It is possible to train dogs to get used to the device, just as you train them to get used to being handled for nail clipping. Get them used to the noise before going near their nails with the tool. From there, show them the vibration and make sure they are comfortable with it. Once the dog is happy, you can start grinding the nails.

Finding the best nail grinder

It is crucial to trim your pet’s nails every four to six weeks to keep them at a reasonable length.

Nail grinders work differently than nail trimmers because they file nails instead of cutting them. Two factors determine whether or not your pet will be scared by a pet nail grinder: how quietly it operates and how slight vibration it produces.

If you’re new to nail grinders, search for one with lower settings so that both you and your animal can get used to it.

Usually, professional groomers use grinders with high speeds that could harm animals if used by inexperienced groomers. I recommend a grinder with a low-speed setting and low vibration for home use so nails/claws don’t break off or get hurt.

We love the Dremel 7350-PET 4V Pet Nail Grinder because it’s quiet, doesn’t vibrate much, and has a built-in rechargeable battery. However, there are some other nail grinders we also love that might be better for your pet.

Dog nail grinders have their pros and cons, but there is a much more effective and time-efficient solution to the nail file. Few dog owners and their dogs have the time for that. You still need to make sure that you have a model that meets your needs. This means comparing possible options for their speed settings, weight, recommended breed size, and whether they are corded or cordless. The Pet God has an updated list of the best dog nail grinders for 2018.


The final choice on how to cut dog’s nails without clippers is up to you. Our recommendation is the nail grinder because of the speed, precision, finish, and low risk. Those that are uncomfortable with this powerful tool can turn to the nail file as an alternative.

Richard Hayes

Hey there! Meet Richard Hayes, the big boss and marketing guru behind Pet Dog Planet. He's been a total doggo fanatic since forever and loves all kinds of pups, from tiny teacup Chihuahuas to big, burly Bulldogs. His absolute favorite pastime? Snuggling with adorable puppies—he can't get enough of those cute little faces! Plus, he's totally into iced coffee, chilling in hammocks, and, of course, more puppy cuddling!

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