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For those of us who are afraid to use the nail clippers on our pets, I've discovered that using a Dremel sanding tool is quick and easy. The noise is minimal and you can sand both sides of the nail before aiming toward the quick. It's also chargeable so there's no cord to get in the way.
My old dog is almost 18 and he doesn't mind this nearly as much as the clippers. I can always sand just a little one week and the next head for more, if I feel brave.
Just be careful to not hold the grinder in one place for too long, the nail gets too hot and is painful for the dog.
I have also used the Dremel tool for sanding my dogs' nails down. I got the idea from my vet years ago on a previous dog. Since I started these two with it as puppies, they both just lay there and let me do my thing. It's so much safer than clippiing. I really wish they'd even quit making and selling dog nail clippers.
Dremel tools can also be found in the Hand Power Tools section at Wal Mart, along with any hardware store. They are not expensive at all and last for years.
My dog is a large breed with very large and tough nails. This was a most unpleasant task until I discovered a Dremel tool! I used the larger grade sanding wheel for my dogs nail size and thickness. For less noise, I used the slowest speed. It was so much faster and not nearly as painful for my pet. I also didn't need to worry about causing bleeding by cutting too close or pinching the nail with the standard clippers for dogs. I also could regulate how much nail to file down at a time - dependent on my pet's patience level and mine at the time!
Great idea! Be careful to not let the nail overheat. My former nail tech used a rotary tool on my acrylic nails (gave them up a year ago) and had, on occasion, burned them. Unlike humans, dogs have feeling in their nails once you get down the nail a bit.
My wife and I just want to thank you all for the wonderful tips and feedback about using a Dremel tool for trimming dogs' nails.
Now that our "babies" are 14 years old and 12 years old, it has become increasingly difficult to trim their nails especially when they are not as active as they used to be. They would not allow us to use nail clippers so we resorted to using a metal nail file. They tolerated this method a little better but still, they would try to resist because it was such a slow process and very uncomfortable for them. As a result, their nails have become thicker and longer and of course, much more difficult to file down.
As soon as I read the tip about using a Dremel tool, I immediately jumped into the car, drove to our hardware store and bought this wonderful tool! In 15 minutes, our oldest dog's nails were beautifully trimmed! He resisted at first but soon relaxed and even nodded off to sleep while I filed his nails down.
We are both overjoyed at seeing the difference this has made for our Ninja and his comfort! As soon as I post this message, we will be filing down Bear's nails too which are not as bad as Ninja's were.
My wife and I thank you all again for posting such an excellent tip! And thank you, Thrifty Tips, for creating such a wonderful site where people can help each other by posting helpful advice and tips.
We highly recommend using the Dremel tool or similar product!
To make trimming my Chihuahua's nails a little more safe, I use a small Dremel tool with a sanding hub. The noise is very low. Just tap the tips. She likes this better than using the nail clippers. I was always afraid of cutting her nails too short.
By Janette from WV
I used to have a golden retriever whose nails were so thick that I couldn't get the clippers around them, so I took him to the vet to get his nails trimmed. The vet told me that she used a Dremel tool to trim all the dogs' nails that came in. I now have 2 dachshunds and that is the only way I have ever done their nails. It is so much easier both for me and especially for them. And as you said, it is also so much safer too.
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This is a tip I got from my vet several years ago. She said to use a Dremel tool to keep my dogs' nails trimmed. It is so much safer, and easier on the dogs and on me. I don't worry so much anymore about cutting the vessel inside their nails, and also their nails come out smooth and not apt to snag and split. And there's no pain for the dogs either.
To get them used to it I started when they were puppies. I did their nails for just a second or two on each nail every day for several weeks, then once a week, and now once or twice a month. This got them used to not only the sound, but also the feel of the vibrations. Now they just lay there and sleep while I do their nails!
By Cricket from Parkton, NC
Congratulations on your success with the Dremel. I use it too, because my dog has black toenails, so any chopping is just a gamble and it makes her cry immediately, she's been quicked too often. I put a coarser band on it and I found it got too hot if it was on there for more than three seconds. So three touches on one toenail then on to the next, and across the set of nails on one paw over and over. She hates it, but stands quietly for the most part. I wouldn't consider any other way. Good for you for helping get the word out. (05/05/2009)
Kimhis, I'm glad to hear you're having such success with your Dremel and your dog. My dogs also have black nails, so I know what you mean. The dog I had when the vet told me about this was a golden retriever whose nails were too big to fit into a clipper, so I took him to her. She brought her Dremel in and showed me how to do it. I couldn't believe how easy it was!
You're right tho, and I had forgotten to mention that it will get hot after a bit. AlthoUGH with mine, I'm able to do both my dogs in one sitting.
Another tip too. I don't know what size dog yours is, but mine are dachshunds so they are small. But to bend over them on the floor just about kills my back, which put me in a bad mood and short tempered, and they aren't comfotrable being put on the table or even worse the counter. So I took a sheet of 2" foam rubber and covered it. Now when it's time to do toenails, I clear off the coffee table and put the foam rubber "mattress" on it. The dogs know what this means. I put one at a time up the while I sit on the floor. It's the perfect comfortable height for my back, which means I'm not in pain and am able to remain in a good mood. And they are comfortable on the mattress and not so high up off the floor. (05/06/2009)
What is a dremel tool? I have a miniature schnauzer who does not like getting his nail clipped. Need help!
Editor's Note: It is a small multipurpose rotary tool, which can be used for wood and metal working and has lots of attachments available. Here is the link to their website.
What a GREAT way to save money with using something that you already have around the house! Love IT! (05/06/2009)
By Sharon Neth
It is cheaper and much better to get an electric nail sander that is used for manicuring nails. At least it is intended for nails. If you have a dremel fine but if you don't, then buy a nail sander. It seems to me it is always better to use things for their intended purpose. (05/24/2010)
Ann Parker, If my veterinarian hadn't suggested using the Dremel tool, I'd have never considered it. But since she did, and I tried it, I've been extremely happy with it. So have my dogs.
I have looked at the ones specifically made for pets and have yet to find one that isn't designed for large pets. Even the ones for cats (which you would probably discourage too for use on dogs) is too big for small dogs, much less cats.
Plus the Dremel is much less expensive and very much more versatile to be used on projects all around the home.
As for the tool getting hot, I've found that if it has a good charge on it, and I don't take a long time doing the job, it doesn't get more than a little bit warm. Since I have 2 dogs, I do one dog at a time, then wait about 30-60 minutes before doing the other one with no problem then.
As I said originally and in this response, the Dremel is veterinary tested and approved for use on pets nails. (05/24/2010)
I, too, use a Dremel for grinding Maggie's nails. She is, as near as the vets can tell, 17, which puts her in her 80s with me! I am not able to give her much exercise, so she has some long, curved nails that look like they belong on a grizzly bear! I use my small cordless Dremel with a round abrasive piece that fits over a circular piece. Works great, and I would never go back to using the guillotine-type of clipper. Model Dremel I use is no. 750, probably no longer made, but sure they have something like it. It's small, rechargeable, so no cord or batteries. Just looked up the abrasive end, and it's evidently no. 407 accessory and there are 3 different abrasive bands that can go on it. (05/24/2010)
I am getting ready to share with my son and daughter-in-law for use on their basset. Wonderful idea! They won't let me give you more than one thumbs up, but in my heart you'll have dozens! (05/24/2010)
By Marty Dick
My avian vet also uses a dremel for my bird's beak and claws. Works very well. (I take care of the smaller birds trimming, but leave the big birds for the vet to handle; birds hold a grudge for a LONG time, LOL!) (05/24/2010)
It sounds like a good way to go as long as people know the right attachment to use, otherwise could be very cruel. How do you know the proper attachment to use, there are so many? (05/26/2010)