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Dee_petlover February 12th, 2004 09:16 AM

Using a dremel on dogs nails
I was just reading on a website about using a dremel on a dogs nails (kind of like sanding them down). I have never seen this before. Anyone out there tried this before? any opinions? Here is a link to the page:


kasher+tazz February 12th, 2004 09:29 AM

I dont think i would have the confidence to do this to my dogs nails!! My dogs have a long walk to the park on pavement anyway so i dont usually have a problem with their nails, is there a problem with the length?

Dee_petlover February 12th, 2004 09:38 AM

One of my dog is difficult to handle when cutting her nails. We have been working on this but I was really just exploring and came across the web page. Just curious really.

mona_b February 12th, 2004 09:39 AM

I have seen that done.

It was a pet show on t.v...It was being done on a Great Dane.

Apperently the nails where so very strong that the clippers wouldn't work.

But I have to say,the owner didn't have them down that far as the dobie on that link.

thedoog February 12th, 2004 09:54 AM

I'm guessing that it could work well...but NOT for the average person.

The average person with the average dog would not take the time to properly relax the dog. Nor are they likely to want to learn how to relax their dog.

IMO this technique would only work well with a very relaxed dog, otherwise the noise of the dremel would freak the dog out. Also a fair amount of manual dexterity would be needed for this technique. I know too many clumsy people.



Spoiled February 12th, 2004 11:05 AM

My dog didn't like his nails cut either until I started giving him a treat after every nail. Now he doesn't even fuss!:D Wouldn't a dremel be a bit too expensive to? I personaly like to use human toe nail clippers. They work just fine!:)

cmt489 February 12th, 2004 11:13 AM

I recently picked up a dremel and will be working at desensitizing Oliver to it. I got it at a pet store here in Vancouver. It is specifically made by Dremel for dog nails and is battery operated. Including attachments and extra "bits" - ie small rounds of sandpaper - it was around $50.00 plus tax.

I will keep you updated on my successes with it (if any;) )


Luba February 12th, 2004 11:32 AM

I'd say no, too dangerous if the dog or you should slip that could do some heavy duty skin damage.

I wouldn't wanna promote it!

Dee_petlover February 12th, 2004 11:36 AM

Michelle I would really be interested in hearing how that works out.

I was thinking with proper training I could get my dog to relax. 80 pounds and hates getting nails cut! When you can get the nail you might get the opportunity to give a treat. Working against what has already been conditioned to be aversive for her is difficult. And she eventually needs them cut so even trying so hard to condition her to like it is hard because setbacks are huge!

I thought that introducing a different method might work because it has no negative experiences attached to it.

cmt489 February 12th, 2004 11:45 AM


To address your concerns, I actually tried it on myself first to make sure there would be no damage. I am content that a "slip" will not cause damage since it does not grind unless you are applying downward pressure while it is grinding. Also, the tool uses a sandpaper like disc which is not sharp, more like a rotating disposable nail file.

The tool is not disimilar to the one used if you are having artificial nails done (and I do know that when I have had artificial nails my nail tech did slip on occassion and I didn't have any skin damage - more of a shock than anything!:D )

Dee, you have now guilted me to continue my conditioning instead of side stepping the issue. Oliver is not too bad about his nails (and he is only 16.5 pounds right now so I can still just hold him in my lap to do them) but he is a Shiba, which is a breed that is famous for hating to have their nails done by conventional methods. All of the Shiba groups that I belong to are huge advocates of the Dremel and have nothing but praises for it. Supposedly dogs that scream when you get within 20 feet of them with nail clippers (did I mention that Shibas have huge temper tantrums at times??) will relax and allow their owners to do their nails with the Dremel ;)

I'll let you know - but I must warn that I am going away this week so the conditioning will have to wait...... Lucky Oliver!


Luba February 12th, 2004 12:36 PM

I have the tool myself cmt but I think I'll keep it for woodworking one of ;) it's intended use!

The head of the rotary bit still spins whether or not you apply pressure so it still can injure. A good example is slipping while on a piece of wood it causes indentation or burn marks.

Can I ask why you want to use this tool and not a regular clipper and file? They work just as well if you have the correct type. The only reason clippers wouldnt' work is if you got the wrong type for your dogs nails. Some work better with smaller / larger breeds.

I would also worry about the vibration the RPM's would cause on the nail bed, weakening it. Not to mention the undo stress it would cause the dog.

I dont get my nails done professionally because those tools do wear out the natural thickness of your nail by buffing them so thin they break. The only thing is they put so much polish and filler on that it seems like your own nails are hard but they aren't.

Dee_petlover February 12th, 2004 12:55 PM

dremel ?

just always open to new ideas! I have no immediate plans to buy one, but on reading the page in the link I originally posted it looked like an interesting idea. The guy wasn't a vet or anything, but made some points in favour of using it. one being that if used properly there is less chance of cutting the quick and at the same time getting a shorter cut. I just wondered if there was anyone out there with more info. It kind of makes me nervous too, so I would definitely want to do more research.

cmt489 February 12th, 2004 01:08 PM


I agree with you 100% - proper clippers and a file do a fabulous job on dogs nails. The only problem is that some dogs absolutely will not tolerate the pressure of the cutting tool on their nails. No conditioning can change it. Shibas are a breed that tend to be particularly senstive to this type of pressure (which is why all of the people in the Shiba groups and many breeders all huge advocates of the dremel). LOL

Many groomers routinely use them. I have also heard of vets recommending them.

Using the dremel (as it is to be used for shortening pet nails) is essentially like filing the nails down from the end. You are simply using the tool to do it for a longer time. The same success could also be achieved by using a file alone, however, I don't know about you, but I do know that my arm strength and patience is not enough to endure manually filing all of my dogs nails to get them to their proper length:D The idea is not to file the surface down like a manicure (I was just using the example for the potential of the tool to cause injury) but rather, to "file" the ends, therefore, I don't see the risk of weakening the nails.

I know that the tool keeps spinning even when pressure is not being applied but, without the pressure, my experience is that the dremel simply "bounces" off the surface to which it is applied. No cuts or skin injury (this is not to say that anyone using any tool should not be careful when using it!)

You mention you have a woodworking dremel. This dremel may have faster speeds and thus the potential to do more harm than those made for pet care. The dremel I have is specifically made and marketed for pet care.

In any event, if you don't agree with any of my information or thinking, I won't take any offence! Differences in opinion are what make life interesting! :)


ps I am glad to hear that Sadie is doing better!

Luba February 12th, 2004 02:39 PM

Agree to disagree then :D

Sadie just came in from the yard where she explored around a bit and she's doing much much better thank u so much :D

cmt489 February 12th, 2004 02:55 PM

Yay for Sadie!!!!!!!:D :D :D :D :D :D

Spoiled February 12th, 2004 03:10 PM

While the dremel could do damage, think of what a clipper could do. Dremels file, while clippers cut.;)

Luba February 12th, 2004 05:02 PM

Stop provoking me LOL to say more

I'm just going to leave it at 'I wouldn't use it'
but ....thats my personal choice.

I am careful cutting nails. AND if I can't see the wick then I let the vet/groomer do it or I trim only a little.

It's like comparing a paper cut to a rug burn and deciding which would hurt more....??

1john44 February 13th, 2004 10:28 AM

I guess it would just depend on which end you used. I love my dremmel, and I know that I have cut through a nail (the metal kind) with ease, but with a different tip on it, I was able to buff the metal candle sticks to a shine. So as with anything I am sure you just have to be careful. My dogs walk enough that i have never had to cut their nails, so I wouldn't be a good one to advise however!

Spoiled February 13th, 2004 01:58 PM

Clipping nails can get to be quite a job! I still need to clip my dog's nails, even after lots of walking on pavement. I'm glad we're all careful when clipping them!:)

1john44 February 13th, 2004 02:01 PM

I know my dad had to clip his dogs nails when I was a kid, and I remember that there is a vein in them that you have to watch out for, and clip the back gradually, but other then that I know very little about it. That is why I am glad to this point, I haven't had to worry about it. I know when we adopted Rascal he needed his clipped, but the shelter had that done while he was at the vets getting fixed, and now that he isn't stuck on a chain tied to a tree all day he doens't need them clipped anymore!

Dee_petlover February 13th, 2004 02:24 PM

Thanks to everyone who gave their opinions on this method of grooming. It sure has given me some food for thought from different people that obviously care about their dogs. I think my overall opinion now is that for those people who have developed skill in it and have trained their dogs to a level that they will lie their and let their owners do it, (like the dog on the link I posted) it is actually a good method. For those who don't get that level of obedience in grooming it could be hazardous.

For those of you who don't need to worry about this, lucky for you!

Just want to add another point : A dog that is well exercised and taken care of often still needs their nails trimmed! Doesn't mean they aren't loved and taken care of.

1john44 February 13th, 2004 02:31 PM

I agree. My dad's dog just had nails that grew fast. Just like humans, some grow quick some don't. I have been lucky in the fact that my dogs don't appear to grow to fast. The only time we notice a problem is winter, when they don't get outdoors as much. But living in Missouri we don't go to long like that, so I have been blessed!

brendakells February 15th, 2004 08:44 PM

I have two dobes an 8 yr old black bitch, Ch. Liberator's Pearl Jam and her 6 yr old red brother Ch Liberator's Zanzibar. I only use the Dremel to do nails. Usually every 2 weeks and they normally fall asleep. It doesn't take long to get the hang of it, but be sure to keep some Quick Stop on hand for your first accident.

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