The Best Way to File Dogs' Nails

Dogs need to be groomed on a regular basis. Part of that grooming includes trimming and filing nails to ensure there are no sharp edges or split ends left on the nails. You can take your dog to a dog salon or the veterinarian for a proper nail trimming and filing, but doing it yourself is much more cost-effective. Your dog may squirm and try to get away the first few times you cut and file his nails, but once he is used to it the process will be easier.


All dogs, no matter what breed, need their nails trimmed and filed once every three to four weeks. Health problems may arise if a dog's nails are not properly taken care of. Many times the nails will become ingrown causing pain for your dog. Sometimes the nails can curl under and press into the dog's foot pad, causing discomfort. The dog may not be able to walk correctly if this happens, in turn causing stress on the joints.

A dog who spends a great deal of time outside on rugged terrain may not need his nails trimmed and filed as often; the terrain will naturally wear the nails down.

How To

You can use a standard nail file to buff the nails down, but that may take more time and effort than you really want to put into the procedure. To avoid the nail-cutting process altogether, use a Dremel file--a motorized file that acts like a sander--to grind the nails down. Many groomers use a Dremel file in place of a nail trimmer. This method is quicker and safer.

Introduce the Dremel slowly over a period of days. Let your dog check it out while it is turned off; then turn it on and allow her to investigate. Once she seems to be used to the Dremel itself, try touching one nail for a moment with the Dremel. Praise her when she allows you to do this. Eventually, she will allow you to use the Dremel to grind her nails down. Using a Dremel file to grind the nail tip straight up and down allows you to get more of the nail off close to the quick and avoid accidentally nicking the quick in the process.


Do not apply pressure to the nail with the Dremel; allow the friction of the Dremel to do the job. Do not keep the Dremel on one spot for more than three seconds because the nail will get too hot and your dog will feel a burning sensation.If your dog's nails are very long and jagged, a quick trim and then a follow-up with a Dremel is the safest option. You can then use a Dremel on a regular basis to maintain short nails.