Dog Nail Trimming With A Grinder Or Nail Scissors

People cringe at the thought of trimming their Sheltie’s nails. But it is really something that needs to be done regularly. You’d be surprised how quickly a Sheltie’s nail can grow. 

While clippers put you in the position of not knowing until it’s too late if you cut the quick, the nail grinder can be applied to the nail little by little until you get to a point where you are close to the quick without actually hurting your dog.

If the Sheltie yanks its paw away while you are trimming with the nail grinder, there is no major cutting error as there might be with a clipper.

The negatives for using a grinder for dog nail trimming are the noise and vibration which can freak some pups out. There is also the possibility of catching long hairs and ripping them out… OUCH!

However, there are some very smart grinders that have a plastic guard to prevent catching hair and I have used them with great success. Also, grinders specifically for dog nails generally have less torque (or whatever it’s called) so it will slow down and stop if it catches any hair around the tip. If you get your run-of-the-mill dremel tool, it won’t do that.

The only reason I don’t have one now is because I decided a corded nail grinderworks for me better with all the dogs I have to do. I HATE running out of juice just as I’m getting started. (The dogs, however, cheer in unison).

That being said, a variable speed dremel tool outlasts the pet grinders, so pick your poison.

And Here Is How Dog Nail Trimming Works

Here's a video I found on Youtube that demonstrates trimming nails.

Depending on the Sheltie's personality, when doing a session of dog nail trimming, I will either hold him in my lap or lying on the table in front of me. I want to be able to easily see the bottom of the nail as I do any dog nail trimming to make sure I don't go too far.

Or if you prefer, stop by here for your Sheltie's grooming needs. Dog nail trimming is part of the package deal.

One nifty little trick that I stole from another breeder is to use a small piece of thick plastic and cut a small hole in the center. Then push the nail through the hole (it should stretch to accommodate the size nail). The plastic will keep the hair out of the way so it makes the dog nail trimming process lots easier.

But please stop when the Shelties's nose is sniffing around the grinder head!

Grinders should be placed against the nail only for about 5 seconds at one time as it can heat the nail up considerably and that heat can be felt by the pup. Just go from one nail to another and then back again. 

You don't need to apply a lot of pressure but enough to keep the nail from jumping or bouncing off the sandpaper.

When you start the sound is of dry nails being ground down. After a few passes, it sounds a bit quieter / less "dry" and I know I'm getting close to the quick. 

I use the sandpaper drum which works quickly. 

How Often Do Nails Need To Be Trimmed?

Every 2 weeks I check the nails. There's usually a little something that can be trimmed back. If you constantly wait too long the quick (the blood vessel in the nail) begins to extend further and further. This makes it difficult to keep the nail short.

Besides, the more you do it, the calmer the Sheltie gets.

Or, There is Clipping Dog Nails

Does Clipping Dog Nails Make You Cringe? I get it, I do. But bear with me here. Learn to clip nails for the health of your dog. If a grinder isn't your cup of tea, give clipping nails a try.

It may as well be major surgery for some. Most dogs start off hating to have their feet touched or manipulated and owners hate to take the risk of hurting their pups. 

Puppies bounce around and fling head and feet in every direction, making it all even tougher by giving you a moving target to deal with. You would think they had twelve legs and two heads at times.

Screaming and screeching at the slightest confinement is not uncommon in the beginning.

Most of it is smoke and mirrors (or “Sarah Bernhardt” as my parents called any over-the-top melodrama)

Is This Little Act Familiar?

I don’t know about other dogs, but at some point, mine accept grooming as part of life. They don't find it as much fun as rolling in deer poop, but life is full of little disappointments.

As with most things, it’s a matter of getting them used to an activity by frequently exposing them to it. That and lots of treats!

You can use a nail clipper but it puts you in an “all or nothing” position. You clip or you miss, no in between.

The good thing is they are quiet and quick. I find the scissors type nail clippers easier to position the nail compared to the guillotine variety.

Accidently clipping the quick requires you have some sort of anti-clotting substance on hand, just in case you snip the quick and the nail begins to bleed. I’ve tried the styptic gel but prefer styptic powder as it is less messy.00

If you don’t have a clotting powder it will be difficult to stop the bleeding dog nails. No they won’t bleed to death but it takes pressure on the tip of the nail and time to clot the end of the nail.

One of my puppy owners (Thank you Lauri and Stan) told me that taking the nail and scraping it over bar soap clogs the bleeding ASAP. Great, inexpensive trick, but soap is harder to scrape off with a dog nail than you think. Nevertheless, if you are in a bind...

When trimming really long nails, I start with clipping and then switch to grinding to get it as short as possible.

Why Trim Nails Short?

Long nails hurt. Imagine gluing corks to the bottom of each of your toes so that your toes were elevated. Then try to walk. Get it? Eventually they get so long they twist sideways taking the toes right along with them.

The longer you wait to clip, the longer the quick also grows. But you can get the quick to recede by trimming frequently.

White nails are obviously easier to trim than black because you can see the pink quick inside. However, even with black ones, if you clip off a little you will notice that the end of the nail is all white and dry looking. As you clip further down you will see a black center emerging. That is when you stop.

Or, as always, your pup is more than welcome to get groomed here at Yankee.

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