Top Methods on How to Cut Dog Nails Without Clippers

how to cut dog's nails without clippers

Dog nails can be clipped without using clippers because there are other methods to cut dogs nails. How to cut dog nails without clippers is a question that many dog owners have regarding the issue.

There are some methods to follow that allow you to cut your dog’s nails without nail clippers.

Problems with nail clippers

Usually, cutting your dog’s nails with nail clippers is suitable for those who have the confidence to cut the dog nails.

Those who are confident may cut the nails without harming the quick and causing it bleeding and hurt. While those who aren’t may end up hurting their dogs and causing damage to the quick.

There is also the risk of cracking and splintering the dog’s nails from the nail clippers’ pressure.

However, there are alternatives to this process.

How to cut dog nails without clippers

Dog nails grinder

A dog nails grinder doesn’t have a cord and operates on battery. Each grinder has a cylinder body with a grinding head on the end that is used to shorten the nails.

Advantages of grinder

  • A grinder removes issues related to patience and time. All grinders are fast and take a short time to shorten dog’s nails.
  • It also makes the dog sit for a shorter period of time in the session making them less likely to struggle.
  • Removes the chance of having the quick cut.
  • It is not a priority to have a good aim.
  • Nails do not crack as with clipping.

Disadvantages of grinder

  • It is a powered tool that is either powered with a battery or a power cord which makes it require regular charging and batteries.
  • The process of using a grinder comes with vibrations and sounds that your dog may find irritable and fearful.
  • Grinding can make the nails hot so you have to not hold the grinder at the nail for long periods of time ; hold it at the nail for a second or 3 seconds only.

Tips for using a nail grinder

  • Start cutting your dog’s nails while they are young because they will get more used to it and will tolerate the process. It will become a habit that your dog understands and knows what is happening.
  • Make a habit of gently touching your dog’s paws as this will let them get used to you touching their paws and they will be less likely to become scared when you do so.
  • Introduce your dog to the grinder. Do not cut in this stage rather start the grinder and let your dog hear its sound.
  • Do not rush the process as you need to make your dog feel comfortable.
  • Learn the anatomy of the nail and how to cut it effectively so you understand your dog when they react. You will also understand the amount of clipping that is required.

How to use a dog’s nail grinder

Step one: Get your dog used to the sound of the grinder

Buy a grinder from a pet supply store or a vet. Then run the tool next to your dog so they get used to the sound it makes. Give your dog treats while making them listen to the sound so they find a positive association for the experience.

Step two: Trim hair on the toes and paws

It can be dangerous using a grinder so the first step to do is to trim the hair surrounding the toes and paws.

This is done to create a better access and to not let the grinder get caught in your dog’s hair.

Step 3: Hold your dog’s paws

How to Cut Dog Nails Without Clippers

Let one hand hold your dog’s paw extended while the other holds the grinder. If your dog is struggling, then stop and then reposition them again.

Step 4: Apply the nail grinder

Always work with one nail at a time. Hold the grinder and apply it to the bottom of the nail tip and then bring it slowly around and to the top of the nail tip. When you reached the top of the nail tip, go back again to the starting point.

Step 5: Repeat the process

Repeat using the grinder on the same nail until it has reached the desired length but make sure to not cut the quick.

Step 6: Polish the nail

When you reached the specific length, use the grinder in a circular motion around the tip to make it smooth.

Repeat then all the above steps for each nail.

Dog nail file

A dog nail file can trim dog nails but in another procedures. It is a piece of metal nail file that is used for smoothing and shaping the dog nails.

Advantages of dog nail file

  • It is an alternative on how to cut dog nails without clippers by using the file which gives greater control on the nails.
  • Less risk of hitting and injuring the quick.
  • Smoothes the nails into the shape that is needed.

Disadvantages of dog nail file

  • It is time consuming and requires a lot of patience.
  • Your dog may get uncomfortable if they are nervous about the process.

Tips for using a nail file

  • Get your dog used to nail files and their sensation by calming them down, handling their paws, and lay the file beside them so they can sniff it and get introduced to it.
  • Restrain your dog effectively through getting one arm over their shoulder and another over their neck.
  • Be careful when filing the dog’s nails as you have to not cut or harm the quick.

How to use a dog’s nail file

Step one: Get a nail file

You can get a nail file from veterinary or pet supply stores. Manually filling the nails takes a lot of time.

Step two: Trim hair between toes and paws

You got to trim the hair between your dog’s toes and paws so the nail file doesn’t get stuck between the hair.

Step three: Touch your dog’s paws

Have access to your dog’s paws by touching them and holding them so the nails can appear. You can bring in someone to help you when you want to restrain your dog.

Gently separate your dog’s toes so you can access the nails.

Step four: File the nails

Manually file the nails but watch out to not let your dog’s nails become overheated from the friction. It takes more time but is an alternative if your dog doesn’t like clippers or grinding tools.


In conclusion, how to cut dog nails without clippers relies on your dog’s ability and comfort level toward the clippers. If they are not comfortable with the nail clippers, they can use these tools as an alternative.

For more information regarding the usage of dog nail clipper, check How to Use Dog Nail Clippers: The Best Methods.


Welcome to my bio everyone, my name is Nada. Ever since I was little, I have loved animals because they are so loving and kind. All they need is you attention, love, and care but I didn't understand them very well because I didn't get the chance to raise them. Well, That changed when my family and I got our first dog Rocky, a German Shepherd. Rocky was fun and loving with funny quirks. Being loyal and protective of us, he made me see the nature of a German Shepherd. Now, we have another German Shepherd named Mia. She is a wonderful dog and a rescue who just needed a second chance in life. Mia has long grown from being a terrified dog to the brave and caring German Shepherd that she is today. P.S: Here is a picture of our beautiful German Shepherd, Mia.

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