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The Best Method for Trimming Your Dog’s Nails

28 Oct Posted by in D.I.Y, Health & Fitness | 19 comments
The Best Method for Trimming Your Dog’s Nails

Disclaimer: this post is brought to you by Chewy. All opinions are my own, and I only share products I think you and your dog will love.

Raise of paws, who likes having their nails trimmed? Raise of hands, who likes trimming their pet’s nails? Just as I thought, no one.

ammo's guide to trimming dog's nails

It’s a necessary evil though, because having long nails can cause your pet to walk irregularly which can lead to skeletal problems. And we all know that us dachshunds don’t need any more reasons to have back trouble!

Now if your dog has black nails like I do, I’m sure you spend your life in constant fear of cutting them too short and hitting the quick (a soft cuticle rich in blood vessels and nerves that grows in the center of your dog’s nail). If you nick that tiny little quick your dog will scream out in pain, and yes, there may be blood!

ammo's guide to nail trimming for dogs

My mom used to trim my nails at home, but over the years I got progressively worse at having them trimmed – so she started to take me to the vet to have them done every few months. Then a few months ago she decided it was high time I got better at having my nails done, so she set out to condition me to actually enjoy having them done!

The Best Method for Trimming your Dog's Nails

Interestingly, this new nail trimming method was not with the traditional nail clippers, but instead with a dremel!

Over the past 2 months my mom has been working with me to make me more comfortable with the use of the dremel on my nails. While I wouldn’t say I LOVE it, I tolerate it. It saves me from having to make more trips than necessary to the vet or groomer, saves my mom money, and keeps my nails at a healthy length. It’s a win – win!

So since I’m sure you’re all curious just how my mom trained me to be better about having my nails trimmed, here’s how she did it….

How to Trim Your Dog's Nails Safely

The Best Method for Trimming Your Dog’s Nails

Here’s what you’ll need:

This method requires a basic knowledge of clicker training. If you’d like a little introduction you can check out this website or buy an introduction kit to clicker training.*

*contains affiliate links

How to Trim Your Dog's Nails Safely

Starting with the nail file, mom used it EVERY SINGLE DAY for 3 weeks to get me used to having my feet and nails handled. She started by picking up a foot and gently sanding my nails for just a few seconds at a time.

The Best Method for Trimming Your Dog's Nails

Each time I didn’t resist she would use the clicker and then reward me with a small (but yummy treat).

The Best Method for Trimming Your Dog's Nails

After each session, which started out short (maybe 30 seconds tops) she’d give me a big reward. For me that reward has been Natural Balance’s Dental Chews, with Pumpkin & Chicken Meal and Papaya.

How to Trim Your Dog's Nails Safely

The great thing about these chews is that not only do I love the taste, but they’re also helping to clean my teeth while rewarding me for having my nails done at the same time!

Key Benefits of Natural Balance Dental Chews

  • Grain-free formula
  • Unique grooves help reduce plaque & tartar
  • Formulated to support easy chewing & digestion
  • Helps freshen your dog’s breath
  • Antioxidant nutrients to support immune function

You can fetch your pet a bag from our friends at for about $14.

The Best Method for Trimming Your Dog's Nails

After several weeks of practice with the nail file, mom moved onto the dremel. This time she “sanded” my nails without even turning it on. Again, each time I didn’t resist on a nail she would click and reward me. At the end of the session I’d get my jackpot treat, a Natural Balance Dental Chew.

After another week or so it was time to turn on the dremel. Using a low speed to start she’d do just a few of my nails, making sure to reward me quickly for not resisting at all.

The Best Method for Trimming Your Dog's Nails


Now once you start using the dremel with it on it’s important to note that you can’t just quickly sand your dog’s nails down in one sitting to the desired length, even if they are ok with it. The quick inside grows with your dog’s nail. So my mom likes to only work on sanding my nails once a week to allow time for the quick of my nail to shorten after the last trimming. (see diagram above for more details)

Ammo the Dachshund Studio Photos

How short should you keep your pet’s nails? According to the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation they should be short enough that they don’t touch the ground when your dog is standing on a flat surface, but long enough to aid the dog when climbing up a hill or digging.

These Paws were Made for Digging // Ammo the Dachshund

Hear that mom? I need them for digging!

While I still have a ways to go to get mine back to the ideal length, I’m happy to say that after weeks of practice I’m now much more tolerant of having my nails done by dremel. While I very much wish I had gotten a video of the “before”, here’s how good I am at it now…

How is your dog about having their nails trimmed? Have you ever trimmed your pet’s nails with a dremel? Do tell! Ammo the Dachshund // Blog Signature // Celebrity

For more information on avoiding the quick check out this article.

Handy Tip: If your dog is resistant to even having their feet touched start without the nail fail and just reward them for letting you touch their feet without pulling away. Also, using a treat that your dog goes crazy over helps too, the better the treat, the more willing they will be to try.

Disclaimer: This post is meant to be informative, but please keep in mind, what works for me may not work for your own pet. Please consult an expert if you are unsure about how to train your pet. Use caution when using a dremel around your pet, and we are not responsible for any injuries that may occur.

  1. Nicole Vincent10-28-15

    This is how I trim Swizzle’s nails too!

  2. Rebecca Fritz10-28-15

    I use a nail grinder and, while Dante doesn’t love it (as he doesn’t love most things), he doesn’t really resist either. He tolerates my craziness and snacks on little treats as we go.

  3. Amanda Whetsell10-28-15

    Indy has his nails done this way too! It’s so much nicer for both of us. I’ve never done them with traditional clippers. No rough edges of freshly cut nails make cuddling so much easier.

  4. Silly Buddy10-28-15

    Yup, dremel for us too! He still doesn’t like it much but he knows its stinky treat time 🙂

  5. Avechucho Del Socorro Becerra10-28-15

    I got one but hardly last one dog…. 3hrs charging and then another dog….. And I have 3 doxies

  6. Susan Gibson Snodgrass10-28-15

    I use this tool, the very one , on my dogs!

  7. Poodle At Play10-28-15

    Same tool I use on Wesley’s nails! He’s not overly fond of it – I don’t think there are many dogs who are! – but he’s good about it. After each foot he gets rewarded with a bit of cheese, and then jack-potted with it after.

  8. Betsy Davis10-28-15

    Such a terrific video-I will try it, thanks

  9. Dina10-28-15

    Thank you Thank you Thank YOU!

  10. JB10-29-15

    Wow Ammo! I can’t believe how GOOD you are while having your nails done! Please tell your mom thanks for these helpful instructions!

  11. Penny Borden10-30-15

    That’s how I do all three of my weenies little footsies. Soooo much easier than the clippers. And they get their stake salmon treats afterwards.

  12. Nicole Loukanis10-30-15

    Jeremy Bandu we need to stay this for Sampson

  13. Iris Horiuchi10-31-15

    Jendo Hi

  14. Jeanette Harman10-25-16

    I bought a dremel 3 years ago for my 2 dachshunds but have never used it because I am afraid of getting their fur stuck in it. They are long haired dachshunds. The groomers do trim their paws but they need their nails cut in between groomings and by then their fur has grown out. I have trimmed the fur myself but can’t get it short enough to feel comfortable with the dremel.

    • Ammo the Dachshund10-26-16

      Can’t say I have that problem, but as long as the tip of the nail doesn’t have hair around it you should be fine! You really can’t sand them down too far in one session because you would hit the quick.

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