It’s important to keep your pet’s nails to a reasonable length, which typically requires trimming every four to six weeks. Or you can get your dog or cat used to getting their nails cut by trimming a single nail nightly.
Pet nail grinders work differently than nail trimmers, by filing down nails rather than cutting them. A great pet nail grinder operates quietly, with minimal vibrations—both factors that can determine whether or not your pet will get scared by the device. If you’re new to nail grinders, it’s also worth looking for a device that has lower settings that allow both you and your animal get used to it.
“Professional nail grinders have high speeds that might cause injury to animals if used by inexperienced groomers.” Dannie Stewart, of Kelly’s Pet Boutique in East Lansing, Michigan, told The Spruce Pets. “For use at home, I recommend a grinder that has a low speed setting and low vibration so as to avoid the breaking off of nails/claws or otherwise causing injury.”
Our favorite pet nail grinder is the Dremel 7350-PET 4V Pet Nail Grinder, which operates quietly, doesn’t vibrate much, and has a built-in rechargeable battery. But there are other nail grinders we also love that may work even better for your cat or dog.
Here are the best pet nail grinders.
Dremel 7350-PET 4V Pet & Dog Nail Grinder
7% quieter than the previous Dremel iteration
Fully charges in 2 hours and 45 minutes
Battery runs 30% longer than the last version
Gently touching grinder to pet’s nails works; no need for pressure
Dense instruction manual can be daunting for first-timers
Easy-to-use, safe, and rechargeable, the Dremel 7350 nail grinder and professional grooming kit has everything you need to make your pet’s next nail trimming a breeze. Being both low vibration and low noise, it helps your pet stay calm throughout the nail trimming session. Plus, since it’s appropriate for dogs of every size and age, as well as cats, you need only purchase one kit for all the fur babies in your household.
Its ergonomic, cordless, and lightweight design allows for optimal maneuverability, portability, and the flexibility to work on your pet’s nails wherever they’re most comfortable. Its single speed keeps the trimming steady, and it’s also compatible with many other Dremel products. In addition, the nail grinder’s LED indicator conveniently turns off to let you know when it's fully charged.
Components of the kit include replacement sanding bands and a lithium battery with micro-USB charging. There are also two helpful instruction manuals in the package; one describing Dremel tool use in general, and one that tells how to trim your pet’s nails. Best of all, lots of users find that this tool works well for them, even when fearful pets had trouble with professional groomers and veterinarians trimming their nails.
Price at time of publish: $30
Wahl Classic Dog Nail Smoother
Comes with a 1-year limited warranty
Kit includes 2 large sanding drums and 5 sanding bands
Requires two ‘C’ batteries, not included
Not ideal for larger breeds and thicker nails
Our favorite pick for a budget-friendly nail grinder, the Wahl Classic also has features that make it ideal for smaller critters. For small dogs (like Yorkies and Shih Tzus), cats, and other small animals (i.e. rabbits, birds, guinea pigs), the Wahl Classic Nail Grinder is ideal. First, it allows them to stay where they’re most comfortable—at home, of course—and skip the stress-inducing car ride back and forth to the vet or groomer. It’s battery-operated as well, so there’s no cord to deal with while you’re trying to work on their nails.
Additionally, it comes with a handy safety cap and stop feature to prevent painful over-trimming of the pet’s nails. It’s also very quiet when in use, helping to keep your pet calm. What’s more? At only nine ounces, it’s impressively lightweight and easy to maneuver. Best of all, it’s inexpensive, making it accessible to those on a budget.
Price at time of publish: $11
Casfuy Dog Nail Grinder
Recommended by veterinarians and groomers
Fully charges in less than 3 hours
Comes with a lifetime warranty
Less effective with large breeds and thick nails
Needs to be fully charged to operate reliably
The Casfuy Nail Grinder fills our top customizable spot, bringing with it a bevy of features that make it well worth the mention. First, it offers the user several choices, including two speeds and three ports, which allow it to be tailored to an individual pet’s needs. The first port is specifically designed for small pets, the second one is for medium-sized ones, and the unprotected nail grinder works best with larger dogs’ nails.
It’s also quiet with a low vibration, simple to use, and rechargeable via its USB cord and built-in battery. It's gentle enough for even the most skittish of pets, while still being tough enough to tackle thicker nails. Plus, its cordless, lightweight, and ergonomic design make it easy to maneuver while grooming.
Price at time of publish: $23
Best for Dark Nails
GHG Dog Nail Grinder
Has a 10 hour battery life once fully charged
Good pick for puppies and cats
Includes both a trimmer and grinder
Not as useful for thick nails and large breeds
It can be a challenge to see where the quick is when grooming your pet’s dark nails, increasing your chances of over-trimming—which can mean a painful experience for your pet. The GHG Dog Nail Grinder has a built-in LED light that illuminates your pet’s nail, helping you find the quick and avoid hurting them.
The GHG Dog Nail Grinder has three speed settings, three grinding ports, and a rechargeable battery. These adjustable features make this grinder suitable for most dog sizes and breeds. Plus, its motor is nice and quiet, with low vibration, so it’s also a good pick for pets that aren’t used to getting their nails trimmed.
Price at time of publish: $20
Best Low Noise
Casifor Dog Nail Grinder
Advanced diamond bit grinder precisely trims and smooths nail surface
Under 40 decibels during operation
Lower power grinder takes a little longer to achieve a complete trim
Suitable for small, medium, or large dogs, as well as cats or other pets, the CASIFOR Pet Nail Grinder offers a lot of high quality bang for the buck. For starters, once fully charged, it provides ten hours of nail grinding, so you can take plenty of breaks and, if necessary, work on more than one pet in a grooming session. It also has a stepless speed regulation switch, and lets you choose any speed setting that works for your pet. A very quiet nail grinder, the CASIFOR controls noise to a mere 40 decibels, and its vibration is similarly low, allowing your pet optimal comfort while being groomed.
Its 2 LED lights illuminate the pet’s quick inside the nail while working, lowering the risk of cutting them too short. Also, its USB conveniently connects to an AC adapter, laptop, or other power source whenever it’s time to recharge.
Price at time of publish: $22
Andis Cordless Dog & Cat Nail Grinder
Made in America
Its 6 speeds range from 7,000-18,000 RPM
Some reported theirs would not hold a charge sufficiently to groom their pet’s nails
While several of our top choices for nail grinders are cordless, the Andis Cordless Nail Grinder has an impressive list of features that make it stand out. Perfect for any size and breed of dog or cat, it allows folks with nervous critters to groom them comfortably at home. An 11-piece set, it comes as a kit with all the necessary components for optimal nail grooming.
Offering six grinding speeds, it’s ideal for fine-tuning each grooming session to suit the needs of the individual pet. Also, a long-lasting lithium-ion battery is included, providing three hours of working time once fully charged. Plus, the grinder weighs only two pounds and has an ergonomic design to boot, making it easy to grasp and maneuver while grooming. Finally, helpful safety features mean the grinder stops if hair gets caught while it’s working.
Price at time of publish: $53
Best for Dogs
Stopwoofer Dog Nail Grinder
Great for animals that until now have been afraid of nail trimming
Easy to use
Suitable for all sizes and breeds of dogs
Not very powerful, which can make nails take a little longer
With two choices of speed, four ports, and two protective sleeves, the STOPWOOFER Dog Nail Grinder is the optimal tool for trimming the nails of dogs of any size, weight, age, and breed. Its two LED lights give clarity to the grooming session, allowing the groomer to easily see where the dog’s quick is and avoid cutting into it. It's also noise-free, helping dogs that get nervous around loud sounds to stay calm.
The grinder’s low vibration is another feature dogs of all sizes will enjoy, preventing discomfort from too much movement while trimming their nails. It is also handily rechargeable, with a convenient built-in battery that lasts up to eight hours once fully charged. Lightweight with an ergonomic design as well, this grinder ticks all the boxes for a great dog nail grinder.
Price at time of publish: $20
Best for Cats
CatSizor Cat Nail Grinder Trimmer
Surprisingly quiet, generating between 30-50 decibels
Offers precise, painless cat claw trimming
Grinding head wears down relatively quickly, necessitating replacement
Anyone who shares a household with a cat knows that trimming their claws is a bit of a challenge. Yet declawing is an unnecessarily painful procedure that can cause lifelong problems for cats. So what’s a cat lover to do, if they want to keep their furniture intact along with their kitty? The CatSizor Cat Nail Grinder from Lucky Tail is a solution that both cats and their humans can get used to, making nail trimming surprisingly simple.
Painless and quiet, this nail grinder is virtually vibration free, meaning your cat will not feel much as you groom their claws. It also has two speeds, allowing users to choose which one works best for their cat. Plus, it’s rechargeable with a built-in battery that holds a charge for up to three hours once charged.
Price at time of publish: $20
Our pick for best overall nail grinder is the Dremel 7350-PET 4V Pet Nail Grinder, which is low noise, low vibration, and comes with a great rechargeable battery. While it’s only available at Petco, we also like the budget-priced Wahl Classic Nail Grinder which is lightweight, battery-operated, and safe, though its low power makes it most appropriate for small breed dogs and cats.
What to Look for in Nail Grinders
Nail grinders for pets will either have a cord to plug in or be battery-operated. There are advantages and disadvantages to each type. For example, cordless nail grinders are easier to maneuver, but you must remember to charge them sufficiently prior to use. Corded nail grinders can be used anytime with no need for charging, but you’ll be tethered to an electrical outlet while you work on the animal. To offset this problem, it helps to seek out an extra long cord on your nail grinder.
Pay careful attention to how pets respond to the buzzing of a nail grinder. While most don’t mind a gentle vibration and quiet whirring noise while it’s in use, they may become nervous around especially loud sounds. If you can obtain a nail grinder that’s advertised to run quietly with minimal vibration, or one with adjustable speed options, you’ll increase the likelihood of your working successfully with various pet temperaments. If your pet has trouble adjusting to the nail grinder, consult your veterinarian. There are ways to work your dog’s favorite treat into the nail grinding session to help them relax, for example.
If using a nail grinder is new to you, be sure to take the time necessary to master its safe operation before starting on pets. Also, look for nail grinders specifically made for pets, not an all-purpose type. Carefully read the packaging to see if there are any built-in safety features (such as safety caps or stop features), written instructions, sanding bands, and/or discs. Look everything over, read all instructions, and familiarize with the grinder’s components before you start grinding any nails.
How do you grind dog nails?
Dannie Stewart, owner of Kelly's Pet Boutique in East Lansing, Michigan says his team usually (but not always) trims animals’ nails with regular nail trimmers before getting started with the nail grinders. He explains that this is because the groomer would be grinding for a really long time using just the grinder by itself, and this could make the animal's nail hot, causing them great discomfort.
Keep in mind there’s a significant learning curve to using a nail grinder, and animals must become accustomed to the vibration and sound. On this note, Stewart adds that he likes to move the nail grinder around on the nail's surface gently and evenly as he works, so that there isn't a lengthy vibration on any one spot, which could be uncomfortable or even painful to the animal. He aims for the nails to have an overall rounded surface, grinding off any sharp edges as he works.
Are all nail grinders better than clippers?
Stewart feels that grinders are better overall than clippers because you can shorten the nail more easily without the worry of injuring the animal. This is helpful especially for people who are new to trimming nails, as novice trimmers often cut nails too short, causing pain and even bleeding. This is far less likely to occur when using a grinder.
Do nail grinders hurt dogs?
Grinders can hurt animals if not used carefully, as mentioned above. It's important to move the grinder evenly over the surface of the nail, not allowing it to remain on any one section for too long. It's also important to pay attention to whether the grinder is getting too hot or causing too much vibration in any one section as you work.
Why Trust the Spruce Pets?
This guide was created by KJ Callihan, a writer for The Spruce since 2021. You may have also seen her work in CNET, AAA Northeast magazine, Oh My Veggies, and more. She enjoys doing the research necessary to ensure her guides highlight the very best products for readers. To get an understanding of the best ways to trim pets’ nails, she spoke with Dannie Stewart, owner of Kelly’s Pet Boutique in East Lansing, Michigan. Stewart has been a Pet Stylist and groomer since 1997.