Health and Wellness, Training

Dremel Trimming Naills

December 8, 2014
We’ve been instructed by our breeder how important it is to trim Whiskey’s nails and keep the quick short. She suggested us to trim every week with a Dremel and although it’s been a 2 person task, we can finish it in 10 mins.

Moo watching on while Whiskey gets her nails done

The noise of the Dremel and being constrained is scary for a dog not used to it. The easiest position we’ve found is having her lying on her back on someone’s lap while the other person works around and does the manicure. Press down on the pad so the nails come all the way out and get as close to the quick as you feel comfortable, rounding out any sharp edges. We start with her back paws so the tool isn’t in her face straight off.

take your time and round out edges

Even though we’ve done it since she was a puppy, she doesn’t love it and still struggles and grunts.

Whiskey shows you her paw while her back nails are done
Taking photos while you hold on a struggling puppy getting a pedicure is a challenge

Here are some tips for Dremeling your dog’s nails:

-Whiskey always gets a special treat in the end. I put the treat in my pocket so she can smell it the whole time and she knows it’s coming. You can also give her a smaller treat with each nail, or each paw.

-Get more people if possible to help. I typically hold Whiskey while Thierry works the Dremel.

-Work the back paws first as they are further from their head not as scary as starting near the face.

-Talk to your dog and tell them how wonderful they are in a low voice during the whole time.

-Have some styptic powder on hand in case you trim too deep.

-Make sure you have lots of light!

-Do it often so they get use to it

-Don’t stop the session as soon as they struggle, otherwise they learn if they struggle, they get out. If you need to release your dog, do so after they are calm.

-Trim nails when they are calm, relaxed, after exercise

push on each toe so the nail comes out and trim close to the quick

Here are some tips if you’ve never done it before:

-Get our dog used to being flipped over on their back and held. Give treats and talk in a soothing voice only letting them up when they are calm.

-Turn on the dremel and give treats to get them used to the sound

-Touch and handle each paw until they don’t mind (we clean her paws all the time when we get back from a wet/muddy walk).

-Just trim one paw at a time, and work your way up.

-Keep a bag of treats next to you and give them a treat for each nail when they are calm (reduce treats over time). Be generous with the treats at first.

-If when you release the dog, they don’t run off, and are immediately interested in snacks, you’re doing great!

start young and it’ll be easier!


Be calm yourself. Whiskey is easy to do since she’s still a puppy and we were able to train her. Moo (my cat with attitude) is another story. We need to be in a zen mood to trim Moo’s nails. Make movements, slow and deliberate. If you are scared or anxious, the animals pick up on that. If you are confident and calm, they will be more receptive.

All done! Where’s my snack?

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  • Reply Isabelle Lefroy June 1, 2021 at 6:37 pm

    Hi! What kind of dremel do you use?

    • Reply whiskeygirl June 2, 2021 at 7:46 pm

      We just use a regular dremel branded one. Cordless may be easier to maneuver but in the end we found them the same. The speed get scary when it’s high for the dogs but it’s quicker when it’s higher.

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