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How To Dremel Black Dog Nails

How To Dremel Black Dog Nails

Trimming a dog’s nails is no easy task. Most doggies don’t enjoy having tools burrow into their sweet little toes much.

Even if you’ve trained your pet to tolerate the exercise, you always worry about hurting her in the process.

See, dogs have a tiny pink-colored organ right in the middle of their nails. This is the living part of the nail and comprises blood vessels and nerve endings that supply nutrients to it and connect it to the central nervous system respectively.

The quick is sensitive and shouldn’t be touched during trimming. Failure to do so will cause blood flow and pain to your doggie.

White-nailed dogs have visible quick, meaning trimming their nails is much easier. You can tell when you are approaching the quick and stop accordingly.

On the other hand, if your furbaby has black nails, you have problems.

No matter how good your eyesight is, you cannot tell the point at which the quick starts and where it ends.

Related Post: 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Dog Nail Anatomy

Enter The Dremel

Most dog owners use nail clippers both for accessibility and simplicity reasons.

Also, clippers have no sounds and sensations, making them less complex to use. Plus, they are the most affordable option in the market.

Unfortunately, the traditional clipper comes with its cons. Perhaps the biggest one is the fact that it doesn’t offer much control during trimming.

It has low accuracy and can cause heavy bleeding if you cut through the quick.

Clippers also need a lot of strength to trim the nail, especially for giant breeds and those with thick nails.

Thankfully, a dremel fills the loopholes left by standard dog nail clippers. It is essentially a high-speed rotary cutting tool with sandpaper bands of differently-sized grits.

Its precision and accuracy are unmatched by any tool used to trim dog nails.

With it, you can sand up near the quick without cutting through it.

A dremel also offers the flexibility of level of grit and speed, making it efficient for all uses.

 Since you don’t use any strength to trim nails, it is pretty easy to use.

 The only problem is that it is expensive. Some dogs are also scared of its sound and vibration at first but they often get used to it in no time.

Related Post: 10 Best Dog Nail Clippers with Light

How To Use A Dremel On Black Dog Nails

The trick of trimming black dog nails is going slowly.

Start by holding the paw firmly and then positioning the dremel in a way that allows you to sand the nail from the top as opposed to from the side.

You should then start by filing a very small length of the nail and then observing it head-on to see if it appears whitish.

If it does, it means you still have some room. Keep doing this until the center of the nail is black or pink.

It is always a good idea to have styptic powder handy. Even if you are very good at clipping dog nails, accidents can still happen and the powder will help you stop the bleeding. 

You can give your furbaby some treats after which you can proceed with the other nails.

But if he appears too nervous to continue, let him be and resume the exercise after a day or two.

Choosing A Good Dremel

Choosing the right dremel will make your work so much easier. Consider the following before you buy a dremel.

  • Speed: This is the rotational speed of the sanding drum in RPM. Ideal nail trimming speeds range from 10,000 – 15,000 RPM. If you go lower than 10,000, grinding will be awfully slow. Likewise, anything higher than 15,000 generates too much heat. Beginners can start with 10,000 RPM and go up later. This works for all kinds of nails.
  • Cord Options: Here, there are both corded and cordless options. Cordless is easier to navigate and less obtrusive to your pet.
  • Additional Supplies: Dremels come with a whole lot of supplies including sanding bands, dremel mandrels (connecting bit for the sanding bands), and more

What You Need

  • Sanding bands
  • Dust mask if you have an allergy to dust or a respirator if you have respiratory problems such as asthma.
  • Safety glasses to protect your eyes
  • Focused headlamp for nervous dog owners


  • Put on your safety equipment.
  • Get your dog used to the sound of the dremel. As said before, most canines cannot stand it. Put the device on near her and observe her reaction. If she stays calm, proceed to step 2. If she makes a run for it, you may need to train further to be comfortable around the tool.
  • Position her right. If you have a small dog, place her on your lap, belly up. A large dog is best placed on her side in front of you – either on a dog bed or the couch.
  • Turn the device on and make sure the speed setting is right. As mentioned, anywhere between 10,000 and 15,000 RPM is great.
  • Now hold one of her paws and clear any fur away from the area. You don’t want dog hair getting caught in the machine. Pick one nail, get the fur out of the way and hold it between your fingers. Touch the grinder against it for about 2 seconds and then remove it. Be sure to leave it on for not more than 2 minutes. If you do, the nail could get too hot and hurt the dog. The idea is to file and smooth small sections at a time without generating any heat.
  • As you trim up the nail, you will see a tiny white dot at the center of the nail tip. This part also becomes softer and tender. You are now entering the quick meaning you need to stop sanding.
  • Repeat the same process for the rest of the nails.

Trimming black dog nails is daunting – especially if you have never done it before.

Besides the fact that the dremel is scary to most dogs, the constant worry of cutting through the quick is ever-present.

However, if you follow the guide above, you will do the job to perfection every time.

If you are unsure of your ability to trim your dog’s nails using a dremel, enlist the help of a professional dog groomer.

 Image sources: 1, 2, 3

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