The Best Dremel Bit for Dog Nails

The importance of proper dog nail care cannot be understated for the health and happiness of your four-legged friend. Domestic dogs do not have the same methods of grinding their nails down that wild dogs enjoy, which is why it is important for dog owners to learn the proper way to trim their dogs’ nails. This short guide will help you choose the best Dremel bit for dog nails for the safer grinding method of dog nail grooming.

Why do I need to grind/cut my dog’s nails?

Dog nail care goes beyond any cosmetic concerns. Long, unkempt nails can seriously affect the way a dog is able to move around. Keeping their nails at a reasonable length is for their health and comfort more than any other reason.

In the wild, dogs have a wide-open environment that allows for a natural form of nail “trimming” to occur. Running, climbing, digging—all of the normal activities that wild dogs are active in work on wearing down their nails and preventing them from getting too long. Domestic dogs do not have these natural advantages, and that is why it is so crucial for you to take proper care of your dog’s nails.

Dog with long nails

Can you use a regular Dremel on dog nails?

Yes, a regular Dremel will work to grind down a dog’s nails just as effectively as a pet Dremel. A regular Dremel is often used in carpentry or craftwork to produce finely ground engravings and other such work. This tool is adept at grinding, sanding, or shaping a variety of materials, including wood, ceramics, and metal.

A pet Dremel is essentially the same type of tool, but instead of having wider applications, it is meant only for use on a dog’s nails. Numerous companies produce pet-specific Dremels that tend to run smaller than a regular Dremel. For example, while a standard pet Dremel has a standard dimension around 3.1”x1.7”x1”, a regular Dremel is usually larger, both in the handle and the actual grinding element, to allow for its ability to perform different tasks.

Thus, while the pet Dremel is easier to use thanks to its smaller overall shape, a regular, larger Dremel works just as well for grinding down dog nails. When choosing which style to go with, consider your specific needs in order to make the best choice.

What sort of attachment is best?

The best Dremel bit for dog nails is one that can carefully but effectively grind down a dog’s nails. Since you are working with a living creature and not a pile of wood, it is important to ensure that the bit you use is soft enough not to injure, but hard enough that it will get the job done.

To this end, any attachment that you use should be made of sandpaper, not stone. Stone grinders tend to heat quickly and are too solid to do the careful work that dog nail trimming requires. Sandpaper is soft yet tough enough to grind through the layers of keratin in your dog’s nails. Middle grit sandpaper works best on average for most dog nails, as it is just large enough to grind without causing damage.

Fine grit sandpaper will take you a much longer time to get the job done, and there are few dogs that will be able to sit still that long. Coarse grit sandpaper can be too rough and can cause breaks in the nail if used incorrectly. The size of your dog will also help determine which attachment is best. For example, with smaller dogs, you may find it necessary to resort to a fine grit if their nails are particularly fragile.

The best dremel bit for dog nails

Dremel 407 ½” Drum Sander

This Dremel attachment can be used to smooth wood and fiberglass as well as general pet nail trimming. The bit itself is 4 inches long with a fine grit, making it a softer sanding material. When the sanding band on the bit begins to wear down, the replacement process is quick and easy. This is a basic attachment that lacks any special flair or gadgetry. However, that does not lessen its worth, as it has the power and ability to get the job done. Its ability to work on materials other than dog nails is also a mark in the Dremel 407’s favor.

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Pros: The Dremel 407 is a good size for dog nail trimming and soft enough to prevent damage.

Cons: Since it is a fine grit sandpaper, it will not be as effective on larger or tougher dog nails.

Sellers on Amazon offer this Dremel attachment starting at about $6.

5 Pack Dremel 407 ½” Sanding Drum 1/8” Shank

This aluminum oxide abrasive Dremel is set on a sturdy base that is perfect for rough-shaping and rust removal. It is a coarse grit sanding material that can be useful for particularly tough dog nails or for larger dogs. As a bonus, this particular product comes with five Dremels at a highly affordable price.

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Pros: Solid craftsmanship at a fair price. The aluminum oxide abrasive is longer-lasting than other sanding materials and provides a clean finish.

Cons: Not ideal for smaller, more fragile dog nails. Some consumers have remarked that during grinding, the smell can be strong and unpleasant.

Amazon offers this Dremel pack for under $20.

Dremel 120-Grit Sanding Bands, 438 1/4-Inch, 6-Pack

These fine grit bands are perfect for the shaping or finishing of dogs’ nails. They are also useful with materials and jobs that require a fine edge, such as wood and fiberglass. The sanding band is made from sturdy aluminum oxide and comes in a pack of 6 bands. This particular Dremel band is also fine enough to be used on human skin (for grinding calluses, etc.), is relatively quiet, and is cheaper than most other fine grit sanding bands on the market.

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Pros: Excellent quality at a highly affordable price. Able to grind smaller dogs nails or smooth larger nails.

Cons: Does not come with the mandrel attachment that is required to set it to a Dremel. This six pack includes only the sanding bands. Not a good fit for larger dogs.

Amazon offers this Sanding Band pack for $4.

Dremel 432 ½ Inch 120 Grit Sanding Bands, 6 Pack

Another fine grit sanding band pack, the Dremel 432 is perfect for jobs that require a gentler touch. This sanding band can be fit to attachments that require detailed grinding, such as along curves or in hard-to-reach areas. These sanding bands are highly durable and can fit a wider variety of Dremels than similar products. Available at a low price, these bands will last a long time while working to effectively trim your dog’s nails.

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Pros: Durable and long-lasting at a low price. Ideal for smaller nails or finishing touches on larger nails.

Cons: Does not contain the mandrel attachment. Due to the fine grain, it can take much longer to effectively trim dog nails. Not a good fit for larger dogs.

Sellers on Amazon offer these Sanding Bands starting at around $5.

Dremel 445 ½” 240 Grit Sanding Band, 6 Pack

These highly adaptable sanding bands can fit any Dremel rotary tool and are ideal for super-fine grinding work. The Dremel 445 is capable of smoothing wood, fiberglass, rubber, and dog nails. The bands are made of aluminum oxide and are long-lasting. Each band is easy to replace on a mandrel fitting when needed. These sanding bands are smaller than the average bands, but still pack a punch when it comes to getting the job done. The fine grain and high quality of these bands make them capable of safe use on human skin, as well.

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Pros: Incredibly long-lasting, which means high quality. Relatively softer on nails, thanks to the very fine grit.

Cons: Does not contain the mandrel attachment. The super-fine grit and the smaller size may make these bands less effective for grinding down larger nails.

Amazon offers these Sanding Bands at the $4 mark.

Other useful attachments

When it comes to dog nail trimming, it can be difficult to maneuver a Dremel to effectively get at your dog’s nails (especially if they are struggling). The Dremel 225-01 Flex Shaft Attachment can be a useful addition to your dog’s grooming routine by giving and increased degree of distance and flexibility to work with.

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Pros: Comfort grip with fingertip controls allows for maximum functionality.

Cons: Can be messier than the standard Dremel method.

Amazon offers this Flex Attachment for approximately $25.

How to grind your dog’s nails with a Dremel

Before you begin grinding your dog’s nails, it is important that you always check with you vet to make sure that this is a good nail grooming choice for your dog. Once you have the go-ahead, follow these steps:

  • Find a comfortable place to sit your dog down.
  • Have a supply of treats close by for positive reinforcement.
  • Turn the Dremel on and carefully take your dog’s paw.
  • Slowly grind the nail at a slight angle, being careful not to get too close to the quick (a bundle of sensitive nerves in the nail). You only need to grind down to where the nail is starting to curve.
  • Offer a treat, then repeat.


A regular Dremel is the safe and effective choice for dog nail grooming. Plus, with the assortment of attachments available for the Dremel, it can continue to work for you beyond your dog’s nails, making it a highly useful and variable tool. Take the time to learn about your options so that you can ensure you are giving your dog the best care available.

One thought on “The Best Dremel Bit for Dog Nails

  • May 8, 2020 at 8:15 pm

    I have a black Labrador with all black nails. How do I tell where the quick is?


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