Trimming Pet Nails Made Quick, Safe, and Easy

Jul 15, 2012
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Quick, safe nail trimming; easy to operate; versatile tool around the house; cordless; lightweight; compact.

Cons:Battery loses charge if left unused for three weeks but is quickly charged.

The Bottom Line:

Dremel makes trimming nails easy and safe and it doubles as a tool for other household projects.  Its quality and design will withstand the test of time; a great buy!

If you are looking for an easy and successful way of trimming your animal’s nails, the Dremel rotary tool cannot be beaten. Other pet-specific nail trimmers are available, but none I have seen and tried in pets stores matches the quality and universality of the Dremel. My basset hound has large, hard, and mostly black nails, so trimming with traditional dog nail clippers is difficult without cutting to the quick or leaving the newly cut edges sharp. The Dremel handles all of these problems.

Included in Kit:
(1) Dremel rotary tool
(1) Rechargeable battery pack
(1) Two-prong, 120 volt battery charger
(1) 1/8” Collet
(1) 1/2” diameter sanding drum attachment
(5) Coarse 60 grit sand-paper drums
(1) Chuck key and screwdriver combination tool
(1) Pamphlet of general Dremel tool instructions
(1) Pamphlet of nail trimming instructions

General Description:
The Dremel with the battery attached measures 6.5” (165 mm) from base of battery to end of chuck x 2” (51mm) diameter at the battery and tapering to 1” (25mm) at the housing opening before the chuck. It weighs approximately 8 oz. The housing is made of a high-impact plastic compound that looks sturdy for those unexpected drops or just for resting the tool on the ground. The Dremel uses a two-speed 4.8 volt electric motor (6,500 rpm low and 13,000 rpm high) with a rechargeable battery pack. There is a plastic push-button for the chuck lock (used when changing attachments) and a plastic switch for the off, high, and low speed positions. Both the button and switch are easily operated using one hand. The battery is held in place by two plastic push-tabs that are easily compressed with little force, and the battery slides out from the end of the tool. The bottom of the battery is flat, so the tool can be securely rested upright. Although advertised as a “pet grooming kit,” this Dremel is in fact the same model (7300) used for small projects, and its chuck will accept other collets ranging from size 1/32” to 1/8” that allow you to not only trim your pet’s nails but use sanding, grinding, polishing, engraving, cutting, and cleaning attachments for projects around the house. The battery charger is made of plastic and holds the battery pack in place by way of the same type of push-tabs as the housing. The charger has two prongs requiring a common 120 volt outlet.

Changing Sand Paper:
The grooming kit comes with a 1/2" diameter sanding drum attachment (1/8” shank) that accepts tube-type sand paper drums. To change these paper drums, you simply lock the chuck with by compressing the button and use the supplied screwdriver tool to loosen the machine screw at the end of the attachment, which in turn takes pressure off of the rubber drum that the sand paper slides over. After slipping off the old paper and fitting a new on, you simply tighten the machine screw, which in turn compresses and expands the rubber drum that then secures the paper. To change attachments, you loosen the chuck by compressing the lock button and turning the chuck nut with the included wrench counterclockwise. After the attachment and chuck nut are removed, you can change collets for different sized attachments.

The housing is well balanced to where most of the weight lies at the base near the battery. This places the weight in the lower palm and wrist to where the operator has good delicate use of his/her fingers for trimming. The housing has finger grips cast into it and tapers to where the operator can hold the tool like a writing pen or paintbrush for delicate trimming. The tool is also compact enough to move around the animal’s paws and legs without obstructing one’s view or constantly bumping into the floor or the animal.

Trimming Nails:
I love how easy the Dremel makes trimming my dog’s nails. I can slowly sand away the tip of his black nails until I start to see the pink of his quick down in his tissue whereupon I stop. No more guessing the depth of the quick with black nails and hoping the cut does not go too far. After the tip of the nail has been trimmed to length, I easily chamfer the edges to make them smooth and rounded. I can trim one paw with nice smooth edges in a matter of minutes whereas clippers leave edges sharp. The other benefit is that one could clean up the nails once the nails begin to grow out so that no lengthy trimmings are required, but one would have trouble doing this with conventional clippers because they often need more material to grip or they have a tendency to slip off the end while cutting. While abrasive, the sanding drum does not harm the dog’s paws if one accidentally makes contact, so while it is a precise tool, it also allows for safe flexibility. If you find that your animal’s nails are soft and that the included 60-grit sand-paper drums are too coarse, Dremel sells other finer grits that might be better suited for softer nails.  While sanding the nails, the tool does create nail dust.  I trim my dog's nails on his bed and then shake out his bed when I am finished.  However, if one has issues with the dust, the trimming should be performed outside.  If one's respiratory system is easily irritated, he/she should wear a dust mask, although I do not wish to make it sound like the dust creates a cloud and get all over your furniture; it is not that much dust, and it is heavy enough to usually just fall to the ground.

Sand Paper Durability:
I have owned the Dremel for 1.5 years now, and my dog’s nails need trimming about once every three weeks. I am still using the first sand-paper drum and have four more in reserve, so they last a long time with the soft nail tissue.

Motor Speeds:
I find that the high speed takes off a lot of material in a short amount of time, so I have become comfortable enough to use this speed. However, the higher speed creates more heat on the nail, so one must be vigilant to not cause the animal pain from staying too long on one nail. When starting out, I found that the low speed allows better control if the operator is unsure of his/her technique, and it also does not create as much heat from friction. Both speeds do a great job and allow for personal preference in trimming speeds.

Motor Sounds:
The motor makes a humming noise when idling and a little louder when sanding on nails, but it is not loud by comparison to other electric motors. The closest thing I can think of for comparison is that it sounds like a pair of small hair clippers used for trimming during a haircut. My dog does not like vacuum cleaners, and he shies away from them. I have never had an issue with him not allowing me to trim his nails with the Dremel, so the sound does not bother him while louder humming does. I slowly introduced him to the noise for days before I ever used the Dremel on him by letting it run near him and giving him treats and attention. Now when he sees the Dremel in my hand, his tail starts wagging, he runs to his bed, and flops over onto his back to where his paws are accessible. I never got that kind of a happy reaction with clippers.

Things Left to be Desired:
The only issue I see with the Dremel is that the battery charge leaks down when not in use. Because I only trim my dog’s nails every three weeks, I many times turn on the Dremel to get only a couple minutes of use before the battery dies. The battery quickly charges in approximately three hours, so I solve this issue by making sure to charge the battery the morning I intend to trim nails. Once charged, I have never had an issue with the Dremel running out of power during a trimming session or within the week of that session. I have never run the motor constantly until it dies to see how many minutes it will run before losing charge. If you trim nails once every three weeks or so, just be sure to charge the battery beforehand; if you intend to use the Dremel in a more professional capacity where you will be trimming multiple dogs every day or week, you will be recharging the battery more often anyways.  Other than this issue directly affecting the tool kit, I wish the Dremel came in a plastic storage case like its larger models.  I cannot seem to find any storage cases in Dremel's catalogue for this model either, so I just use the cardboard box it came in and keep my eye out for a universal storage case at hardware stores.

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