By Josh Weiss-Roessler
Do you spend way more than you can afford to get your dog’s fur professionally groomed? Or worse — let it grow until she looks like a cotton ball? Here is a solution: Give your pup a trim yourself! Grooming your pet is not only cost-effective, but also can help the dog feel more comfortable at home, and around you when grooming. Obviously, this is easier said than done, but learning how to use dog clippers doesn’t require a college degree, and it’s nothing to be afraid of. These tips on how to properly use fur clippers, and nail trimmers, should help make the process easier:
Wash and brush first
Bathing and brushing your dog before you cut helps to get rid of tangles and clumps of hair that can make grooming more difficult — and even painful. Think of it like this; whenever you go get your hair cut, the stylist usually backs your head into that incredibly uncomfortable sink to wash your hair, to get all the tangles out and smooth your hair. Do the same with your dog. Additionally, brushing your dog will get all of the shed hair off of your dog, leaving only good hair to cut.Related: Dog grooming tips
Use the Right Tools
You’ll need a clipper, comb, and slicker brush. A professional groomer has these readily available, but will charge you more than what it cost to buy the tools outright from the store. Save your money! You can purchase clipper blades, combs, and brushes at any pet store; from PetSmart to the small boutique around the corner. When purchasing hair clippers, blades, nail clippers, and slicker brushes, do your research. There are many different kinds of tools out there that often it can get overwhelming when standing in the aisle at a pet store. To eliminate confusion, and buyer hesitation, research either online or talk to a groomer about which types of tools are best suited for your needs. Keep in mind, stainless steel, although a bit pricier, will last longer, not rust, and provide one of the strongest and cleanest cuts out there for your pet's fur.
Cesar's Top Picks for Dog Clippers are Below:
- Wahl Clipper Pet-Pro Grooming Kit
- Ceenwes Cordless Renewable Dog Clippers
- PetTech Professional Dog Grooming Kit
Quieter is better
Depending on your dog, you may already be aware, but loud noises can surprise or even distress them. Test different clippers and get the one that makes the least noise; it will make the experience better for both of you. While grooming, it is important to keep all outside distractions to a minimum; such as keeping others away from your pet, whether they be other people or other animals.
Don’t Pull Hair!
How can you keep from doing this? By keeping your clippers sharp. Grooming dog clippers should be kept sharp at all times because, like cutting your own hair, a sharp scissor can easily slice through hair without causing any tugging or discomfort to your skin. They also should be sharp because for some hard to reach places, like around the head and ears, you may only be able to cut with the top of the clippers
While trimming your pets' fur, don’t push the clipper too fast, it will leave lines. Additionally, when cutting your dogs nails, Clipping too quickly also can cause distress on the dogs' nails, which can cause discomfort, and squirming.
Go in the Right Direction
Clip with the growth of the dog’s hair for a smooth, natural looking coat. Dog hair is unique in the way it grows because it can change directions at specific parts of the body. Because of this, cutting in the right direction can take some time. Make sure you pay attention to the direction the hair is growing to ensure that the cut is smooth, even, and fits with the existing coat.
Work With Your Dog
Hold your dog to avoid sudden movement. Start shaving from the neck to the back leg, and then do the other side. It is recommended by professional groomers to cut in an orderly fashion, as to not miss a part of the dog's coat.
Know Your Dog’s Coat
Before you attempt to start grooming your dog yourself, it’s probably smart to pay one last visit to a professional. Have them walk you through the process and show you the best way to clip the coat of your specific breed. Things to keep in mind are how long the hair is in certain parts of the dog’s body, as not to get too close to the skin, which can cut the dog, and what comb attachments a professional groomer uses on their clients.
Choose the Right Blade
Different blades work better with different kinds of coats, and it will create different effects, so you should ask what’s best. When in doubt, you can always try snap-on guide combs. With long-haired dogs you may have to use multiple blades and comb attachments to get the right kind of cut you are looking for. However, if you have a shorter haired dog, a single blade can do the trick in most cases.
Understand What Your Breed “Should” Look Like
No one’s saying there isn’t room for a bit of creativity, but it’s always best to know how your dog “should” look before breaking out the clippers. You can find this out pretty easily just by going to the breed club website. Bonus: many of them also have grooming tips! Although you may say “Of course I know what my dog looks like!” you may be surprised at how certain breeds are supposed to look after a trimming. For example, if you have a Shih Tzu, or Cocker Spaniel, two dogs that have unique and challenging to cut coats, their finished cut from a professional dog groomer may look different than one from the local pet store. Dog owners should keep in mind what the final outcome is supposed to look like while cutting their dog's hair.
Make Sure the Clippers Don’t Get Too Hot
You can actually burn your dog's skin with hot clippers, so get into the practice of turning them off regularly and touching them to test the temperature. If they do seem too hot, you’ve got some options:
- Spray on clipper coolant or lubricant
- Switch to another clipper (if you have a spare)
- Change out the blades for cooler ones.
- Put the hot blade on something metal — baking sheets absorb the heat surprisingly fast!
If you have a puppy, don’t wait to start grooming. The earlier you can get your dog used to the process, the more likely they are to be better behaved, helping you to avoid mistakes and injuries. Not only will it help prevent mistakes and injuries, but it also will teach you more about how to groom your dog. If you groom your dog from day one, you will get a better understanding of its coat, how it likes to be cut, and what kind of clippers work best.
It should take you from 15 to 20 minutes to trim your dog. Feeling ready? Start clipping!
Does your dog get a haircut every once in a while? Post a photo to show her off.
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