Home > Dog Safety > Safe DIY Dog Clipping at Home

Safe DIY Dog Clipping at Home

By: Hsin-Yi Cohen BSc, MA, MSt - Updated: 20 May 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Safe Diy Dog Clipping At Home

If you own a breed of dog with a coat that grows continually – such as a Poodle or a Schnauzer – and needs to be clipped to maintain its shape, then regular monthly trips to the dog groomer’s may make a big dent in your wallet. For this reason, many people decide to learn to clip their own dogs at home. As well as saving money, the activity can become a way for you to strengthen bonds with your dog.

Clipping your dog’s coat yourself may not be as hard as you think – however it is vital to follow certain precautions to make sure that the experience is a safe and pleasant one for both you and your dog.

Clipping Tools

Having the right tools for the job goes a long way towards ensuring success so don’t be stingy about investing in some good clipping tools. Certain breeds may require specific tools for their coat type but in general, here are the common clipping tools used:

  • Clippers – while you can use human hair clippers, you will get a better result if you invest in a pair of pet clippers especially designed for dogs. In particular, if you own a breed that is going to need a lot of clipping on a regular basis, then investing in a durable, high quality dog clipper is well worth the money spent. Cheaper clippers are often not durable enough to cut through thicker coats.
  • Clipper lubricant – clippers can become very hot with use, particularly the metal parts without their plastic cutting guards, so it is a good idea to spray the metal sections with a cooling lubricant first.
  • Clipper disinfectant – to keep things clean and prevent infection, it is wise to spray the cutting blades between use with a good disinfectant to kill off any bacterial or fungal residue.
  • Scissors – many dogs will still require some areas to be cut with scissors to look their best and you will want a pair of proper hair cutting scissors which can deliver a sharp, clean cut.
  • Brushes – before any clipping is done, the dog should be brushed thoroughly to remove all tangles and dead hair from the coat. Again, investing in good quality combs and brushes are well worth the money. Different breeds and types of coats will require different brushes – such as slicker brushes, strippers, pin brushes, combs and de-shedders - consult a pet groomer or knowledgeable staff at your local pet store for advice.
  • Grooming Table – it might seem a bit excessive but if you have a breed that requires a lot of regular grooming and precision to achieve the desired look, then a grooming table will make a big difference as it not only elevates your dog to the appropriate working height but also helps to secure your dog while grooming him.

Safety During Clipping

Don’t be too concerned about making mistakes with regards to the shape or style – even if your dog ends up with a “bad hair day”, it will grow out again in no time. It is far more important to consider safety when using your clippers.

In general, it is always best to start with minimal clipping until you feel more confident of what you’re doing. Remember, you can always take off more but you can’t put hair back again! So use a guard blade that takes off less hair to start with and only switch to a shorter blade as you get become more skilled and confident.

First before you start, make sure the blades are sharp. This might seem counter-intuitive but dull clippers will actually pull on the hair more. Be sure to clip in the same direction as hair growth, rather than against it, otherwise the clippers may pinch or cut the skin folds that come in the way. In fact, it is best to hold the skin taut with one hand while clipping with the other.

Also, be careful to just move the blade lightly across the dog’s body – if you apply any pressure on the clipper while you’re clipping, you can cause “clipper burn” which will turn into a red, scabby area after a few hours. This is particularly likely in sensitive areas such as the stomach, groin and face. In fact, when working around these sensitive areas, take extra care – such as watching out for nipples on the tummy, both in boys and girls.

If you come across a tangle or mat, don’t just try to clip your way through it! Your clippers will invariably get stuck and pull against the skin. Always brush out any tangles or mats first before starting the clipping process.

Lastly, don’t forget that the metal parts will get hot during the clipping process and can easily burn your dog. So always use a plastic guard on the blades and if you really must use the clippers without them in certain areas, do those areas first while the blade is still relatively cool. Then during the rest of the process, continually stop to test the temperature of the metal with your hands. If it is getting too hot, it is best to take a break to let them cool down again before continuing.

Tips for Success

One of the most important things you can do is to socialise and prepare your dog for regular clipping sessions. This removes the risk of your dog struggling to be free and possibly hurting himself or you in the process. So start clipping your dog as early as possible – from early days as a puppy – even if it just a “pretend job” just to get him used to the sensation of clippers on his coat. Try to choose the quietest clipper you can as this can go a long way to making it a more pleasant experience for both your dog and yourself.

Check out some breed books with good illustrations to see what the standard for your dog looks like, so that you have a good starting point as your guide. Finally, let your dog be groomed by a professional groomer at least once – and ideally watch the process if you can. This way you get the chance to see how it should be done and the professional cut will give you a base outline for you to follow which will make things much easier when you come to try it yourself.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Steve & Stella
    Re: Dog Laws in the UK
    We need help! We took possession of Roxy an 8 week old Rottweiler at the beginning of December 2016 Due to the fact that my son-in-law did not…
    19 July 2017
  • San
    Re: Chip and Tag Your Pet
    @bulldogmum - you can't expect to sell your puppies and the owners be still answerable to you (as much as you say you care). If money has…
    29 June 2017
  • SaferPets
    Re: Chip and Tag Your Pet
    Jessielittlejess - Your Question:My neighbours are a sheltered accommodation for elderly people, they keep taking my cat. They take him…
    29 June 2017
  • bulldogmum
    Re: Chip and Tag Your Pet
    I love my dog and wanted a puppy so we bred from my girl last year. We had a lovely healthy litter, and microchipped all the puppies as per…
    28 June 2017
  • Jessielittlejess
    Re: Chip and Tag Your Pet
    My neighbours are a sheltered accommodation for elderly people, they keep taking my cat. They take him into their flats and feed him. He…
    27 June 2017
  • Stayontheground
    Re: Dog Laws in the UK
    My friend has a Staffordshire Bull terrier which is the loveliest dog ever, she never barks and she's very gentle. People make too many…
    17 June 2017
  • Jase
    Re: Dog Laws in the UK
    @SallyB - there is nothing you can really do. People will have prejudices - just ignore these people. Those who are educated know the likes of…
    16 June 2017
  • PTT
    Re: Safe Dog Breeds for Elderly People
    @Silver - you could try a dog from a dog's home that has been brought up and is already good with cats. Some dogs homes…
    13 June 2017
  • Silver
    Re: Safe Dog Breeds for Elderly People
    I have very bad mobility issues and use a mobility scooter, I also have 4 cats which have grown up around dog, 2 are not…
    12 June 2017
  • SallyB
    Re: Dog Laws in the UK
    Whilst playing ball with my Rottweiler (who is 18months) my dog went to say hello to another dog, with ball in mouth and tail wagging, (i…
    2 June 2017
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the SaferPets website. Please read our Disclaimer.