We all know the importance of keeping our hair neatly brushed and groomed, but it is just as important to groom our pets. When a dog’s hair is allowed to grow without brushing or cutting, it can develop unsightly mats and tangles that not only look bad, but can also cause pain and discomfort.
When a dog’s hair becomes matted, it can cause a pulling sensation on the skin, and can even cause a claw to become stuck whenever your dog scratches. This can cause severe pain, and even an injury.
Many veterinarians have reported having to treat injuries caused by mats, such as a claw actually been pulled off due to being caught in the tangle, or even bleeding spots when the dog pulls his claw free and rips a piece of skin off in the process.
Groom in the comfort of your own home
Because of today’s busy lifestyles, it can be difficult finding the time to take your pet to the groomer. Aside from this, groomers can be quite expensive if you have a long-haired pooch and need to get frequent trims.
Visiting a groomer can also be traumatic for your furry friend. Many different pet owners visit groomers, and the scent of various animals in the groomer’s office can overwhelm your dog. Your pet could be much more comfortable in the familiar surroundings of his own home, with his best friend doing the grooming: you – use dog clippers to suit your lifestyle!
What Tools Do You Need To Groom Your Dog?
There’s no need to search for dog-grooming tools on the internet, you’ll come across hundreds of various products claiming to be the best way to keep your pet looking perfect.
In actuality, many of the items or either gimmicky, or just plain don’t work at all or are detrimental to your dog’s hair. The best tools to use in grooming your dog are a plain dog brush, and a good set of clippers!
Because dog’s come in various sizes, dog clippers will as well. When choosing which ones to buy, make sure to check the size and purchase a set that won’t be so large they will be awkward to use in tricky areas such as under the front legs or around the ears, but also make sure they aren’t so small it would take an entire day to clip half of your dog.
To find out what dog clippers we recommend as dog owners ourselves – check out our roundup here.
Before Using Dog Clippers
Before you turn on the clippers and start shaving away, you need to prep your dog’s hair to ensure you get the best results. Always use clippers on a clean dog.
This means you may want to give your dog a bath the day before, or the day of, the actual grooming/clipping. Dirt in your pet’s coat can clog the blades of your clipper and either shorten its lifespan, or cause it to stop working entirely.
Another good rule to follow when grooming your dog is to never clip it’s hair before brushing it. If your dog’s hair is short, then this won’t be a problem; however, if your dog has a long coat, there may be hidden tangles and mats that could catch the blade of the clipper and pull at the skin, causing pain.
Take Care Before you Start
Remember, if you cause pain to your dog during the clipping process, s\he may be a little hesitant to cooperate with you the next time you need to groom him. If need be, remove the tangles with a pair of scissors.
Also, make sure that you are not using clippers that have old, dull blades. Once the blades of the clippers begin to dull, they won’t cut as well, and will actually grasp the dog’s hair and pull it out instead of cutting it. This can be very traumatic for your pet, and you can bet he will run and hide the next time he sees the clippers come out.
Clippers should move through your dog’s hair with very little to no resistance. Once you start to feel the clippers have difficulty in easily cutting hair, you should either replace the blades, or have them sharpened. Always check the blades for any signs of damage or rust before using them as well.
How To Use Dog Clippers
Now that you’ve made sure your dog is clean and your clippers are in top notch condition, it is time to use them.
If your dog is anxious or nervous, offer a treat, or play relaxing music before starting. Taking a break every few minutes to pet your dog or offer another treat can help make the clipping process a little easier for the both of you.
To begin clipping, angle the flat side of the blade so that it will glide over the surface of your dog’s coat. It doesn’t matter where on the body you should start, although most dogs react better if the buzzing sound of the clippers starts furthest away from their ears in order to give them time to get used to the noise.
Place just a little pressure on the clippers in order to get them to move through the hair, but not so much that you jam the blades into your dog’s skin. Keeping the clippers level at all times, run them through the dog’s coat, always going in the direction of growth.
This will help keep your cuts even and smooth. Running the clippers against the growth of the hair can result in a very choppy and uneven appearance.
A basic dog-grooming pattern to follow is to start in the middle of the back, and shave downward towards the tail. Continue down the dog’s body with the clippers until you reach the legs. To ensure that the cuts are smooth, grip your dog’s paw and stretch each leg. If you notice that your dog is getting really agitated at this point, it is probably advisable to skip this step and instead use the scissors to trim the region around the dog’s paws and the insides of his legs.
Once the back part of your dog has been clipped, he should be used to the sound of the clippers. At this point, you can move on to the head area. Run the clippers evenly from the top of the dog’s head, down the neck, and then on to the clipped area on his back. Continue under the chin, down the throat, and over the chest. Once again, if clipping the hair around his front legs is too difficult, put the clippers down and use scissors.
Once your dog has been clipped, you may want to switch out the blade for a shorter one, and then very gently trim around the stomach and anal area. This is generally the last parts of the dog to be trimmed.
The quieter the Clippers are When Being Used - The Better!
If your dog is sensitive to noise, you might already know that loud sounds can startle or frighten them. Try out different clippers and see which one makes the least sound. It will be easier for both of you to enjoy the grooming session. When grooming, it’s important to keep any outside distractions to a minimum, including other pets, other humans, or other animals.
You Don't Like Having Your Hair Pulled - Neither Does Your Dog!
What can you do to avoid pulling your pet pooches hair? It’s really, very simple – keep your blades SHARP.
Sharpening your dog’s groomer blades is important because they can easily cut through your dog’s fur without pulling or irritating his/her sensitive coat. In addition, they should be sharp because some hard-to-reach places—like around your pet’s head and ears—require the use of just the top blade.
Assist and Listen to Your Dog
To avoid startling your dog, hold him firmly while trimming. Start by shaving the neck and working your way down to the tail. It’s best to groom your pet in an orderly manner so that you don’t miss any spots during the grooming and clipping process.
Snap on Combs and Clipper Blades - They're All The Same, Right?
Absolutely not!!! There are many brands of dog grooming clippers. The three leading brands – Oster, Andis and Wahl – offer snap-on combs for their products.
Most combs are long-lasting and gentle on your pet’s skin, so it’s up to you to decide which one is best. They tend to glide smoothly through thick or matted fur, and the teeth won’t bend. They’re ideal for dogs with coats that get matted easily, but if you don’t secure them tightly enough, they might pop off!
Now that your dog has been clipped, give him a good brushing and check to see if there are any rough areas that need to be evened out. Giving your dog a treat after grooming and using a dog hair clipper will make he or she look forward to the next time.
Congratulations! You’ve just groomed your dog. If this is your first time, you may have made a few mistakes, but don’t worry. With just a little practice, you’ll be able to clip your dog like a paid groomer, and have a sense of accomplishment knowing you’ve done the best you can to keep your dog looking his best.
The differences between them are the materials they're made of.
Andis Pet Grooming Combs are available at most reputable online stores including Christie’s and Amazon. Combs come in a variety of materials, including the more common plastic and the more high-end chrome and stainless steel sets. As with most things, you pay for what you get.
Both Wahl and Oster offer excellent quality products at reasonable prices as well.
If you have the budget and choice, Doggy Planet would ALWAYS recommend purchasing steel clipper combs over their plastic counterparts.
Steel combs are more tightly attached to the blades, so they won’t budge when you’re giving your dog a grooming session . This makes grooming sessions convenient and comfortable.
Steel blades are generally thinner and therefore separate a dogs hair more evenly than their thicker plastic counterparts. Because of this, you won’t have to repeatedly clip over the same patch of hair.
Steel combs for clippers are great time savers because they allow you to cut the hair down to a specific length, usually around an inch long or so, without having to use your scissors. It’s only when you need to do some detail work that you’ll need your scissors.
When buying a pair of clippers, the most important factor to consider is whether they’re sturdy enough to last. If the combs get bent when they’re used on thick fur, you’ll get an uneven haircut. You’ll then be forced to keep going over the same spot, wasting your time and energy. We love the solid construction of Andis clipper guards because they’re made from durable materials.
You don’t just want to get the right clipper for your dog; you also need to know which one works best for your specific breed. You don’t need to use snap on combs, but if you do, be sure not to use them when combing matted hair. They’re likely to get stuck in the tangling.
Steel combers won’t be able to get through thick mats without damaging them. The result will be a poorly groomed dog, looking scruffy and you’ll be annoyed at the time wasted and the end result.
Taking Care of Your Clipper Combs
Care for your clipper combs in the same way you would care for any other important tool in your kit. Check out our tips below:
Keep Them Clean
Hairy items shouldn’t be stored. Hair corrodes metal teeth and the comb’s blade hinge.
Dog hair tends to be acidic and a breeding ground for bacteria. It’s simple – if you want longevity out of your clippers, keep them clean. Use a hair dryer or blower, to get rid of excess hair and then give them a good rinse. Take care of them and they’ll take care of your pet pooch.
Oil The Hinge
The hinges will gradually tighten up over time. The clippers are less likely to slip off as a result, which is nice, but also makes it more difficult to change them. Add a little clipper oil to the hinges every now and then to maintain them oiled and functioning smoothly.