How To Use Dog Clippers

How To Use Dog Clippers

Last Updated on by Daniel Lawrence

Owning a dog is a great responsibility. The responsibilities involve both feeding the dog and grooming them. It is important to groom your dog once in a while. Dog clippers, one of the equipments used in grooming dogs, is what we’ll be discussing in this guide. If you’re interested in knowing how to use dog clippers, you should read this guide.

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.

Clipping may involve removing excess coat all over, or the removal of mats and tangles from problem areas. This is not always easy to do. Grooming is often best left to an experienced pet groomer who understands the needs of your pet. Professional groomers have the correct equipment to minimize the risk of cuts and deliver the best possible service.

Skin health is observed during clipping, combing, brushing, and bathing. Knowing what is normal for your pet is important. Changes like skin redness, scale, and lumps should always be reported to your vet when identified. Checking the mouth, teeth, and gums is also an essential part of the grooming process. Any abnormalities should be investigated and discussed with your pet care team.

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.

How To Use Dog Clippers

Once the blade is in position, switch the clippers on and hold them comfortably in your hand.  Hold the clippers so that the flat side of the blade runs along the surface of the dog’s body.   You can start your clip anywhere on the dog’s body, however, it is easier to follow the same clipping pattern and routine each time.

This may help the dog to get used to being clipped plus help him feel a little more relaxed each time you do the job.  The clippers should glide through the coat without too much pressure unless, of course, the dog is matted or very thick-coated, in which case you may need to gently exert a little pressure to get the blade through the thickness.

Always keep the clipper blade flat against the body of the dog, otherwise, you may end up cutting into the skin.  Blades are very sharp and can easily cut if they are not kept level (if blades are not sharp then they will not cut through the fur with ease.

The dangerous spots for cutting into the skin are on the legs and the very thin folds of skin as you stretch the leg out however unless you are careful, it is possible to cut the dog anywhere on the body.

Before you use clippers on your dog:

  • Read the operating and safety instructions.
  • Practice holding the clippers in both the “off” and “on” position to determine your most comfortable grip
  • Acclimate your dog to the device (you and your pet will benefit if he is desensitized to the hum).
  • Bathe your dog.
  • Remove tangles and mats from his coat.
  • Make sure he is completely dry before clipping.
  • Prepare an environment that is safe and free from distractions.

Using the Dog Clippers

Now you are ready to use the clippers on your dog.  Remember that you are basically shaving your dog, so until you are used to it take your time and stop to have a rest if you need to.  It is best for you and your dog if you work to a pattern – i.e. you start and work your way around the dog the same way each time you give him a clip.  This will help you both get used to it and become more comfortable each time.  You can do this by following the steps below:

  • Start by clipping from the top of the head down the neck and shoulder area and then under the ear, chin, and throat area and down the chest.
  • Continue clipping down the front leg – gently, but firmly pick up the dog’s leg and hold it straight out in front. This is where your dog might get wriggly and more difficult.  Don’t bend the leg into an unnatural position as you can easily do the dog some damage.  Be careful of the very thin parts of the skin – if the clippers are pressed too hard on these parts the skin may be cut.  You will need to raise the leg to the side a little to get the clippers right into the shoulder area.  This is the area that tends to mat up first so if you find it too difficult with the clippers then you might prefer to cut the fur here with the scissors.  Run the clippers right down the legs and over the paw making sure you maneuver all around the leg.  Be careful of the dewclaw (side nail) you don’t want the blade to cut into that.
  • Continue to run the clippers over the dog’s back and then down the side of the body. You will need to lift the front leg to maneuver the clippers from the chest area to underneath the belly.
  • Next is the hind leg area. It will be reasonably easy to clip the outside of the hind leg however then you will need to move the leg to get to the inside.  You can turn the dog around and then lift the other hind leg so as you can get the clippers into the inside of the hind leg you are working on.  Once again, be gentle as you hold the leg, and don’t maneuver the dog into an awkward position.
  • Once the hind leg is done clip run the clippers from the body and about an inch down the tail all around. You might prefer to work on the other hind leg in the same way before you change blades to clip around the anal area and underneath the tummy area.
  • Now is a good time to change the blade to the number 10 for a very short cut around the anal area and the tummy. In the same manner of holding the clippers hold the tail up and use the clippers around the anal opening and down the backside.  Then lift the hind leg up and out enough that you can then clip around the tummy area.  Take care to only use this blade at the back end area there where matting tends to occur more easily, generally no further forward than the hind leg.
  • You will then need to change blades back to the longer length to continue clipping the other side of the dog.

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.

Take a look at their advantages and disadvantages before choosing a pair of pet clippers.


The main advantage of using dog grooming clippers is that they can quickly trim and cut your dog’s coat in a record amount of time.

Dog grooming clippers are easy to handle and travel-friendly. You can easily bring them with you if you have vacations, trips, or an out-of-town bonding with your family, just in case your dog needs a touch-up away from home.

Pet clippers can be outfitted with a selection of blades, so pet owners may use one pair of clippers to trim multiple pets in the home with different types of fur. Multiple blades may also be used to create some cuts and styles.

With the right care, clippers can last for many years – the reason they’re a worthwhile investment.


The main advantage of using pet clippers is the noise they create. Some animals are constantly freaked out by clippers and that may develop extreme anxiety, even display violence if clippers are used on them.

Using the wrong types of blades can pull dog hair, which may cause pain to dogs, and the clippers can even cut or scratch their skin.

Clippers do require consistent maintenance such as oiling, cleaning, and sharpening the blades, or they’ll quickly fall into disrepair.


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.