Considering shaving your own dog? There’s a lot to learn. A few precautions that you need to follow before we explain how to shave your dog are:
- Heat. A lot of owners assume that their dog’s coat is simply too thick for the warm summer weather. This may sound logical, but a dog’s fur will protect against sunburn and help protect your dog against the elements.
- Double Coat. A dog with a double coat has an undercoat under their top coat. These dogs include your Husky, Pomeranian and German Shepard – among many other breeds.
If you’re not sure if your dog fits into this category, you’ll want to either do your own research on your breed or ask for professional help. Groomers will give you tips on how to properly groom your pet.
Now since we have that taken care of, if you still want to shave your dog, it’s time to follow these few hacks.
1. Perform Basic Pre-Shave Maintenance
Don’t just jump into shaving your dog before doing some maintenance. Your dog’s coat needs some love before pulling out the scary buzzers. A few tips from the professionals on what you ought to do before you start shaving your dog include:
- Wash. I highly recommend washing your dog before a shave. The goal is to get rid of any loose clumps of hair. A good wash will also make the hair easier to shave.
- Brush. Dogs will have a lot of loose hair and clumps of hair that easily get caught in clippers. Brushing your pet before you shave him or her will allow you to remove this hair that often gets pulled and makes your dog yelp.
While this may seem like basic grooming, it’s essential to maintain a dog’s pristine coat.
2. Shave with the Growth
A lot of people grab their dog’s clippers and just start shaving without any rhyme or rhythm. The problem is that hair should be shaved with the growth. The way that you tell how to shave your dog is simple:
- Use a credit card
- Rub the card against the dog’s coat
If the hair is pulled backwards, this means you’re going against the growth. You want to shave with the growth, so start shaving in the opposite direction.
Shaving against the coat won’t harm your dog, but it will:
- Create harsh lines
These harsh lines will be visibly noticeable and make a dog with nice fur look raggedy.
3. Shave Problem Areas First
Problem areas are a must-shave first. I mean, you can shave wherever you wish first, but you’ll make the entire process less taxing on your dog if you shave problem areas first. These sensitive areas are either hard to reach or sensitive.
The buzzing sound of the buzzers will scare the dog, too.
It’s not something that any dog likes. Instead, you’ll want to tackle these areas first to combat anxiety and stress.
A list of the areas that are sensitive and should be targeted first are:
- Back side
If your dog has sensitive areas on their body, you’ll want to be extra cautious in this area, too. The areas that I watch out for are the legs, near the paws and back since my dog has suffered from back injuries in the past.
You know your dog best, so feel free to add your own sensitive areas to this list.
Note: I recommend skipping your dog’s face. Dogs often get very scared or even aggressive when their faces are shaved. If you must shave your dog’s face, make sure to stop at least an inch from the dog’s eyes.
4. Start from the Neck
If you’ve finished the last step or want to take your chances with a very calm dog, I recommend following a basic shaving pattern. The pros recommend a simple way to shave your dog:
- Start shaving the dog around the neck area
- Continue shaving to the back leg
You’ll want to do one side at a time and then tidy everything up afterward. The neck is a very tough area to shave on a dog’s body, so it’s a great starting point.
I find that when shaving the neck, I can get a better idea of my dog’s coat. A tip that I learned early on when researching how to shave your dog is to learn your dog’s coat. This can be done by paying close attention to your dog’s coat when you perform a shave.
Over time, you’ll find that you know your dog’s coat well and can shave him or her much faster.
But when you want to take a shortcut, hire a professional. There are a lot of professional groomers that will be more than willing to walk you through your first shave. These professionals will guide you on the appropriate way to clip your breed’s coat.
You can also ask a professional for recommendations on trimming sensitive and problem areas.
5. Keep Your Clippers from Overheating
When shaving your dog, your clippers will work very hard. The clippers need to go through your dog’s thick coat, and this is a tedious process, even for the thickest clippers. A major issue is that the clippers will start to get hot.
You need to be proactive and touch the clippers often to make sure that they’re not too hot.
If the clippers get too hot, you’ll have to do one or a combination of the following:
- In serious cases, you may want to switch out blades.
- Switch to another set of clippers when possible.
- Use a coolant or lubricant on the blades.
A trick that I haven’t tried but I hear works well is to place the hot metal against a baking sheet. The reason this works so well is that the baking sheet is designed to absorb heat. The absorption occurs rapidly, so you’ll be able to quickly return to shaving your dog.
If you follow the tips above, you’ll be well on your way to grooming your dog’s coat on your own.