How to Shave a Dog's Body

Medium
15 - 30 Minutes
12 Months

Introduction

If you have ever used clippers to shave a child's head, you at least have the basics down. Shaving your dog's body is very similar, just a lot bigger and maybe a bit wigglier. Since this a drastic measure, you may want to talk to your dog's vet before you set to work. Keep in mind that shaving a dog's fur down to skin level leaves them with no insulation to keep them warm in the cold weather and cool in the hot weather. While there are medical reasons for shaving a dog, doing it because you think it might help your dog stay cool actually has the opposite effect. 

Dog's Perspective

You can safely bet that the last thing Fluffy wants is to have her body shaved down to the skin. At the same time, the sound of the clippers may make her more than just a little nervous. Take plenty of time out to let your dog get used to the sight, sound, and feel of the clippers before you get started. This will make things go far smoother for both of you. 

The Which Way Do I Cut Method

Effective
0 Votes
Clipper
Step
1
Find your direction
Fluffy's hair grows in one main direction, referred to as the grain. Different parts of her body may have different grain so pay close attention. If your hand makes the hair lay flat when you rub in a particular direction, this is the grain. You should always clip in the direction of the grain.
Step
2
Stand and deliver
Bring Fluffy into the room you have chosen to groom her in and have her stand in front of you. Let her see the clippers, hear them run, and then after turning them on, feel the vibration on their skin.
Step
3
Legs first
Start with one of her rear legs and lift is so that you can shave the inside of the leg. Repeat this for all other legs.
Step
4
Shave from the top
Starting at the top of the spine, follow the grain to the bottom on both sides. This is also a good time to shave her derriere, paying close attention to her genitals.
Step
5
Lie down for the win
Have Fluffy lie down, allowing you access to her belly, so you can finish the job. Have her stand up, take a good look at your handiwork and touch up any areas you missed. Practice makes perfect, in time you will be a master groomer.
Recommend grooming method?

The Clean Dog Method

Effective
0 Votes
Slicker Brush
Shampoo
Clipper
Towel
Step
1
The warm bath
A clean dog is much easier to shave. Give Fluffy a nice warm bath to remove dirt, debris, tangles, mats, and the natural oils in her coat. All of these can jam the clippers and cause them to rip hair out of your poor pup's skin.
Step
2
Paws and legs
Starting at one corner, shave the inside of each leg by lifting them up and turning them to where you have easier access. Then, starting at the paw, shave against the grain all the way up her legs.
Step
3
Her backside
Lift Fluffy's tail out of the way and starting at the top, shave her rump. Be very careful around her private parts as the skin here is very thin and can be easily cut.
Step
4
Shave her tail
If you are going to shave her tail, this is a good time to do so. Start at the base and shave all the way out to the tip.
Step
5
The bulk of her body
Starting at the back of the head, shave all the way to the base of the tail. Then shave her sides following the grain going from top to bottom. Have Fluffy lie down and roll over, this will allow you to shave her belly. One last quick look over, trimming any areas you missed, and you are all done.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • One good way to avoid nicks and cuts is to use your free hand to pull the skin tight.
  • Use baby oil to work out any heavy mats. If you can't get them out they should loosen up enough for you to get the clippers under them to cut them out.
  • Do not try to over-restrain your pup, if they won't settle down, use a leash or restraint to hold them in place.
  • Avoid using a hair drier on your dog, the high heat can burn their skin. Just towel dry and let the air do the rest.
  • Make sure the blade on your clippers is nice and sharp, otherwise it could snag hair instead of cutting it.
  • Give your pooch plenty of time to get used to the clippers, this will make the whole process much easier. 

Conclusion

It won't take you long to master the fine art of shaving your dog. Just keep in mind the hair you are shaving off is the only protection your dog has against heat, cold, and the sun's UV rays. Consult your vet before shaving your dog and make sure you have plenty of sunblock on hand to protect your pup's skin. 

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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