How to Shave a Dog's Coat

Medium
15 - 30 Minutes
12 Months

Introduction

Although you might think shaving your dog's coat is great for the summer, this might not actually be your best option. In fact, you may be setting him up for a bad case of sunburn, if not other skin conditions. However, there are times when you may need to shave him down to skin level. These can include a flea infestation, tick infestation, and a number of skin conditions where his coat might get in the way of the required treatment. 

Dog's Perspective

The last thing your dog probably wants is for you to break out the clippers and shave him bald. Hey, even dogs have feelings! The big thing here is to try to keep your pooch nice and calm throughout the process using calm, reassuring voice and some of his favorite treats.

The Direction Method

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Clipper
Step
1
In the right direction
First and foremost, you need to use your hand to determine the direction in which the hair is going. If you move your hand across his coat and it stays smooth this is the direction it is growing. If the hair ruffles up, then you are going in the wrong direction.
Step
2
Sensitive areas first
The further you get in shaving, the more restless your dog is likely to become. So, it's best to start out shaving the harder to reach spots such as belly around genitals, his tail, his head, and insides of his legs, and then move on.
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3
If he is really restless
If the dog is really restless, you may want to skip the face completely, but if he will sit still go ahead and do this area first, just be sure to stay about an inch from his eyes to avoid the risk of injury.
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4
Top side next
Starting at the back of the head, shave down the neck, along his back and then following the direction of hair growth, his sides and the outside of his legs.
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5
Finishing up
Finish up by having your dog lay on his side or back so that you can shave his belly. Trim his paws, check for any missed spots and you are all done.
Recommend grooming method?

The Prep Your Pup Method

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Shampoo
Clipper
Towel
Step
1
Start with the right tools
Start out by purchasing a good quality set of dog clippers. You need to make sure the kit you buy comes with several guides, lubricating oil (a hot clipper blade can burn your pup's skin), and a sharp clipper blade. Look for one that is very quiet when it is running to reduce your pup's anxiety.
Step
2
Prepping the pooch
If your dog's coat has high levels of dirt, tangles, mats, or is very oily, these materials can stick in the clipper blades. This causes the clipper to rip the hair out which is very painful and can cause significant injury. Give him a bath using a vet approved shampoo and let his coat air dry fully--a wet coat can also cause hair to snag in the clippers.
Step
3
Restrain your pup
Unless yours happens to be an exceptionally well-behaved pooch, you should have a grooming table with built in restraints or a second person to help hold him still.
Step
4
Delicate areas are first
Start by shaving Ralph in his more delicate areas first, these include under his belly, the inside of his legs, his neck, head, tail, and ears. To shave his legs, lift each up to a point where you can easily and comfortably shave them. Be sure you keep the clippers an inch away from his eyes.
Step
5
Shaving the rest
Time to shave the rest of your dog. Start at his head and shave your way to his tail. Be aware that the direction in which his hair grows will change directions in different areas of his body. Step back and look at your finished work, if you missed anywhere, this is the time to go back and even things up.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • You can prevent cuts and nicks by using one hand to pull the skin tight while you are shaving.
  • Keep in mind that the less restraint you need to use to hold your pup in place, the better. If you find your helper is holding on for dear life, stop and use a leash instead. This will keep your dog from feeling like he is being suffocated.
  • Instead of using shears to remove tough mats (you could cut your pup) try using a little baby oil to work them loose enough for you to be able to get the clippers under the mats to remove them.
  • Avoid using a hair drier to dry your pup's coat. The air produced is too hot and can burn your pup's skin. Dry the worst off with a soft towel and let your dog air dry before you go to shave him. If you can, bathe your pup the night before you plan to shave him.
  • Avoid buying a noisy set of clippers as they can turn a slightly nervous dog into a nightmare of scared, nervous energy, making it impossible to shave him. 

Conclusion

Be sure you have a good reason to shave your dog. Keep in mind that by removing his coat, you are removing the only protection his skin has from the sun. Once you shave your pup, you need to use plenty of sun block every time you take him outside. 

Take your time working with your pup to will help make shaving a less frightening experience for your dog. 

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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