How to Trim a Dog's Tail

Easy
10 - 15 Minutes
6 Weeks

Introduction

Don’t ignore your dog’s tail when grooming. His tail sees as more of the ground than his nose. It can become matted, tangled, and filthy. Make sure to add tail grooming to your regimen whether you are bathing or trimming or simply brushing. Dogs with short tails or short fur on their tails won't require a whole lot of care, but dogs with long fur and fluffy tails will require regular brushing as well as trimming. While you're grooming your dog's tail, don't forget to trim the fur around your dog's sanitary area. This will keep feces out of your dog's fur and off of your floors and furniture. That particular fur can be cut very short while still keeping much of the tail long and fluffy if you wish. 

Dog's Perspective

The fur on your dog’s tail tangles quite easily. This may cause some problems with comfort during brushing or trimming. This is typically a pretty sensitive area, so be gentle when you are combing or brushing through any knots or tangles. Some dogs don't like their tails to be touched because they don't have a whole lot of control over how to address somebody or something touching them from behind. Ease any tension with treats and a soft, soothing tone while talking to your dog during tail grooming.

The Fluffy Tails Method

Effective
0 Votes
Slicker Brush
Scissors
Pin Brush
Comb
Clipper
Step
1
Hold straight out
Hold your dog's tail straight out and brush it or comb it to remove any tangles or knots. Work in small sections at a time and avoid pulling the fur as this can be a very sensitive area for your dog.
Step
2
Hold downward
Once you have worked out any knots from that direction in small sections, hold the tail down and brush the fur again--downward. If there are any additional tangles, this is the opportunity to get those out, otherwise, you're just brushing all the tail fur in one direction towards the tip of the tail.
Step
3
Tip of tail
With one hand, find the tip of your dog's tailbone. Be sure you know where that is so you are not cutting his skin while trimming the fur on the tip of his tail. Once you find the tip of his tail, cut off any excess so his tail fur is only the length of his actual tail. Don’t make this cut too blunt. Cutting the fur on the tip of your dog's tail at an angle will give it a fluffier, softer appearance rather than a blunt edge cut.
Step
4
Trim
With scissors or clippers, hold the tail out again and trim any excess fur hanging down that appears straggly or wiry.
Step
5
Super fluff
If your dog's tail is super fluffy, you can use thinning shears to carefully thin the tail. Do not use clippers for thinning. Hold the tail up with the thinning scissors parallel to the tail and cut long fur at an angle, moving upward from the bottom of the fur to the tailbone.
Step
6
Sanitary area
Once the tail is groomed and trimmed, lift the tail and use clippers to clip back the fur around your dog's anus. Do not shave bald, however, trim this fur very short to keep this area of his body clean and free of debris. You can also trim a couple of inches in length on the tail itself once the tail is lifted to mirror the trimming on the sanitary area. This will keep feces out of the long fur on the bottom of your dog's tail.
Step
7
Brush out
When you are done with your dog's tail, give it a good brushing from tailbone all the way down to the tip of the tail to ensure and you have the shape that you want, the length that you would like, and all the tangles are out of this long, fluffy fur on your dog's tail.
Recommend grooming method?

The Scissors Only Method

Effective
0 Votes
Scissors
Pin Brush
Comb
Step
1
Position dog
Put your dog in a position to where you are waist or chest level to your dog. This will give you the position you need to see all of your dog's tail and be able to reach the areas that you need to reach with scissors safely.
Step
2
Position tail
Once you and your dog are comfortable, lift your dog's tail up and hold it out straight. This will keep your dog from trying to sit down while you are grooming his tail.
Step
3
Potty area
Hold your scissors parallel against the skin and trim the potty area. This fur around your dog's sanitary parts should be short but not necessarily bald. The shorter you can keep your dog's fur in this area, the more clean this area will remain.
Step
4
Brush tail
Using a pin brush or a comb, brush your dog's tail out to remove any tangles. You may need to cut out large mats if your dog's tail has any of those.
Step
5
Scissor trim
Once your dog's fluffy tail has been brushed out, use your scissors and trim the excess fur to the length that you would like to have it. Just like any fur on your dog's body, some of your dog's tail fur may be falling out as new coat comes in and some of it may be long and wiry and uncomfortable for your dog. Use your scissors to give your dog's tail a nice, neat trim.
Step
6
Shape
If you have a dog with a fluffy tail or long fur on his tail you can shape your dog's tail fur in an arc. Using your scissors, cut a curve along the edge of your dog's tail fur from the tailbone all the way down to the tip of the tail. When your dog's tail has this curve cut and the fur is brushed out and hangs down it adds a nice tidy look to your dog's tail.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • The tail is often ignored in home grooming sessions. Your dog's tail is often the dirtiest part of your dog because it makes contact with the ground more often than anything other than his paws.
  •  When you brush your dog on a daily or weekly basis, be sure to include brushing the tail as part of this grooming process.
  •  You may not need to trim your dog's tail every single time you groom him, however, do brush his tail every time you brush him.
  •  You can cut the fur short on the very bottom at the base of the tail to help keep any feces out of that long fur. Just don't make that area too large at the bottom of the tail, or it will be obvious your dog has a big bald spot.
  • If you're cutting the fur at the tip of your dog's tail, be sure you know where his tailbone is so you do not accidentally cut skin or bone.
  •  When you groom your dog's tail it is a good time to groom his sanitary areas as well. When grooming his backside, keep the fur short to help keep poop out of the fur but do not cut too close to the skin.

Conclusion

Leave the backside for the end of your grooming session, but don't leave out the tail. Brush out and trim your dog's fluffy end and give him a furtastically beautiful tail. Create a long and luscious tail by brushing on a regular basis and giving that fluff a good trim. Bring shape to your dog's tail with a fancy arc and watch him wag!

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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