Let’s face it—for many living in the pandemic, we are seeing a lot less disposable income. We see the cost of everyday staples rising, and, necessities such as utilities and groceries are steadily eating into our budget. For pet parents, this impacts your pocketbook, but it can also affect your care for Fido. Not too long ago, you took your pup to a professional dog groomer for bathing, nail clipping, and coat trimming. Now that our budgets are becoming limited, this expense is one that we are debating on its necessity.
You CAN cut your dog’s hair, save money, AND make Fido look gorgeous at the same time without going to the grooming salon. Let’s take a look at several common doggie cuts that you can easily do at home, saving you money and keeping your dog looking as darling as ever.
What Will I Need to Cut My Dog’s Hair?
Know what your dog should look like according to the breed standard. You wouldn’t give a Poodle style cut to a long-haired Dachshund.
Next, decide HOW you’re going to give the cut to your dog. You want to decide if you are going to use scissors or clippers to trim dog hair. Factors that influence this decision include the length of your dog’s hair (you may need to trim with scissors before you run clippers over Fido’s body), the length of hair you intend to cut, and your own confidence level as you go about cutting the dog’s hair. To be honest, a pair of clippers with the proper guards will help you to cut evenly, but, you will have to cut the hair fairly close to the dog’s body. These are important things to think about before cutting your dog’s hair.
If you DO decide to go with clippers, think about your dog’s prior experience with them. Has the professional groomer always used clippers on your dog? If so, your dog is likely used to the noise and vibration they produce. If not, you’ll want to choose clippers with the quietest settings available, and you may need to do a little socialization to the clippers before you actually start cutting. (You’ll turn the clippers on and, if she’s comfortable, run them—without actually using them—over her body so that she understands this device will not hurt her.)
If you are using scissors, here are some important things to consider. You want straight grooming shears that are sharp and are the proper tool for the dog’s coat type and length. Be sure to have another pair that have blunt ends for trimming around the ears and other sensitive areas.
You’ll also want to observe your dog’s coat. Look at the thickest parts, the direction in which the hair grows, and any obstacles you don’t want to nip with clippers or scissors—nipples, claws, etc.).
Common Doggy Hair Cuts
Teddy Bear Cut
This is a great cut for those just starting out cutting their dog’s hair. You can go longer with this cut, and it looks great. Your pup will look like a cuddly teddy bear.
The key is to keep more hair around your dog’s face than on her body. This cut is good for dogs that have wavy or curly coats, and you won’t have to cut the hair as often as if you go shorter with the trim.
Of course, this cut is great for poodle breeds and hybrid poodle breeds. The hair on your dog’s body will be very short. You’ll leave more hair around your dog’s neck and head. If you picture your dog with a lion’s mane, then you’ve got the idea! You’ll find that Poodle grooming can be fun!
Although this is a classic cut for poodles and hybrid breeds with similar fur, any pup with curly, soft fur will look good with this easy dog haircut.
This is a great cut for puppies and curly-haired dogs. It is especially great for dogs during the summer months as the hair on your dog’s body will be very short .
You will cut the hair on your dog’s body fairly close to the skin. Leave hair long on the legs. It is a fairly simple cut, and it looks adorable on many different breeds.
The Lamb Cut will work well on dogs that seem to enjoy colder weather better as well. The legs and paws will be kept warm by the extra hair there. Of course, you can always add a darling sweater for body heat if you choose this cut for Fido!
Shaving a dog is a common cut, and sometimes it is because professional groomers may make a mess of a different haircut. Of course, if you are worried that you won’t cut Fido’s hair evenly, you can start out with the shaved cut and work your way into other cuts and styles.
It is also important to understand that if your dog has gone too long between visits to the professional groomer and her hair has begun to mat, you may need to simply shave it all and start over. You may also consider shaving your dog if he is experiencing skin irritation that would best be solved by getting rid of the hair around the area. Regular haircut prevents matted dog hair.
You want to use guards on the clipper that will prevent shaving the hair too short. You never want Fido’s skin to be showing after shaving the hair off. You want at least half an inch of hair left.
This cut is fairly easy, but it might be difficult for beginners. The Kennel Cut is one that has all the hair shaved the same length all over the body. You can make the kennel cut as long or as short as you’d like. Short Kennel Cut styles allow for easy brushing between grooming or haircut sessions. Keep in mind the kennel cut will look different on different dog breeds; however, ANY breed will look fabulous with a kennel cut.
Think of it like giving your pup a “man bun.” You’ll leave a “poof” of hair on top of your dog’s head; be sure to leave the edges of the poof rounded and as even as possible. The rest of the body can be a length you choose.
This is where you’ll need to trim with the scissors and the clippers. You want to leave more hair on top of Fido’s head, but you also want to trim the areas around the eyes, nose, and mouth close.
This is a great cut for dogs that tend to have longer hair on the face that gets into their food and water.
Let’s Talk About Using Clippers on Your Dog
Most groomers recommend using clippers on dogs that already have short hair. Of course, if you’re nervous about grooming your dog yourself, then clippers might be a good choice. You can always use the guards to ensure you don’t clip too much. Plus, it’s a lot easier to hide an “oops” moment with clippers than with scissors.
First, you’ll want to wash your dog’s coat clean. Make sure that you brush away all tangles and any excess (shed) hair. If you do this, you ensure that the clippers won’t get caught on any matted fur—this could be painful and cause you to cut an area of the dog’s fur too close.
Next, run the clippers in the direction of the dog’s hair growth. You want the finished product to look natural.
Start at your dog’s neck and run the clippers in the direction of her legs. Do this on both sides to ensure an even coat.
Always go slow. You don’t want to get “lines” in your dog’s hair. Do your best to use the same amount of pressure over your dog’s body. Give your dog treats when you are done so that she associates this with a positive experience.
Some Advice when Using Scissors
Scissors work best on dogs with longer hair. However, you may not feel comfortable with scissors. If you want to simply trim just a bit of hair, then scissors work better.
You’ll need straight grooming shears for typical trims, but, when you cut your dog’s paws or ear areas, you’ll want some blunt-tipped scissors. There are also curved scissors for “tender” areas.
You’ll also want to decide just how short you want to cut Fido’s hair. Try to use your fingers as a guide as to how short to cut the hair, and work toward blending the hair as you cut.
Start at your dog’s neck and work toward her back legs. Be sure to cut the more “tender” areas last. You can use thinning shears on thicker areas of hair. Keep a comb between your dog’s skin and the scissors at all times.
1. How much is a haircut for a dog?
Typically, a dog haircut depends on the breed and how much grooming that dog will need. Some dogs get a trim that costs $25 while others get clipped or shaved. These types of trims may cost upwards of $40. If your dog is going to get a bath in addition to the trim, you could see grooming costs go up to $60 or more.
Prices of hair cuts can also depend upon your location. Larger cities may charge less or more depending upon their clientele. More rural areas may actually offer cheaper prices.
2. Can I give my dog a haircut?
You certainly can! Please refer to the seven most common hair cuts and their descriptions above. However, you may want to shave your dog evenly all over so that the cut looks good but is easy to do.
You may be nervous before giving Fido that first cut. If so, choose some clippers with guards that will help control the length of the hair you’re cutting.
3. What kind of haircut should my dog get?
That depends upon the breed. Dogs with curly hair may do better with a teddy bear cut or a poodle cut. However, the kennel cut seems to work well for all dog breeds, and you, the owner, control the length of the hair.
There is also your own preference to consider. If you choose to shave your dog, then that works too! The most important thing is that you and Fido are both comfortable while you are cutting her hair.
4. What is the best way to cut a dog’s hair?
Again, this is a personal decision you should make yourself. You may want to start out with clippers, however, as they are easier to maneuver the first time you cut Fido’s hair. Remember, you can attach guards that will help you gauge just how short you want to trim Fido’s hair.