Trimming a dog’s coat is an integral part of grooming. However, home grooming can be challenging and you may find yourself asking this question: why won’t my clippers cut my dog’s hair?
This can be frustrating, especially if you’re trying to save money from professional grooming. Nevertheless, a problematic dog hair clipper can be solved with a few troubleshooting steps.
Below, I outlined the most common reasons why dog clippers won’t cut well and what you can do. Take note that the tips here may or may not apply, depending on the specific clipper model you have.
7 reasons why your clipper won’t cut dog hair
If your clipper isn’t cutting your dog’s hair, you might be dealing with one of the following problems:
Problem #1: Your clipper blades are dull.
The most common reason why dog clippers won’t cut hair is a dull blade. Take note that clipper blades will soon lose their edge after numerous uses.
Even if you sharpen and oil your clipper blade, it will soon lose its ability to retain a good edge. In this case, your option is to re-sharpen the blade or purchase a new one.
Almost every clipper brand sells blade replacements for their products. Also, blade replacements are cheaper than buying a new unit.
In general, you need to sharpen a clipper blade every six months. But if you use it often, it will require frequent sharpening.
Problem #2: Your dog has a bad case of matting.
If your clipper blades are sharp and new, the problem might be on your dog’s coat. Your pet might be suffering from a severe case of matting that you can’t fix with home grooming alone.
Most clippers for home use are made with blades that are too short to go under mats. With this, you need to get a specialized clipper made specifically for this type of coat problem.
On the other hand, the best solution here is to bring your dog to a professional groomer. Groomers are equipped with commercial quality tools and skills that can fix matting the right way.
Problem #3: You’re using too much or not enough oil.
When it comes to oiling clipper blades, too much and too little are both bad things.
Excessive oil will get into the blade’s teeth. When this happens, your dog’s fur will clump and get stuck, preventing the clipper from cutting smoothly.
On the other hand, very little oil will cause overheating. It will also make the blade dull, which will pull and snag the canine’s hair.
Overall, you only need two drops of oil to lubricate your clipper blade. If it’s too drippy, you’re using too much than what’s needed.
If you happen to apply too much oil, simply wipe the excess using tissue paper.
Problem #4: Your clipper isn’t rated for your dog’s coat.
It’s important to know that clippers are rated for a maximum hair thickness. So if it’s not cutting your dog’s hair, your clipper might be below the ‘duty’ level that you need.
Dog hair clippers are often categorized into four duty levels: Light Use, Medium Duty, Heavy Duty, and Super Duty. The thicker your dog’s coat is, the heavier your clipper duty should be.
In this regard, light use clippers are suitable only for short-coated canines. But if you own a Golden Retriever like me, I suggest that you invest in heavy duty or super duty model.
Overall, the solution for this problem is to upgrade to a new clipper unit. Sure, it’s an added expense, but it’s much better than pulling your pet’s hair and getting frustrated all the time.
Problem #5: Your clipper battery is running out of power.
Before you assume that you have a faulty clipper, you should first check if the battery has enough power. Maybe your clipper only needs to be charged for it to cut dog hair smoothly.
If your clipper battery isn’t holding its charge, you need to replace its battery. Or better yet, you should consider upgrading to a wired type.
Problem #6: Your clipper blades are clogged.
Clogged blades are common when trimming a dog’s hair. Even if the blade is sharp, the collected hair will prevent the edge from accommodating more.
When clipping your dog, it’s important to pause after a few glides. This way, you can shake off the collected hair on the blade.
Take note that a clogged blade will pull and chew your dog’s hair. And if you keep clipping under this condition, your blade will get dull faster.
With this, you should clean your dog clipper after each use. This will prevent stuck hair from causing a problem during your next grooming session.
Problem #7: Your clipper has a damaged blade driver.
All clippers are equipped with blade drivers, which allows the blade to move and cut hair. However, since this driver is often made of plastic, it’s susceptible to damage.
The blade driver of your clipper will experience wear and tear over time. This is normal and can be replaced the moment your clipper stops working properly.
Additional tips when clipping your dog’s hair
Aside from ensuring that your clipper is working properly, you should know how to use it properly. Here are a few of my tips when trimming your dog’s hair at home:
1. Brush before clipping
Clipping tangled and dirty dog hair is guaranteed to cause clogging. In the process, your clipper blade won’t cut hair properly.
So before you start gliding the tool on your dog’s fur, you should give it a good brush first. This way, you can unravel minor mats and tangles.
2. Check your dog’s skin
As your clip your pet’s fur, you should make it a habit to check its skin as you go along. This way, you’ll spot the presence of parasites, skin irritations, and other problems.
3. Watch out over clipper burn
Clipper burn makes your dog’s skin inflamed and irritated. It’s the result of excessive friction on the skin during the clipping process.
Most cases of clipper burn don’t show instantly. It may take a day or two after clipping for your dog’s skin to start getting irritated.
4. Don’t clip too close to the skin
Clipping your dog’s hair too close to the skin often causes clipper burn. It’s painful and you may ruin your pet’s fur in the process.
To prevent this, you should trim in short lengths. If you wish to get mats removed, I suggest that you bring your dog to a professional groomer instead.
5. Let your dog be familiar with the clipper
One of the challenges of grooming dogs at home is their fear of the clipper’s buzzing sound. This is normal and can be easily fixed through desensitization.
You should allow your dog to sniff and lick the clipper while it’s turned off. Once your dog is accustomed to the presence of the tool, you can turn it on to desensitize the pooch to the buzzing sound.
Treats and pets will go a long way in helping your dog associate the clipper with a positive experience. This will also make your DIY grooming session more worthwhile.
Can I use human clippers on my dog?
Technically, human clippers will work on dogs. However, it’s not rated for their coat and skin.
Also, using human clippers on a dog with sensitive skin can lead to clipper burns and other irritations. Aside from that, it’s not really very sanitary to share your clipper with your dog, especially if you use it on sensitive parts of your body.
With this, you should purchase a hair clipper made specifically for canines. This way, the design suits your dog’s coat type and you won’t dull your own clippers too fast.
Do I cut my dog’s hair dry or wet?
You should only clip a dog’s hair once it’s bone-dry. Clipping a dog’s wet fur will result in a tangled mess, not to mention that you’re going to pull its coat and hurt its skin.
If you bathe your dog, you should use a hairdryer to ensure that there’s no trapped moisture under its coat. Once the canine’s hair is dry, you can start clipping its coat.
Can you shave a dog clean?
It’s not recommended to shave your dog bald for a variety of reasons.
First, shaving too close to the skin will mess up your pet’s fur. In some cases, the canine’s hair will not grow back to its normal appearance.
Aside from that, shaving a dog’s bald will negatively impact its ability to thermo-regulate. This means that your dog will easily get cold and will be exposed to a slew of irritants.
If you intend to keep your dog cool during summer, shaving isn’t the only solution. Containing your dog inside a temperature-regulated area and keeping it hydrated are just some of the safest alternatives.
Why won’t my clippers cut my dog’s hair? It can be anything from a damaged unit, problems with your dog’s coat, or your manner of using the tool.
Overall, a little troubleshooting will solve the problem. Also, you shouldn’t hesitate to ask a professional groomer for tips to improve your DIY home grooming.
Dave Bryan is an experienced editor with a passion for animals and writing. With a degree in journalism and years of experience in the publishing industry, he has honed his skills in crafting engaging content that informs and entertains readers. As an editor at Petcosset, Dave brings his expertise to ensure that the content produced is accurate, informative, and compelling. He has a keen eye for detail and is committed to maintaining high editorial standards. Dave is also a dedicated pet owner and loves spending time with his furry companions.