How to Shave a Dog?

How to Shave a Dog

Here’s a breakdown on How to Shave a Dog, when it might be necessary, safer alternatives, and how to do it cautiously at home:

Reasons to Avoid Shaving

  • Sun Protection: A dog’s coat protects them from sunburn and skin cancer.
  • Insulation: Fur keeps your dog warm in winter and cool in summer.
  • Insect Shield: Fur acts as a barrier against bites and infestations.
  • Healthy Skin: Shaving can lead to ingrown hairs, irritation, and damage hair follicles.

Alternatives to Shaving

  • Sunscreen: Use a dog-specific zinc-free sunscreen to protect sensitive areas.
  • Regular Grooming: Professional groomers can de-shed and maintain your dog’s coat.
  • Brushing: Remove loose hair and improve coat health with regular brushing at home.
  • Bathing: Helps control shedding, dirt, and early detection of infestations.
  • Trimming: Safely trim excess fur in problem areas while leaving the protective coat intact.

When Shaving Might Be Necessary

  • Severe Matting: If brushing and professional detangling can’t fix matted fur, shaving may be the only option.
  • Medical Conditions: Sometimes shaving is required for skin treatments or procedures. Always consult your vet first.

How to Shave Your Dog (If Absolutely Necessary)

  1. Right Tools: Use dog-specific clippers with appropriate blade lengths.
  2. Prep Your Dog: Brush out tangles and bathe to soften the coat.
  3. Calm Environment: Minimize distractions for safety and focus.
  4. Dry Completely: Wet hair clogs clippers and can hurt your dog.
  5. Keep Dog Steady: Use a helper or a leash to prevent wiggling.
  6. With the Grain: Shave in the direction of hair growth.
  7. Leave Some Fur: Maintain at least an inch of coat for protection.
  8. Sensitive Areas First: Paws, tail, armpits can make your dog flinch.
  9. Be Extra Careful: Go slow around thin-skinned areas like the groin.
  10. Know Your Limits: If unsure or your dog is too difficult, stop and consult a professional groomer.

Key Takeaways

  • Shaving a dog should be a last resort, only done when absolutely necessary and with extreme caution.
  • Alternatives like regular brushing, grooming, and bathing are much safer for your dog’s health and comfort.
  • If any skin redness, irritation, or behavioral changes occur after shaving, consult your veterinarian.

What is the Difference between Single and Double Coated Dogs?

Since the shaving practice does not modify the structure of their fur, single-coated canines can be trimmed frequently.

The hair on a single-coated dog will continue to grow indefinitely, but the hair on a double-coated dog will expand up to a specific point and then stop when you shave away a double-coated dog’s hair, the smoothness changes.

When the shield hairs are shaved, they might become rough, allowing bristles and sticks to attach to them.

Your dog may develop painful knots and itchy skin or hot spots as a result of the shaving procedure. Please keep in mind that shampooing a matted dog may cause the mats to harden much more, leaving your dog much more miserable.

Why Should You Avoid Shaving Your Dog?

Shaving your dog may seem like an obvious solution to minimise shedding and help cool your pet’s body in the heat. However, the only problem is that dog coats serve a different purpose, and dogs do not cool down as humans do.

Protects from the Sun

Shaving off dog coats is a recipe for skin issues. Your dog’s body has been created to adapt to weather conditions accordingly and does not require your assistance.

Depending on your dog’s breed, the multiple layers/ single layer of hair block out the heat in summers. It prevents sunburn and skin cancer by blocking out harmful UV rays emitted by the Sun.

Prevents Insect Bites

The hair on dogs’ bodies acts as a barrier that protects them from getting bitten by insects. A wide range of health issues and irritation to your pet can be avoided by letting its fur be as is.

Functions as an Insulator

Dog hair acts as an insulator by trapping air between the layer of hair and the skin underneath to keep dogs warm in winters and cool in summers.

Prevents Follicle Damage

Improper techniques while shaving dogs can cause damage to the hair follicles, causing inflammation and irritation, which can further progress into bacterial infections, itching, and a wide range of skin conditions.

Avoids Ingrown Hair

Shaving off dog hair would mean going exceptionally close to its skin to get rid of the entire length of hair. This can cause ingrown hair when done improperly, which further causes inflammation and itchiness in dogs.

What are Alternatives to Shaving?

Suppose you aim to solve problems such as excessive heating, shedding, prevention of infestations, and keeping your dog in a good physical state. In that case, the following alternatives are better options as compared to shaving.


Dog skin is susceptible, and its layers of hair may not be the best barrier to the Sun’s UV rays, especially in areas with little to no hair like its nose.

If you’re trying to protect it from the Sun, you can use a zinc-free sunscreen specifically for dogs. Ensure that you use any artificially produced product on your dog only after checking with your vet.

Regular Grooming

Visiting a professional groomer at regular intervals will ensure that your dog is always in its best condition and has minimal shedding.

Brushing the Dog at Home

By brushing dogs, tangled hair can be straightened, and loose hair can be removed before it floats onto floors and eventually sticks to everything in the house.

It also helps improve air circulation in its coat and maintain its appearance.

Make Bathing a Habit

Dogs usually dislike water, and getting them to take a bath is a difficult task, but it has various benefits. It makes your dog appear clean at all times and gets rid of any dandruff and dirt, but it also helps detect any infestation of mites, etc., to tackle the issue at the earliest.

Trim off the Excess

Keeping the parts of dogs’ bodies where there is excess hair is better than shaving. This can be used in areas like the back of the hind legs, stomach and paws. The hair should be trimmed down to no less than an inch over the layer of skin underneath.

How to Shave a Dog?

If shaving your dog still seems to be the answer to an issue you are facing, this is a simple guide to shaving your pet without causing any discomfort.

Step 1: Check Your Tools

Make sure you check your equipment before starting. Your clippers should be clean and sharp to allow precise working.

Do not use tools meant for humans on dogs. For example, trimmers meant for humans have short blades that can easily nick your dog’s skin, and it isn’t easy to work with them.

Step 2: Brush Through its Hair

Brush through its hair to eliminate tangles and dirt and prevent its coat from matting. This will ensure that the process is as less painless as possible and your clippers do not jam.

Before bathing, brushing your dog prior will also ensure that most of the dirt is removed.

Step 3: Follow Up with a Bath

Bathing your dog will loosen up any tangles and get any remaining dirt and dandruff that has accumulated out of its hair and soften the hair.

Natural oils can also be temporarily minimised through bathing, which will make the process easier. Use a good quality shampoo and check its ingredients before use.

Step 4: Find a Distraction-Free Zone

Choose a location in your house where there are minimal distractions. This is to ensure that you are focused on the task at hand and your dog stays in position without moving around and making the task even more challenging to handle.

Also, check that your clippers are as quiet as they can get so that they do not scare off your dog and distress it.

Step 5: Dry off its Coat

Before you get started on the actual process, it is essential to dry off your dog. Wet hair will get stuck in your clippers and cause pain to your dog. Now you are ready to start shaving it.

Step 6: Keep Your Dog Still in One Position

The most important part of the process is that keeping your dog steady in one place without squirming around is required to prevent accidents. You may need assistance holding your dog regularly, or you can use a leash for the same.

Step 7: Shave Along the Hair Direction

Similar to shaving human hair, work in the direction of the hair slowly. The hair may grow in different directions in different parts, so ensure you move slowly to follow the natural growth direction. Going against the grain will cause ingrown hairs and inflammation.

Step 8: Leave One Inch of the Fur Coat

Keep the coat at least an inch long across the body to prevent the risk of sunburn, pest infestation, etc.

Make sure you take breaks in between to check your dog’s comfort and assess your progress. Your clippers also need to remain calm. Using lubricant during holidays can help in keeping it cool.

Step 9: Start with Sensitive Regions

Finishing the short areas where your dog is likely to squirm is best done first. Work on the underarms, paws, tail and the back of the head first.

Large areas like the belly and the sides can be tackled later. Although this method differs from how a professional groomer works, it can make the task easy for a beginner.

Step 10: Be Extremely Careful at the Rear

The hair near the groin is extremely thin and can be removed entirely if you are not careful. It will also cause extreme pain to your dog if the clippers touch the skin. The same applies to the tail, underarms, and the back of its legs.

Pay extra attention when you are working on areas that are not fully visible and require you to lift another part to work on it.

Pause at Any Point if You are Not Sure

Although this article states how to shave a dog in 10 easy steps, follow your instincts if you sense that something isn’t going as it should or if your dog is too difficult to handle. Visit a professional groomer at the earliest to take up the rest of the task.

Aapt Dubey
Aapt Dubey

Aapt Dubey, a devoted canine enthusiast and experienced dog Owner, brings boundless passion to our team. With a heart full of love for our four-legged friends, Aapt is dedicated to sharing insights on dog care, behavior, and training to make every pup's life happier and healthier at

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