How To Shave a Dog With Human Clippers

When I was a kid, I used to get “buzz cuts” all the time, at least that is what we called them. It is where you take a pair of trimming shears and cut the hair as short as possible without actually shaving the hair off.

It is an especially popular style among little kids around summertime because it is a much cooler, temperature-wise, hairstyle.

Anyway, I once saw a dog getting its fur cut with clippers and I said to my parents, “look the dog is getting a buzz cut just like me!” This leads me to the topic of today, shaving your dog with human clippers.


Quick Answer

Right off the bat, I will give you the answer you are looking for. Yes, in a pinch you can use human clippers to cut dog hair, but it should be avoided for the reasons outlined below.

Not All Hair is the Same

Just as people have different types of hair, dogs have different hair from one breed to the next. Dog hair is also different than a human hair.

Generally, dog hair is coarser and thicker than our own and they can have different layers as well. Hair that is closer to the skin tends to be shorter and softer whereas the longer hair may closely resemble their whiskers.

Not All Clippers are the Same

At first glance, human clippers and dog clippers look almost identical, but they are not. If you did not know this do not feel bad because I cut my hair all the time with clippers and I have a hard time spotting the differences.

Probably the most important difference between the two is the distance between the cutting blades. The blades on human clippers are narrower than those on dog clippers.

Because dog hair is thicker, this is an important feature. If you use human clippers on a dog, especially close to the skin, you run the risk of clogging the shears.

This can cause you to tug and pull on the shears which will results in an uncomfortable and potentially painful experience for the dog.

The blades on dog clippers also tend to be much sharper than human clippers which helps them to cut smoothly through hair that is thicker and coarser than our own.

Lastly, some dog clippers can be more powerful and quieter. This gives them the ability to cut through dog hair easier while at the same time not producing as much noise. The sound of a buzzing motor could be unsettling to your dog, so the quieter it is, the better!

When it is Okay to Use Human Clippers

Because of the above reasons, using human clippers to shave a dog is generally not a good idea.

However, you could probably get away with using human clippers for superficial hair trimming along the tail or any other area that only needs tidying up.

Human clippers should work okay for small tasks like this because you are cutting hair on top of the fur rather than overloading the clippers by cutting into the fur.

Cutting Your Dogs Hair

First things first. Shaving your dog down to the skin is usually not a good idea because it can cause problems, such as leaving them unprotected from sunlight. Completely shaving a dog should only be done in certain circumstances.

If you are inexperienced with dog grooming, it is always best to check with your veterinarian and local groomer on how to deal with your breed’s hair.

But if you have to shave their hair, start by choosing the appropriate blade size for your dog’s hair.

Next, begin cutting the hair up around the neck and work your way towards their rear end with short, controlled strokes that are a few inches long. In between each cutting stroke be sure to pull away clumps of hair so that they do not clog up the cutting shears.

Take extra care around sensitive areas such as around the belly, tails, and rear end.

Afterward, brush any loose hairs off, and be sure to give them a treat for being a good dog!

Written by Brian Rucker

Brian Rucker has been a dog lover since childhood. He has had his Lab Mix with Hound for over 10+ years now! They enjoy playing outdoors together. Brian loves sharing his knowledge about all things dog on this website. Read more of Brian's articles.