The 10 Best Animal Clippers
What’s So Different About Animal Clippers?
One question many people have when they think about grooming and clipping a pet is: Why can’t I just use human clippers? After all, it’s likely that you have these lying around the house already. Why invest more money and effort into buying an item that seems so similar?
You don’t want to use human hair clippers on an animal because, although they resemble each other, these items are not designed to function in the same way, similar to how M&M's and Skittles are both round and colorful but taste nothing alike. And when you think about it, this difference makes sense. Animal fur and human hair are dissimilar, and pets and humans usually don’t behave the same when they have a trim. Separate tools, then, get these jobs done better. Let’s consider a few of the specific differences.
First, animal fur tends to be thicker than human hair, and it is made of several types and lengths, often all on the same animal. Animal clipper blades are specifically made to handle these types of hairs while giving a desired look. For example, fine-tooth blades work well for finishing soft, fine coats, while skip-tooth blades are for animals with thick or matted fur. It’s not unusual to need more than one blade length or type on one animal, either.
Second, animal clippers must be quieter than human clippers so as not to alarm or annoy the dog, cat, horse, etc. A person understands that he only has to sit still and listen to the noise for a relatively short amount of time, but your dog probably doesn’t quite grasp the concept. This is why manufacturers often include information about the loudness of the clippers, usually measured in decibels.
Third, because it’s likely that clippers are near an animal’s skin for a fairly long amount of time, these clippers have features that prevent them from becoming uncomfortably hot. Some have ceramic blades that resist heat, for instance, while others have heat-dissipating designs. You’ll be able to cut for longer without burning the animal, which is especially helpful when working with one that’s particularly sensitive.
Finally, a high-quality set of animal clippers has a powerful motor that helps the machine get through even the thickest of fur. To make grooming easier, the body of the device will stand up to extended use, with ergonomic styling as well as baffles to quiet the motor and reduce vibration. Not only does this make a long grooming session more comfortable for the animal, but it also reduces the strain on the user’s hand as well.
Making The Cut
At-home pet grooming can be intimidating. The last thing you want is a fired-up Fido zooming around the house with a half-clipped coat, spreading fur everywhere. You can avoid situations like this by following a few smart strategies that make the entire process run more smoothly. They’ll also help keep you from accidentally cutting your beloved companion.
Before you begin, check the quality of the blade or blades. Run them over a small patch of the animal’s fur or a section of fake-fur fabric. If they snag and don’t cut, they’re too dull. Make sure they’ve been oiled, too. And if you’re using rechargeable clippers, check for a fully charged battery. Perhaps these are simple and obvious acts, but they can truly make the difference between a pleasant cut and a nightmare.
If you’re grooming your pet for the first time, don’t rush. Let the animal see the clippers and hear the noise, then begin to cut one part of the body slowly. Start at the back of the animal, not the head, and stop if the animal becomes too agitated. You want to teach it that grooming is a pleasant experience, not one full of fighting and struggle. It could take a while to build up the animal’s patience and tolerance, but with plenty of positive reinforcement, the experience should become one that is completely routine.
As you work on the animal’s coat, don’t try to clip too quickly. Use steady motions and clip with the coat, not against it, for the smoothest look. Check the blade for heat regularly; if it’s getting too hot, change the blade or spray it with clipper coolant.
If you’re having trouble, ask your vet or groomer for a few tips. They can explain more about the particular breed you’re working with, including the type of fur it has and the way this is usually cut. You might even ask a groomer to give you a demonstration or lesson (but be prepared to pay for his or her time and expertise).
Moving Beyond Clippers
Grooming an animal involves more than a haircut; it’s a great time to check the cleanliness and overall health of your pet. First and foremost, this means bath time. For most animals, you’ll want to bathe and dry them before you move on to the clippers. If you have a dog or cat with extremely matted or thick fur, however, you may want to give it a rough cut first, then proceed to bathing. Be careful not to wash the animal too often, as this can strip important oils out of his coat.
You’ll also want to clip the animal’s nails and brush its teeth. Overly long nails are uncomfortable for animals, as are cavities, so when you grab your animal clippers, go ahead and grab the nail grinder and toothbrush, too. As with cutting an animal’s coat, trimming the nails can be daunting, so go slowly at first. Keep some styptic, an antihemorrhagic agent, on hand, too.
And if you’re ready for some fun after all this hard work, don’t be afraid to get a little creative. Try a fancy cut, tie a kerchief around the animal’s neck, or paint its nails (using non-toxic animal nail polish, of course). Just as getting out the animal clippers can be a stress-free experience for the animal, it can be one that’s fun and fulfilling for you.