If you want to trim your dog’s hair, you need to get a dog clipper. But just getting a clipper is not enough to do it perfectly. You also need to make sure the blade in the clipper is sharp enough to cut through the coat smoothly. But if you have been using the clipper for a while, there is a good chance that it does not cut as well as before.
What gives? Do you just throw away the clipper now? Or did the blade just get dull? Let’s look at the answers here!
Dog clippers are an essential tool for any pet owner. Sure, you can take your dog to a nearby groomer, and he can trim your dog’s hair for you. But if you have owned a dog for a while, you already know how fast his fur can grow. Taking him to a groomer every time he needs a trim is not exactly easy on the wallet.
Do Dog Clippers Get Dull?
With a decent dog clipper from brands like Andis or Wahl, you can trim your dog’s hair at your own home at your own leisure. Sure, it takes a few tries, but once you get the hang of it, it is really not all that difficult.
If you have been cutting your dog’s hair for some time using a dog clipper, you may have noticed that the clipper is not cutting as smoothly as before. Now there might be a lot of reasons behind it. But about 8 out of 10 times, the culprit here is a dull blade. So, yes, dog clippers can get dull.
While a high-end dog clipper is pretty durable, the blade can get dull pretty fast. And when that happens, you either fix it or throw it away. Never use a dull blade to cut your dog’s hair.
In this article, I will talk about how you can identify a dull blade in your dog clipper and things you can do to fix it so that you can give your dog a proper haircut every time.
How Do I Know If My Dog Clipper Blades are Dull?
Identifying when you need to replace or resharpen your dog clipper’s blade is essential if you do not want to hurt your dog. Typically, a good set of dog clippers lasts at least a year or two. However, the blades start getting dull after a couple of weeks if you use them frequently.
Unfortunately, to the untrained eye, noticing a dull clipper blade is easier said than done since even a dull clipper blade can cut your dog’s hair, albeit slowly and less perfectly.
So here are two simple ways to understand if your dog clipper’s blades are blunt.
1. Frequent Overheating
It is natural for a dog clipper to overheat when you have been trimming for a while. In fact, a dog groomer needs to stop a couple of times in each trimming session to allow the dog clipper to cool off before he can continue. That is why it is always wise to keep some coolant spray nearby.
However, if the blades are dull, the motor of the clipper needs to work harder to cut through the fur. This can lead to overheating a lot faster than normal. So if you notice that your dog clipper is getting hot a lot sooner than before, then there is a good chance that the blades have gone dull.
2. Chewing on the Fur
Another easy way to notice if the blades are dull is to see whether the clipper is trimming clean through the fur or instead chewing on it. A sharp clipper blade will usually trim through the dog’s hair without your dog even noticing it. However, a dull blade will simply snag on the hair and will have a hard time cutting through it.
Using a blade in this condition is not only inefficient, but it can also hurt your dog. If you notice any chewing or tugging on the fur, I recommend stopping right away. Sometimes, the blades are just clogged, and you can simply brush off any residual hair to fix it. But other times, dull blades are the culprit here.
What Should I Do If My Dog Clippers Get Dull?
Trimming your dog’s hair with a dull-blade dog clipper is never ideal. You will not be able to cut smoothly, and you also risk hurting your dog in the process. So if the blades in your dog clipper get dull, you have two options; replace the blade or resharpen it.
If the blade is missing a few teeth, then you have no other option but to throw it away. There is no way back from there. But, if your only problem is the blade going dull, then you can sharpen it and extend its lifespan by a decent bit.
Here are the steps to sharpening your dull clipper blades.
Step 1 – Disassemble the Blades
Before you can sharpen the blades, you need to take them out of the dog clipper. And to do that, first, unplug your clipper and make sure it is completely cool. The disassembly process for the blades can vary depending on the dog clipper. But in most cases, it would either be screwed on to the clipper or snapped on with a latch.
If your dog clipper comes with a Snap-On design, simply pop open the latch and gently tug on the blade. It should come off right away. For the screwed-on design, you need to locate and unscrew the two screws located at the base of the blade. Then, put the screws in a safe spot for later.
Step 2 – Use a Cleaning Brush
Use a soft-bristled cleaning brush to rub off any dirt or residual hair on the clipper’s blade. If you don’t have a clipper brush, you can also use an old toothbrush to the same effect.
Step 3 – Use a Cleaning Solution
If your blade is rusted, using a brush on it will not remove the rust. Instead, you need to spray a bit of cleaning solution or rust remover and let it rest for a while. Once you notice the rust start to come off, gently wipe away the solution using a dry paper towel.
Alternatively, you can dip the blade in a bowl of cleaning solution for around 5 to 10 minutes to completely remove the rust. Make sure the blade is fully dry before you move on to the next step.
Step 4 – Gather Your Sharpening Tools
To properly sharpen your dog clipper’s blade, you need two different whetstones of different grit; a 4000-grit stone and an 8000-grit one. These should be readily available in most local hardware stores. If you are having trouble finding one, you can always check online stores.
If your dog clipper comes with ceramic blades, then you need to go with diamond whetstones. Normal surface whetstones will not work effectively at sharpening these blades.
Step 5 – Soak the Stone
Before you can grind the blade on the whetstone, you need to get it wet. Typically, you can spray a bit of water on the surface to get it wet. However, if the stone absorbs the water, then you should put it in a bowl filled with water and let it soak for about 5 to 10 minutes.
What you are looking for is a thin shine on the surface of the stone. If you get it after a couple of sprays, you can start the sharpening process.
Step 6 – Rub the Blade on the Stones
To sharpen the blade, you need to grind it against the whetstone, but if you are not doing it right, you can damage the blade further. In fact, if you are holding the blade at a weird angle while grinding it, it might even ruin the cutting angle of the blade.
Typically, the blade should rest at a 30 to 45 degree angle against the whetstone. You want to hold the blade firmly between your thumb and index finger. Start with the 4000 grit whetstone and move the blade forward. You want to keep moving the blade in one direction only.
After about 5 to 10 passes, turn the blade over to the other side and repeat the process. Then wipe the powder off with a soft cloth and repeat the entire process with the 8000 grit whetstone.
Step 7 – Test, Rinse and Repeat
Once you are done with the sharpening, test out the sharpness of the blade. If it still feels dull, you can simply make a few more passes with both of the stones until you are satisfied. Then thoroughly wipe down the blade using a dry cloth.
You also need to reassemble the clipper and put the blade back in its place. The process is pretty straightforward, so I will not bore you with the details. Remember to apply a bit of lubricating oil before you use it.
How to Prevent Dog Clippers from Getting Dull?
Now that you understand how you can resharpen a dog clipper blade, let’s talk about how you can prevent it from getting dull in the first place. While you cannot prevent it from ever getting dull, there are a few tricks you can follow to delay the inevitable.
Most pet groomers already know and apply these tricks to make sure they get as much use out of a single set of blades as possible. So here are a few tips to make sure your clipper blades last a good while.
1. Bathe Before You Clip
Dog coat can pick up a lot of dirt, dust, or sand particles, and trying to clip it under that condition can dull out your blades much faster than normal. Even if the coat feels clean, it is generally a good practice to wash your dog thoroughly to get rid of any unseen dirt or mud before you decide to trim his hair.
To make matters worse, some dogs come with matted or knotted fur that is notorious for trapping dirt under it. And you can’t even see the dirt at first glance. So, if you want to avoid resharpening your blade right away, I would recommend giving your dog a proper wash before taking out your dog clippers.
2. Drying is Essential
I know I just said you must bathe your dog before trimming his hair, but that does not mean you should clip his coat when he is all wet. Clipping a wet coat is another quick way to dull out your new dog clipper blades. So always make sure you dry his hair first before you get started with the trimming process.
To dry your dog’s hair, use a pet-friendly dryer. These devices work first and also do not spook your dog. After drying his coat, make sure you brush it using a soft-bristle hair brush to untangle any knots. This can, in turn, speed up the rest of the trimming process and also extend the lifetime of your blade.
3. Do not Clip Knotted Coats
Some dog breeds naturally have knotted or tangled coats. And if you do not know what you are doing, then clipping these dogs can be a total nightmare. Before you trim a god with a knotted coat, you need to untangle most of the knots using a blade with a built-in comb attachment.
Clipping a knotted coat dog breed can be quite difficult, but there are some ways to make things easier on your part. You should start off with a shampoo bath and apply a generous amount of conditioner to soften up the fur. Then use a detangler spray and a comb to brush thoroughly in a straight line.
Over time, most of the knots should come loose. Then, you can use a de-shedder to thin the undercoat. Some people apply a bit of de-shedder to a specific position and trim that portion first. However, if you can remove all the knots, you should be able to trim all the hairs without any issues.
Needless to say, trimming a knotted coat takes a lot more time than a regular coat. The best advice I can give here is to take things slow and easy. If you take your time, you can remove the knots and trim through the hair without dulling out your clipper blades.
4. Use the Right Blade for the Job
Personally, I think removing the knots at first is the best thing to do if you are trimming a knotted coat dog. However, sometimes your dog might not cooperate, or the knot can be extremely finicky to eliminate. In that situation, you have to work through the knot and clip it off.
As you might already know, dog clipper blades come in different sizes. And knowing which size to use for a knotted fur is essential if you want your blade to last. For example, you can use a number 7FC blade to remove mats that are 3mm away from the skin.
However, for fur that is close to the skin, you need to use a number 10 blade which, again, cannot go under the matting. If things get too complicated, you can always take your dog to a professional groomer. And while you are at it, you can even ask for his suggestion on the proper blade size for your dog’s coat.
5. Do Not Forget the Blade Oil
You would be surprised how big of a difference just a bit of blade oil can make in extending its lifespan. That is why I always recommend applying a bit of oil on the blade before you clip with it.
And if your blade overheats, as it would after a few minutes of cutting, let it cool off, then apply a little more blade oil before restarting the trim. You can use some coolant spray to cool down the blade faster.
A lot of the time, even if the blade is sharpened, the clipper would chew on the dog’s hair instead of cutting it. Applying some oil to the blade is the easiest way to fix this.
The Bottom Line
Keeping the blades in your dog clipper sharp is essential if you want to have a good experience cutting your dog’s hair. Trying to trim your dog’s hair with a dull clipper blade is not efficient at all. It takes a lot of time, the cut might be uneven, and you might even hurt your dog.
The best advice I can give you is to always check for the sharpness of the blade before you start trimming. And if the blades require sharpening, it is best to postpone cutting your dog hair. Making sure that the blade is sharp takes priority over trimming the coat.
Hopefully, my article could equip you with all the information you would need when you are dealing with a dull set of blades in your dog clippers. Good luck!