How to Shave a Dog Safely

To shave your dog might be problematic, especially if you have never done it before, so you may want to know how to shave your pet when needed.

Shaving is not a complicated procedure if you have a suitable blade or a good shaver. You could even take your dog to a professional groomer and see how it's done for the first time. Shaving your dog is highly recommended in some cases, but there are breeds for which shaving causes more harm than good.

Reasons to Shave a Dog

There are several reasons why owners choose to shave their dogs:

  • Matted coat
  • The dog cannot be combed properly due to old age or other reasons
  • The dog swims a lot
  • To spot parasites (fleas, ticks) easier and remove them faster
  • To prevent shedding
  • Smelly coat
  • A skin condition that needs treatment, and the coat will only worsen the situation
  • Hot summer weather

How to Shave a Dog Safely

The first thing you have to do when you decide to shave your dog is to make sure you have a good quality dog shaver. Shavers designed for humans are not recommended, since they overheat very fast and might pull the dog's hair.

Have your dog stand still for the time you shave him, to prevent accidents. It is recommended to put your dog on a table for the procedure and hold him by his collar. Try to prevent him from jumping off the table. You can also ask someone to assist you with the procedure if you think you cannot manage on your own.

When everything is set, you can start shaving your dog. Remember to check the shaver from time to time for overheating, since this can hurt your pet.

Steps to Follow When Shaving a Dog

When shaving your dog, it's best that you follow this order:

  • Head
  • Underarms
  • Under-tail area
  • Behind the head
  • Down the back
  • The sides
  • Belly

However, you may have to shave your dog only in one area. When shaving your dog's face, be careful around the eyes and ears. Shave the area only if your dog stays still. Do not get closer than 1 inch from the eyes. For the face, underarm and the area beneath the tail you can use a #10 blade. For the rest of the body, you can switch to a longer blade. It is best to hold the shaver flat against the body to prevent cutting his skin.

Warnings When Shaving Your Dog

There are breeds in which shaving can cause irreversible changes in hair. Northern breeds fall under this category: Siberian husky, Samoyed, German shepherd. In Shetland sheep dogs, for instance, the hair grows extremely slow.

If your dog's skin is no longer protected by the coat, he can get a sunburn and even develop skin cancer, so you should consider sun protection.