Grooming your furry friend is an essential part of their care routine, but it’s crucial to do it safely to avoid any discomfort or harm to your pet. Though it doesn’t happen frequently, one issue that could occur during grooming is clipper burns.
Clipper burns, also called clipper rash or razor burns, are skin irritations caused by excessive friction and heat generated by clippers during grooming. They can vary from mild redness and discomfort to severe burns that may need medical attention.
In this article, we’ll delve into the causes and treatments for clipper burns on dogs, and most importantly, provide you with valuable tips on how to prevent them while grooming your beloved canine companion.
Disclaimer: The content in this article provides general information that should not be used as a substitute for professional advice from a vet. For an accurate diagnosis of your dog’s health condition, please consult a vet.
How to Spot Clipper Burns on Dogs
It’s important to note that clipper burns may not be visible immediately – it can take a few hours to a day to become noticeable. Be sure to monitor your dog closely after grooming for any signs of discomfort, whether physical or behavioral.
With clipper burns, you may see pink or reddened skin. In more severe cases, you may notice tiny raised bumps and even scratches or fine lines. Clippers burns are often found in sensitive spots such as the groin or stomach.
Your furry pal may excessively scratch or lick the affected area. If the irritation is on their rear end, you may also spot them “scooting” on your carpet!
If your dog is “scooting,” you’ll notice him dragging his bottom along the floor.
Common Causes of Clipper Burns on Dogs
Clipper burns or rashes are more common in dogs with sensitive skin or thick coats, but any dog can experience them if grooming tools are not used properly.
Dull and Dirty Clippers
Clipper rash is most commonly caused by a dull blade. When the blade isn’t sharp enough, it pulls and drags the fur while grooming, which results in the inflammation and irritation of your dog’s skin.
Aside from that, clippers that aren’t cleaned properly can gather dirt, debris, and loose fur. This can lead to uneven cutting and further skin irritation.
An overheated clipper can also be the reason for your dog’s clipper rash. This problem is common when grooming large dogs due to the extended time required to complete their coat.
Too Much Pressure
Applying too much pressure on the clippers can irritate your dog’s skin, especially if the blades are dull or hot. This is a common issue for first-time owners who may not know which clippers and blade size to use for home grooming.
Heavily Matted Fur
Heavily matted fur presents a unique challenge during grooming as it often demands a closer shave and more pulling to effectively remove the tangles. This tighter cut increases the risk of clipper burns on your dog’s sensitive skin.
Additionally, the extra effort needed to tackle mats can cause clippers to generate more heat and friction, which may lead to skin irritation or discomfort for your pet.
It’s important to note that not all clipper burns are a result of your groomer’s tools or poor techniques. If your dog has a history of skin inflammation, their skin is likely to be more sensitive.
Furthermore, certain skin allergies can lead to thinner or more delicate skin in affected areas. Therefore, even with the appropriate grooming techniques, clippers can still hurt such fragile skin!
How to Treat Clipper Burns on Dogs
Clipper burns are rarely serious and should clear up in a few days. You can try these home remedies to relieve your pup’s discomfort.
Inspect the affected area thoroughly before trying these home remedies. If the wound appears to be open, or if there is any blood discharge, take your dog to the veterinarian immediately.
Step 1: Clean the Area
Use cool water and dog shampoo to remove any dirt. Be gentle and avoid rubbing the raw area excessively. Then, pat the area dry. Avoid using heat from a blow dryer on a clipper burn as this will further irritate the skin.
Keep the affected area dry at all times to speed up the healing process. Moisture or dampness can lead to infection.
Step 2: Soothe the Burns
After drying your dog’s coat, apply aloe vera gel directly to soothe the inflammation. Aloe vera possesses antiseptic properties that effectively neutralize infections, killing any bacteria and fungi present on your dog’s skin.
You may also choose to apply a thin layer of coconut oil to the affected area. Its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties will soothe the skin and promote healing. Plus, it’ll keep your dog’s coat looking shiny and healthy!
Be sure to call your vet before using any topical creams or products on your dog. Also, avoid using topical creams with painkillers as they can cause more irritation.
Step 3: Cover Up
Prevent your pup from licking, scratching, or rubbing the affected area by taking additional preventive measures.
- Get an Elizabethan collar (pet cone)
Consider getting an Elizabethan collar, commonly referred to as a plastic cone. This medical device is made of clear, rigid plastic and is designed to keep your pet from licking, biting or scratching the affected area.
However, some dogs may feel uncomfortable with the plastic cone and may have difficulty getting used to it. As an alternative, you can get a soft dog collar that won’t irritate or get in the way of your fur baby’s lifestyle. You can find many soft collar options that won’t cause discomfort, so there’s no need for them to wear a plastic cone of shame!
- Get a light shirt or sweater
Instead of a pet cone, you can also use a t-shirt to prevent your pet from scratching the inflamed area. Be sure to buy those that are light and breathable; otherwise, you might trap moisture and cause an infection.
How to Prevent Clipper Burns on Dogs
Now that you understand the causes of clipper burns on dogs and how to treat them, let’s explore some tips to help you prevent clipper burns and ensure a safe and comfortable grooming experience for your furry friend.
Preventing Clipper Burns at Home
- Choose the right clippers
Invest in high-quality clippers specifically designed for your dog’s coat type and size. Always begin with a longer blade, even if you want a shorter cut in the end. This will help you assess if your dog has sensitive skin and allow room for error as you learn the right amount of pressure to apply.
Aside from that, you should also regularly sharpen the blades or replace them when necessary to prevent tugging on the skin!
- Apply lubricant
To prevent your clippers from overheating, apply clipper oil or lubricant before and during grooming. This will decrease friction between the blades and your dog’s skin, ultimately lowering the chances of clipper burns.
- Take breaks
Take breaks during long grooming sessions at home to allow your dog’s skin and clippers to cool down. This will prevent overheating and reduce the risk of clipper burns.
Preventing Clippers Burns at a Grooming Salon
- Choose a reputable groomer
The first and most important step to ensuring your furry friend’s safety is to choose a reputable groomer. Look for a professional groomer with a good reputation for their grooming skills and care for dogs – you can also ask other dog owners for recommendations!
- Communicate with the groomer
Once you’ve chosen a grooming salon, talk to the groomers to learn about their practices and how they maintain their equipment. Let them know if you have any concerns about clipper burns and tell them about your dog’s skin condition and allergies.
You may also request a gentler approach when grooming sensitive areas like the belly, armpits and groin.
- Check on your dog after grooming
After every professional grooming session, check your dog’s skin for any signs of irritation or clipper burns. If you notice any problems, make sure to inform the groomer for future reference.
FAQs About Clipper Burns on Dogs
Clipper burns can affect any dog breed, but dogs with sensitive skin or dense coats may be more susceptible to it.
The healing time for clipper burns varies depending on how severe they are. Generally, clipper burns aren’t severe and take about 7 – 10 days to heal. Anything beyond a superficial burn would take a few weeks to heal.
Proper care and monitoring are essential for a speedy recovery – cleaning the wounds twice a day with a moist cloth would be the safest way to avoid further infection.
While it's challenging to prevent clipper burns completely, following proper grooming techniques can significantly reduce the risk of clipper burns. Always communicate with your groomer to ensure a safe and comfortable grooming experience for your furry pal.