Can you use human clippers on your dog? If you’ve ever been thinking about this question, check out this updated 2022 guide on the topic.
There may be several reasons why someone is thinking about using a human clipper on his dog.
Many people have a human hair clipper at home, so this solution may seem obvious. This way, you can save time and money without having to spend on expensive professional grooming or dog clippers.
Well, that’s not entirely true.
Using human clippers on dogs is not recommended as it may quickly increase the risk of injury and irritation. The motors of human clippers and the quality of the blades are unsuitable for cutting the hair of double-coat dogs.
However, for some coat types, human tools can be used, and this will be discussed in my article, among other things.
I have had a lot of dogs in my life so I will help you with my many years of experience.
In my article, you can learn in detail about the differences between dog and human fur and what features you should pay attention to when choosing a dog clipper.
Are there any differences between dog hair and human hair?
The very first dog of my life was a Westie. Even though I was a kid, I was already wondering if we could solve Lilly’s (that was her name) grooming at home.
My parents eventually opted for a professional groomer, but I had the opportunity to talk to an expert about the topic.
To better understand why we need to be careful if we want to use our own clippers on canines, we need to know the difference between human and dog hair.
Overall, dogs have thicker hair and usually cover their entire body. In contrast, human hair is thinner and is located in a very negligible part of the body.
In addition, we can talk about several types of coat in dogs, single coat and double coat.
Single coat vs human hair
Dogs without an undercoat are called single coat breeds. These canines only have an outer coat that resembles human hair in thickness and texture.
Therefore, regular human hair clippers can work on single coat breeds, but keep in mind the thickness can vary from dog to dog.
It’s not easy to tell if your dog’s hair is thicker than yours, so get a pet grooming clipper if you want to be sure.
Otherwise, there are several single-coated breeds such as Poodles, Dalmatians, Greyhounds, Whippets, Yorkshire Terriers, Afghan Hounds, and Shih Tzus.
If you do not know exactly which category your pup falls into, ask your veterinarian or a professional groomer.
Double coat vs human hair
The double-coat consists of the outer coarse guard hairs and the softer but thicker undercoat below. Both layers have a specific role.
The outer primary coat protects the dog from minor injuries, sunlight, dust and has a water-repellent effect.
The undercoat, on the other hand, is an excellent insulator. This means it is suitable for dogs in both winter and summer.
You should know that human hair is much thinner than an undercoat. So if you have a breed like this (Siberian Husky, Chow Chow, Pomeranian, etc.), it is actually recommended that you get a dog clipper for thick coats.
Are there any differences between dog Clippers vs human Clippers?
Human and dog clippers look very similar at first glance. However, if we look at the features, we can see notable differences between the two versions.
The motor power
Manufacturers design the motors of pet clippers to be lighter and quieter and somewhat gentler than human clippers. The results are lower noise levels and vibrations, which is beneficial for dogs with sensitive hearing.
Because the lighter motor consumes less power, rechargeable dog clippers run longer on a single charge than the human versions. Long run times are beneficial as canines’ grooming sessions last a pretty long time.
For human clippers, a long time would cause a lot of overheating. But you have much less to worry about this phenomenon thanks to the lighter engine in pet clippers.
Dog hair (especially double coat) is thicker than a human hair. Therefore, a higher speed (strokes per minute or SPM) is required to cut it.
Many dog clippers have multi-speed levels. This means you can choose between lower and higher SPMs. Lower levels are good for more sensitive parts (e.g., face or abdomen).
You may want to select a clipper for your dog with at least two-speed levels. This will give you a versatile grooming tool.
Corded, and rechargeable versions
Many people prefer cordless dog clippers because these tools give owners portability and mobility when grooming.
I find that although there are plenty of corded and cordless clippers on the market, manufacturers pay more attention to the battery life of cordless dog clippers because, as I mentioned, dog grooming tasks last longer than humans.
For corded dog clippers, the cords are longer. This length allows you to reach all parts of your pup while grooming.
You can snap the attachment grooming combs onto the clipper, so additional sizes are available in addition to the blade size. Such combs are also available for dog clippers and human clippers. But pet variants are usually designed to achieve longer cut lengths.
One of the most critical differences between dog and human clippers lies in the blades used. Basically, dog clippers have more space between their blades than human clippers. This is because human hair is thinner than dog hair.
But two types of dog clipper blades are worth mentioning:
- Skip-tooth blades: There are larger-than-average gaps between the teeth of skip-tooth blades. These slots allow you to feed any type of coat into the blade. This feature comes in handy if your dog has a thick double coat or possibly matted fur. If you want to get rid of a large amount of hair at once, skip-tooth blades are the best choice. The skip-tooth is not specifically marked when numbering the blades.
- Fine-tooth blades: The gap between the teeth of the fine-tooth blades is smaller, which guarantees a smoother finish during trimming. For the marking, look for the letter F next to the numbers (for example, #7F). Keep in mind that these blades aren’t really usable for thick problematic coats.
- Blade size: The blade size is often given in millimeters or inches in human clippers. In contrast, for dog clipper blades, manufacturers use a numbering system. The smaller the number, the greater the cut length achieved with that particular blade. Check out my detailed guide on the different dog clipper blade size charts.
So are there any risks in using human clippers on a dog?
There is no clear answer to this question, as you can see above. The most important considerations are your dog’s coat type, the current condition of his coat, temperament, and the quality of the clipper you want to use.
In some cases, using human grooming tools on canines is acceptable:
It can be okay: The single coat breeds’ fur is not as thick, so better quality human clippers may be suitable for them.
Of course, you need to know exactly what your dog’s fur is. If the clipper pulled your dog’s fur while grooming in the past, you better forget human clippers.
It can also be a good idea to consult with your vet or groomer.
If your dog has just a short coat on it to use, you can still use your own hair clipper.
Small breeds can also be good candidates for human clippers because they usually have a lighter coat and the grooming session ends soon with them. This will prevent overheating.
(However, I suggest you buy a clipper for your small pup too).
And what happens if you use an unsuitable human clipper on your dog despite all this? You should be aware of the following risks:
- Due to differences in hair thickness, a human clipper cannot cut double coat breeds fur as efficiently. This results in sticking and pulling in the long run. In addition, clipper blades get dull faster, which causes additional pulls. Dogs ’skin is extremely sensitive, and irritations such as clipper burn can develop quickly due to the things mentioned above.
- Because human clippers are usually louder than pet versions, they can have a frightening effect on your dog. This increases stress and anxiety.
- In general, it is tough for dogs to fall in love with grooming. Various resentments and fears can be exacerbated by using the wrong clipper.
- Due to anxiety, your dog may make sudden movements that could cause further injury.
What about using human nail clippers on dogs?
The nails of dogs are much thicker than those of humans. These “claws” are challenging to cut and contain blood vessels.
These facts should warn us to be careful, so it is worth getting a suitable tool.
Dog nail clippers are designed to cut through thick nails effectively with maximum safety. However, make sure you choose a high-quality product that even has security mechanisms in place.
Many dogs (and owners) dread nail clipping. For them, dog nail grinders can be an excellent solution to take security to another level.
Puppies’ nails are much thinner and softer, so you can use your nail clippers on them if you’re routine.
How to choose the best dog clippers?
So you decided to get a dog clipper for home use? It’s a great decision, but the plethora of choices can confuse many.
There are many brands on the market with even more products, and you need to know exactly what to look for when choosing a professional clipper.
Below you can read about the most important considerations.
You should choose from the most popular brands as they have already proven that their products are high quality and reliable. One of the best brands is Andis, but I have to mention Wahl and Oster.
Manufacturers refer to the speed of a clipper in strokes per minute (SPM) or rotation per minute (RPM). In general, higher speeds also mean better performance.
There are also grooming clippers that have multiple speed levels. This gives the owner the option to switch to a lower level when trimming more delicate parts.
I suggest you choose a dog clipper with at least two-speed levels.
Blade type and material
If your dog has a thick fur coat, you should prefer skip-tooth blades. In order to achieve a more finished look, however, fine-tooth versions will be good choices.
Another important aspect related to blades is the material. Steel and ceramic are very durable and incredibly efficient at cutting any coat type. The potter stays cool longer but sooner gets dull.
Your dog’s breed, and coat type
Each breed has a different coat type, so it is vital to consider this factor when choosing a dog clipper.
A light fur coat may not require a high-performance tool. However, for thick coats, you may want to get a heavy-duty dog clipper.
Below you can read guides that review dog clippers for specific breeds:
Corded vs. Cordless
Cordless pet clippers give users freedom, portability, and mobility. You don’t have to deal with the socket or the cord that gets stuck in everything.
However, these tools are generally weaker than corded versions. Plus, you need to pay attention to the charge and the run time.
Professional groomers use corded clippers as they have more efficient and powerful motors.
Dogs’ ears are extremely sensitive, and fortunately, pet clipper manufacturers are aware of this. The engines of these products are generally quieter than the human versions. However, if your dog is overly anxious, you may want to choose one of the best quiet dog clippers.
Most high-quality professional dog clippers are not cheap. But don’t worry; you will get exactly what you pay for. You can find budget versions available from manufacturers at affordable prices for home grooming.
Tips for clipping your dog’s fur at home
So you decided to cut your dog’s fur at home with a dog clipper, and you chose the most suitable product? In this case, you should definitely use some tips for grooming at home:
- Bathe your dog first. The clipper cuts fresh, clean hair much better, and tangles and mats are easier to get rid of. Don’t forget to dry the fur. To do this, use a towel or hairdryer (but not the hottest setting).
- If you are using the clipper for the first time, give yourself and your dog time. The point is gradual steps. Introduce your new grooming tool to your pooch; let it smell it. Put the clipper on your body and legs, first off. Then turn on the clipper so your furry friend can get to know your voice as well. As the last step, try the tool on the less sensitive points. Such is the back body.
- Don’t forget the praise. Your dog needs to know that you are proud of him. You can confirm this with verbal praise, but you can bring the most delicate treats in such cases.
- Test to see if your clipper blades are sharp enough. To do this, try the clipper on a small area of your dog’s body. If you experience a jam or inefficient cut, you may need to sharpen the clipper blades.
- During clipping, move in the direction your dog’s fur is growing. With this simple trick, you can prevent too close shaving and various irritations and aesthetic flaws.
- You need to learn how to maintain your dog clippers and blades. This sometimes requires cleaning and oiling, allowing you to use your grooming tool for years.
Using hair clippers isn’t a big deal if you can practice a little. However, as you can see from my article, the difference between human clippers and dog clippers is significant.
The same is true between dog hair and human hair, so only use a human grooming tool on your dog in some instances. This may be an acceptable decision for single coat breeds, but I still encourage you to invest in a suitable dog clipper.
Whichever way you decide, be sure to consult your veterinarian or a professional groomer.