TRIMMING YOUR DOG’S FEET
Keeping the fur on your dog’s feet and paws trim can be quite important. Not only does it keep the dog looking neat and tidy but it also can minimise the dog picking up things like grass seeds and burrs and minimises dirty paws inside the house. The fur in the “V” between the back pad and the toe pads can sometimes get matted if left long which could also cause irritation so keeping that area free from long fur will mean more comfort for the dog.
Trimming the dog’s feet can be tricky sometimes. Dogs get very ticklish at the bottom of their paws in between the pads so you may find it easier to trim their paws one at a time in between doing a portion of clipping. If your dog is used to having his paws trimmed then you might prefer to clip the body off first and then scissor the feet; or, alternatively you might find it easier to get two paws done after you have just gotten half way with the clippers. I sometimes trim the two paws half way and then do the other two after finishing the body clip if I know the dog is a wriggler and doesn’t like having his paws trimmed. If you haven’t trimmed the paws before and you’re not sure how the dog will go try doing one paw, then giving him a break and going back to the next one and so on until all four paws have been done.
A part of trimming the feet entails making sure the nails stay trimmed also.
The type of scissors you will need for trimming the dog’s paws are sharp straight-edged scissors and you can find more information about scissors by clicking here.
TRIMMING THE TAIL
For dogs who have long furry tails you can either clip the fur off so it is the same length of coat as the body or you can simply brush it and trim the ends with scissors. When using the clippers over the tail it is important to be careful that you don’t cut into the skin, particularly on the tip of the tail. Run the clippers gently along the surface of the tail from the base at the body to the tip. You might want to use a shorter blade for an inch or so where the tail joins the body near the anal area to avoid any faeces sticking to the coat.
If you decide to brush the tail out and trim with scissors then it will be important to get any knots out first. A slicker brush is the best type of brush to use for this and it may be necessary to use a dematting comb to get the knots out (refer to our page on Dog Grooming Combs), if there are any. You can tell if the dog has any knotted areas by running a normal comb through the fur. If the comb gets stuck and you can’t pull it through then you know there is a knot to get out. The best tool for this is the dematting comb. Use this comb by starting at the outside of the knotted area and plucking gradually until the matted part is pulled away. Hold the tail and coat tight between your fingers close to the skin surface in order to minimise pulling on the dog’s skin as you rake out the knotted section. This dematting can cause discomfort to the dog as you are slicing the knot out and some dogs are not very tolerant. If the area is too matted then it might be best to just use the clippers and shave the fur in these areas or cut them out with the scissors. Either way, take care not to cut the dog.
Otherwise, keep brushing until you can run a comb easily through the ear or tail fur.
………… The best style we carry for inexperienced groomers or for use in areas like paws and faces.
TRIMMING THE FACE
Once again, particular care needs to be taken when trimming the face, especially around the eyes, ears and mouth area. If you hold the ear up and back you can use the clippers to shave between the ear and the eye on each side.
You can use either clippers or scissors to trim the fur over the muzzle area. Use the clippers in the same direction that the fur falls, unless you are doing a poodle face which has the fur shaved back to the skin all over the face.
If you are scissoring the face you can use straight-edged scissors however this will show all the lines and probably not look very good. Thinning scissors work better because they don’t leave straight line scissoring cuts, they leave a more natural look and you can’t really tell that they dog’s face has been scissored.
If you decide to scissor your dog’s face firstly brush the fur around the muzzle so it gets rid of any bits of food or anything that might have stuck around the mouth area. If you use the thinning scissors to trim the fur which hangs below the muzzle flap of skin up to just below the skin. You can also use the thinning scissors to trim away the fur in the inner corner of the eye. You can use these scissors also to trim the fur right back to the skin across the bridge of the nose. You might want to thin out the remaining fur on the muzzle. If you brush the hair from just above the eyes forward over the eye area and then you can use the normal scissors to trim it back so you get a nice straight cut across the eyes. It is best to work on one side first and then the other. You may not find doing around your dog’s face quite so easy for the first couple of times but with a little practice it should become easier.