Do you worry about taking your dog to the groomer?
Maybe that’s why you were looking for the best dog clippers for Small Dogs?
These days, it seems like there’s a new story every couple of weeks about dogs dying or being injured while being groomed. It can also be very expensive and inconvenient to leave your dog for anywhere from an hour to all day. Is it time to start grooming your dog yourself?
- 1 Do you worry about taking your dog to the groomer?
- 2 Editor's TOP Choice!
- 3 Editor's TOP Choice!
- 4 Editor's TOP Choice!
- 5 The most critical issues when grooming small dogs
- 6 How does grooming a small dog differ from grooming a larger one?
- 7 Crucial tips to follow when grooming a small dog
- 8 How do I get ready for grooming a small dog?
- 9 #Buyer’s guide to finding best dog clippers for small dogs [Read this before you buy!]
- 10 My picks
There is a learning curve to grooming your dog, and small dogs can be more difficult to groom than larger ones. It’s crucial to get the right pair of clippers for you and your dog to both have the best possible experience.
I was a dog groomer for more than 12 years, and I want to help you find the best dog clippers for small dogs. Here are my tips for finding the right set of clippers.
The most critical issues when grooming small dogs
Noise and vibrations also tend to make small dogs more nervous than large dogs, so you want to try to find clippers that are fairly quiet and don’t vibrate too much.
How does grooming a small dog differ from grooming a larger one?
When you take the front leg of a large dog and gently pull it away from their body, there’s plenty of room to maneuver clippers and safely shave their armpit. With a small dog, the clippers may be longer than your dog’s leg, making it difficult to maneuver the clippers and see what you’re doing. This can make it easier to accidentally cut your dog.
Faces can be another difficulty in small dogs compared to big dogs. To safely trim around a dog’s eyes, you need to be able to hold and control their face. Big dogs have plenty to hold onto, whereas many small dogs, especially those with short muzzles like Shih Tzus, don’t have much of a face or head to hold onto without your hand being in the way of what you want to trim.
The one benefit of small dogs is that, once you know what you’re doing and are comfortable with the process, small dogs are much faster to groom than large dogs, meaning cordless clippers are a more feasible option than they may be for larger dogs.
Some small dogs have great temperaments and are comfortable with everything, but you should be prepared for some nervousness and fidgeting while you and your dog get used to grooming at home.
Crucial tips to follow when grooming a small dog
Also, if you plan to scissor around your dog’s face, be warned that many dogs lick their noses when they get nervous, so watch out for a fast tongue than can easily jab itself into your scissors. No matter how gentle and cautious you are, cut tongues are one of the most common injuries I saw in all my years as a dog groomer. Those tongues can be FAST.
Pro tip – keep some sugar handy. If you accidentally nick your dog’s tongue, having him lick the sugar can help stop the bleeding. I don’t know how it works, but it does. Be warned that tongues bleed A LOT, though they usually heal without any serious long-term side effects.
#2 – Be gentle. Obviously, you would never hurt your dog on purpose, but it’s easy to get a yelp of pain out of your small dog if you move a leg too far to try to see what you’re doing, for example. Small dogs tend to be less sturdy than larger ones, so even brushing out a mat can make your dog feel like he’s being tortured. Keep in mind that sensitivity as you groom them.
#3 – Go slow. Trying to rush is one of the main things that leads to accidents. Pick a time when you don’t have any plans for at least 2-3 hours so you can just focus on doing a safe haircut rather than rushing to get the chore out of the way. A nervous dog will have a very tough time being rushed through a haircut.
#4 – Choose smaller tools. Long shears and heavy-duty clippers are great tools for larger dogs but will make grooming small dogs more difficult. The smaller the tools you use, the easier it will be to maneuver them around your small dog.
How do I get ready for grooming a small dog?
Figure out where you want to groom your dog. I recommend using a table or other flat surface for your dog to stand on, but you may decide it’s easier to groom your dog in your lap or on the floor. Make sure all the tools you need are within easy reach so that you don’t need to keep starting and stopping the grooming. Keep plenty of treats handy, too, so that your dog doesn’t make too much of a negative association with the grooming process.
Start with a clean, dry coat. This will make for the easiest, smoothest, best-looking cut. Having said that, you should brush or cut any mats out BEFORE washing your dog, since water will make mats worse (unless you have a high-velocity dryer to loosen mats with).
#Buyer’s guide to finding best dog clippers for small dogs [Read this before you buy!]
A cheap pair of clippers may work fine for a while but is likely to need to be replaced if anything goes wrong. With more professional-grade clippers, almost every part is easily replaceable, so they should last for many years without any problems. On the other hand, you may not need the most expensive clippers on the market. There are a handful of things you should consider when searching for the right set of clippers.
Corded vs. Cordless Clippers
On the downside, cordless clippers tend to be more expensive, and the charge typically only lasts 60-90 minutes. If you’re very slow while you first learn how to groom your dog, that may not be long enough, so corded clippers may be the better option for your situation.
Speed? Multiple speeds?
If you have a dog with a finer coat like a Maltese or a Yorkie, the clipper speed won’t matter as much. A slower single-speed clipper will probably work just fine.
Which blades to use?
If you like a short but not shaved look, a longer blade often looks better than a shorter attachment comb. Some clippers, especially professional-grade clippers, come with detachable A5-style blades that are easily switched with different sizes that can even be made from other brands than the one that made your clippers.
Most clippers will come with a #10 blade, which is the perfect length for trimming around the eyes, paw pads, and potty areas. You will have to purchase other blade lengths. A #7 blade leaves 1/8” for a smooth cut that is very short but not all the way down to the skin. A #5 blade leaves ¼” and is a nice length that is short but still leaves your dog with a little bit of fluff. A #4 blade leaves 3/8” and only looks good on certain types of coats, especially thicker ones. There are blades longer than a #4 blade, but at that point, the haircut usually looks better when you switch to an attachment comb.
Ergonomics – Lightweight or heavy clippers?
Here are my top 3 picks for the best dog clippers for small dogs:
Andis Super AGR+ Cordless Detachable Blade Clipper, Professional Equine and Livestock Grooming, AGR+ (63855) If you’re looking for a sturdy, professional-grade set of cordless clippers, these are a great bet. Not having to manage a long cord while grooming your small dog is a huge plus.
Andis Excel Pro-Animal 5-Speed Detachable Blade Clipper Kit – Professional Animal/Dog Grooming, SMC These 5-speed clippers are much lighter and more ergonomic than most other professional-grade clippers. They also have a slightly shorter body length, making them a great option for small dogs.
Andis ProClip AGC2 2-Speed Detachable Blade Clipper, Professional Animal Grooming, AGC, Black These professional clippers are at the cheaper end of the spectrum for professional grade. They’re more expensive than the Wahl U-Clip, but they should last much longer. They are a little long and heavy, which may be awkward for really small dogs like Yorkies and Maltese.
Wahl Professional Animal Deluxe U-Clip Pet Clipper Trimmer Grooming Kit for Dogs Cats and Pets Hair Fur #9484-300 If you’re looking to start with a cheap set of clippers to try grooming your dog for the first time, these have a solid star rating on online retailers. They won’t get through thick coats but should be sturdy enough for fine to medium coats. They may need to be replaced after a while, but then you can upgrade to a professional model of clippers.