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Taking your dog to the professional groomer for dealing with matted hair can be expensive. Buying some dog grooming clippers and shaving your dog yourself can end up saving you a lot of money. However, a cheap dog clipper may not have the power to cut off mats, though, so you don’t want to choose a trimmer at random.
I’ve been a professional dog groomer for more than 12 years, and I’m here to give you my recommendations for the best dog clippers for matted hair.
In addition to the best clippers for matted dogs, we’ll talk more about matted fur and grooming your dog at home. Let’s get started!
YES. Cheap dog grooming clippers don’t have enough power to get underneath tight mats. Using low-quality dog trimmers can be frustrating for both you and your dog. You may also run a higher risk of injuring your dog by using clippers that don’t cut as smoothly.
There are a whole variety of factors that you should consider before buying dog grooming clippers for matted hair. The best choice for you and your dog may not be the best clipper for your neighbor and their dog. Here are some factors you should consider before buying clippers for matted dog hair.
Where do you plan on shaving your dog? Is the spot near an outlet where you can plug in the clipper? Or do you need the freedom of a cordless clipper?
Do you want the most heavy-duty clipper for dogs regardless of their weight, or do you prefer one that is a little lighter?
These are only a few of the things you need to consider when thinking about your needs for grooming.
What extra features do you want to come with your clippers? Some only come with a single blade, while others come in kits with things like a carrying case or attachment combs for longer lengths.
It’s important to note that some of the best dog clippers have one adjustable blade while others use detachable blades. Adjustable blades shift to several different short lengths and are used with attachment combs for longer lengths. Attachment combs won’t go through or under mats, and therefore aren’t a good fit for dogs with tangled hair.
With detachable blades, you may be able to get a slightly longer length on your matted dog, depending on what blade length goes under the tangle Trimmers with detachable blades are more versatile, but they’re also more expensive.
Do you want cheap clippers that you can just replace when they wear out? Do you want to invest in a heavy-duty option that you can maintain yourself? Are you willing to invest in a clipper that you may need to pay somebody else to maintain?
You should consider how much maintenance you are willing to do on your grooming clipper before buying one.
There’s no doubt that cordless dog clippers are easier to use. Even professional groomers get annoyed dealing with a cord. However, cordless versions are usually more expensive. Also, the battery life is typically only an hour to an hour and a half.
If you have a large matted dog, cordless clippers might not have enough battery life to shave your whole dog at once. Some cordless shavers have detachable batteries, so you can have a spare battery charged up. Other cordless options must be plugged in to charge, and you may or may not be able to use them while they’re charging.
The higher the motor speed and strokes per minute of the clipper, the more power the blades will have to get under mats in dog hair. Trimmers with a lower motor speed are often cheaper, but they might not be powerful enough to get through matted fur.
The more powerful dog hair clippers are, the heavier they tend to be. Some heavy-duty shavers can weigh a pound or more. That can put a lot of strain on your hand, wrist, and arm if you aren’t used to it.
Also, clipper bodies come in a range of shapes from a cylinder to an hourglass. Products with ergonomic shapes put less strain on you than cylindrical clippers.
Luckily, newer models are lighter and more ergonomic than old models while still retaining enough power to get under matted hair.
All clippers get hot eventually and make some noise. Don’t believe any company that says otherwise. However, some are louder or get hot quicker than others. Check out reviews to see how many people complain about noise or heat.
Are you just looking for something cheap you can use for now and upgrade down the road? Or are you looking for a shaver that could last the life of your dog (or beyond)?
If you plan on continuing to groom your dog yourself, you may want to invest in professional-quality clippers. The best dog clippers can last several years for full-time dog groomers. That means a pet owner could get a decade or more of use out of a quality product.
The Andis UltraEdge Super 2-Speed clipper has been a favorite among dog groomers since it was first released. In fact, these are what I bought when I recently returned to grooming, and they’re the most common clipper I’ve used over my 12-year grooming career.
The Andis UltraEdge is sturdy, powerful, and easy to maintain. The weight and ergonomics are OK, though not top of the line. The blade drive is often the first thing to die on clippers, and it’s quite easy to change by yourself. You can actually replace nearly every part yourself, so these professional grooming clippers can last just about forever.
They do have a cord, but it’s 14’ long, so you aren’t stuck right next to a wall. This UltraEdge uses detachable A5 compatible blades.
The UltraEdge usually comes with a #10 (1/16”) blade included. The #10 blade is the safest length to use on matted hair. Since the blades are detachable, though, you can try a longer blade like a #7 (1/8”) or #5 (1/4”) if the tangles aren’t too severe.
The price is at the upper end of what a pet parent might want to spend for home grooming. However, with a little easy maintenance, they could last the lifetime of your current pet – and maybe the next one, too!
These clippers are very cheap but have great reviews. I haven’t tried them myself, but they have a very high rating on Amazon, with plenty of reviews talking about how great they are. Of course, there are still a fair amount of reviews complaining that they didn’t work at all or didn’t last very long.
This price point is cheaper than taking your pet to the professional groomer, though, so it’s probably worth the money to try them.
The trimmer motor supposedly goes up to 9000 revolutions per minute, which would be the fastest, strongest motor I’ve ever heard of. The battery is supposed to last 7 hours on a full charge.
This product gets high marks for their level of quietness. Even people who complained that they didn’t work well mentioned how quiet they are.
If you’re looking for the power of professional pet clippers at a price under $100, look no further. Andis has been a trusted name in dog grooming for many decades, and this model was popular for many years.
The squarish body shape is heavy and awkward, but it has the power you need to get through a matted coat. I’ve used the Andis ProClip myself, and they are very sturdy.
Like many other Andis trimmers, these are easy to maintain by yourself, which helps extend their lifespan.
Wahl has been a gold standard in pet grooming clippers for nearly a century. The Bravura clippers are professional-grade clippers that are also perfect for home use.
This item is cordless with about 90 minutes of battery life. If that isn’t long enough, though, you can plug it in and keep going using it with the cord. It even has an LED battery life indicator, so you know how much battery power you have left.
At 8.8 ounces, the Wahl Bravura is one of the lightest clippers on the market. Professional groomers mostly use the Bravura for sanitary areas, faces, and feet. However, they should have enough power for a pet owner to shave their whole dog.
The 5-in-1 blade makes this model easy to use, though you will get a very close shave underneath your dog’s mats since the included attachment combs won’t cut under mats.
The Wahl Figura is sort of a cousin product to the Bravura. The Figura is much more powerful, though, which makes it a better choice for shaving matted hair. The 6,000 strokes per minute make it one of the fastest grooming clippers on the market.
The battery lasts about 90 minutes. However, it takes 180 minutes of charging to get there. It does come with a charging cord that you can use to make the clippers corded.
The Figura comes with attachment combs and a 5-in-1 adjustable blade. It’s a simple setup, but it won’t let you leave any length on matted dogs.
Before you take clippers to your matted dog for the first time, there is a lot you should understand about matted dog fur.
Mats are thick tangles of pet hair. Tangles often lie close to the skin and are difficult (and often painful) to brush out. They’re caused by a lack of brushing and are made worse by water (whether that’s rain, snow, or baths).
Mats can be difficult to see when they are close to the skin. Often, improper brushing leads to the dog looking brushed out while being pelted underneath. Your dog’s skin shouldn’t feel squishy, so as you’re running your hands over your dog, anything that isn’t fur or skin (or things on the skin, like moles or tumors) is probably matted fur.
Since brushing tangles out can be painful or even dangerous for your pet, it’s best to shave them out.
Yes, matted fur can definitely cause your dog pain. As the fur becomes tangled, it often pulls on your dog’s skin.
Yank on your hair. That probably hurts a bit, right? Imagine that yanking feeling all day, every day. It’s not a good feeling. Severe matting can even limit your dog’s range of motion or cut off circulation to an ear, paw, or tail, leading to an amputation.
The best way to remove matted hair from your dog is to shave UNDERNEATH the mats. That’s the key to success. Most clippers won’t cut through tangles, and that can be dangerous anyway. Besides, that doesn’t solve the problem of the matting.
The key is to use the blade of your clippers at an angle to gently but smoothly chip away underneath the mats. DON’T PULL ON THE MATS while you do this. You will end up pulling your dog’s skin into the clipper blade and cut it.
At all times, you want to keep your pet’s skin taught. The loose skin on your dog’s neck is one of the easiest places to catch and cut your canine’s skin. Use your free hand to stretch your dog’s skin while you shave with the other hand.
Go slowly and don’t force anything. If you feel any resistance, it could be your pet’s skin or a wart. Or, you could be trying to cut through the mat instead of underneath it. Short, slow, gentle strokes on taught skin are the key to shaving tangles off your pet.
If you choose to shave your matted dog at home, it’s a good idea to keep first aid supplies handy. Even experienced groomers may nick a dog occasionally, especially if the pet moves unexpectedly. Be prepared for the chance that you may cut your dog while shaving them.
Technically, yes, you can brush mats out instead of shaving them. However, that is often painful, cruel, and dangerous.
At best, brushing out a lot of mats will be uncomfortable for your dog. At worst, you could cause painful brush burn or even cut your dog’s skin with a dematting tool. It’s also likely you will cause your dog to hate grooming for the rest of their life.
So, while it is possible to brush tangles out, I don’t recommend it. I always recommend “humanity over vanity.”
Preventing mats is generally easier than trying to deal with them after they’ve formed. It’s much gentler to brush your dog regularly than it is to allow painful mats to form and then shaving them out.
Here are some tips for preventing dog hair matting.
Different coats require different tools to prevent mats. It’s always best to ask a groomer their advice for your specific dog, but here are some general brush guidelines:
For most dogs, you will need to brush them at least once or twice a week to prevent matting. Dogs with long, thick, or curly hair may need brushing as often as every day to prevent mats from forming.
Many new dog owners make the mistake of only brushing the topcoat of their dog’s fur. Then, they’re angry and confused when the groomer tells them their pet is matted all next to the skin and must be shaved.
You should use the following techniques to make sure you are brushing all the way down to your dog’s skin:
If your pet doesn’t like to be brushed, start slowly with short increments of brushing followed by a treat. Your dog should learn that brushing is bonding time, not torture time. Eventually, regular brushing can be a part of your daily routine that both you and your dog enjoy.
The better you maintain your clippers, the longer they will last. If you buy cheap clippers, you may not care as much about maintaining them. However, if you invest in expensive clippers, you will want to help them last as long as possible with regular maintenance.
Clipper blades will get gunked up with hair, dirt, and dander and stop working as well. Hair can also work its way under the blade to jam up the motor.
The easiest way to clean blades is to brush loose hair out of them (a toothbrush is perfect for this), then running them for 5-10 seconds while dipped into a blade cleaner. Turn off the clippers, wipe off the cleaner, then add oil.
To clean out the clippers, remove the blade and use the toothbrush to remove as much hair and gunk as possible. Some clippers have a removable piece for changing the blade drive – be sure to clean in there, too.
You need to oil your blades regularly to prevent friction, overheating, and rusting. After cleaning your blades, add a few drops of oil to the blade while it’s running on the clippers. Let it make its way throughout the blade, then wipe off the excess.
Even the best blades dull with time and need to be sharpened or replaced. I do NOT recommend sharpening blades yourself unless you’re willing to run the risk of ruining them. Even professional sharpeners occasionally destroy a blade while sharpening it.
To find a professional sharpener, call up your local groom shop and ask who they use. You may be able to bring your blades by the next time the sharpener visits. Most grooming salons have a sharpener come every month or so.
The general cause of matted dog hair is not enough proper brushing. However, many other things can contribute to the formation of mats. A few other things than can cause matted dog hair include:
Shaving a matted dog at home can be dangerous. If you don’t have experience shaving your dog, it is easy to cut them, especially if you are trying to shave underneath mats. Here are a few tips for shaving a matted dog at home:
Here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about how to groom your dog at home.
A clipper blade consists of two metal pieces (or one metal piece and one ceramic piece) rubbing against each other thousands of times per minute. That friction causes the blade to heat up. Slower clippers and ceramic blades may get hot slower than other blades. However, all blades get hot eventually.
In some clipper models, the body of the clippers can get hot after the motor has been running for a while. That can be quite uncomfortable on your hands. If the clipper body gets hot, there’s little you can do apart from taking a break to let them cool down for a while.
To cool down hot blades, you should have a cooling spray such as Oster Kool Lube III Spray Coolant. The spray not only cools the blade but helps keep it lubricated, too. Another way to deal with hot clipper blades is to have spare blades handy (if you have clippers with detachable blades) and rotate through several blades throughout the grooming.
Generally, dogs should be groomed every 4-6 weeks. If you keep your dogs in a short clip and brush them regularly, you can go longer between haircuts. If you like to keep your dog’s hair longer or they’re prone to matting, you should groom them more frequently.
It isn’t worth risking an injury to yourself or your dog. If they are aggressive for grooming, leave it to the professionals. They have lots of experience working with dogs who have various issues. It’s the best way to keep your dog (and yourself) safe.
No, people have much less hair per square inch than dogs do, so human clippers don’t work well on dogs. Human clippers also aren’t designed to handle matting. That’s why you need to invest in clippers designed for dogs.
Cheap clippers may only last through a couple of haircuts. Well-made clippers can last years or decades with proper maintenance.
Clipper blades do need occasional sharpening. However, for light home use, a blade should last for several years with proper maintenance without needing to be sharpened.
If you have a blade that seems dull, your best bet is to call your local grooming salon and ask what sharpener they use. You may be able to get your blade sharpened the next time the sharpener visits that grooming salon (once every month or two).
Hopefully, we’ve given you enough information to pick the best dog clippers for matted hair as well as tips for shaving your matted dog safely. Grooming your dog yourself can save you money, provide peace of mind, and become a bonding experience between you and your pup.