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Canine clipping

Dogs come in all shapes and sizes, and yes, even with a variety of hairstyles. While some people associate clipping only with strange poodle coiffures, the reality is that many dogs require clipping for cleanliness, comfort and perhaps even good health.

Who to clip

When you take your puppy or dog to the vet for the first time, feel free to ask about grooming and clipping. They may advise if a particular type of dog will be in need of clipping and how often. Generally long-haired dogs such as terriers may require a regular cut or clip.

How to clip

Most dogs won’t need a clip before six months of age. Your vet may help choose the best clipper for your pooch (you’ll need a blade that suits their coat). Always ensure the blade is sharp before starting, as you don’t want to pull their hair. Start by gently clipping along the back. Take it slowly and use a gentle tone to reassure your dog. You might also offer treats during and once finished to reward calm behaviour and associate clipping with positive things. Make sure the clippers do not become hot – if they do, cool them down before proceeding (you may need to take several breaks for this and you may need to change blades). When your pup or dog becomes used to regular clipping, you can then move to other areas. Vet clinics often provide grooming services.

When to use a professional

Professional groomers offer a variety of services including shampooing/conditioning, hair and nail clipping and combing your dog. It’s by no means mandatory to use a professional groomer, but some choose to do so. An experienced groomer can offer advice on the best way to clip your dog and how often to clip.

Groomers are well versed in checking the eyes, ears and skin of dogs whilst grooming. This means they may keep an eye out for potential skin or other problems.

Don’t hesitate in booking a vet appointment if you do spot skin or other potential problems as things can worsen quickly if not given medical attention ASAP. Dogs can also be in pain or discomfort and not be able to communicate this – it’s always safer to seek vet advice.

Nail clipping

Sufficient daily exercise and some time walking on concrete will help keep your dog’s nails filed down naturally. If you notice the nails are becoming quite long, it’s a good idea to get them clipped. You can purchase clipping tools at pet stores, or have nails clipped at vets or professional groomers. If you’re unsure how to clip nails, talk to your local vet clinic and they can show you how to do it safely. Also keep an eye on the dog ‘thumb’ nail equivalent – this nail often does not touch the ground when dogs walk and hence it may become long and need to be clipped even if the other nails (that do come into contact with the ground) do not require clipping. Don’t clip too short as this may cause bleeding and pain.

With RSPCA Pet Insurance there are four levels of award-winning cover to choose from. Get a quote today and secure cover online or over the phone and your pet can be covered from 11.59pm tonight. Find out more.