Clipper rash: Clipper burn, sensitivity, or irritation? Yep, dogs can be allergic to clipper blades. Clipper sensitisations can be caused by the allergy to the metal that the clipper blades are made of, the technique that is applied, and the heat of the blade. But how can it be prevented so it it doesn't happen in the first place?
How does clipper rash occur?
Clipper rash is a common skin condition that can occur in dogs after they are clipped. It's not always detectable right when it happens, though, which means it could be unknown to both the groomer and the pet owner, and the dog could go home with a skin complaint. If the condition goes unnoticed until the pet starts to aggravate the area and make it wet and sore then it may have already progressed to a more serious stage.
Clipper rash is one of the most common injuries in a grooming salon. It can happen to experienced groomers or new groomer starting out.The skin will tingle uncomfortably and the dog will lick or scratch continuously causing further damage to the skin. Depending on the severity of the rash, the skin can show signs of being pink, or in severe cases, bright red or even showing signs of blood.
How to avoid giving the dog clipper rash.
Using a short length of blade, you are putting yourself at greater risk of giving the dog clipper rash. For most dog's using a #10 or #15 is considered a safer length over a #30 or #40 blade. If you know your clients dog is particular sensitive, always go for the safer, longer length blade, such as #7F or #9. Points that you should be mindful, to avoid giving the dog clipper rash:
Applied pressure when clipping.
Knowing the dog's coat and skin.
The angle of the clipper.
Cleanliness of the coat.
Applied pressure when clipping to avoid clipper rash.
Applying the proper pressure to your clipper is key to avoid clipper rash. If you are using a longer blade like a 4F, then more pressure can be applied without the concern of causing issue. You will find that the coat will need several passes off the clipper to achieve a smooth, even cut.
Your clipper technique is vital to getting a great-looking clip. If you've been using longer blades and are now moving to shorter ones, it's important that you understand how the shorter blade works and how to use it safely.
If you're new to grooming, you may want to start with a longer blade as it offers more forgiveness when learning how to clip animals. Once your technique has improved and becomes more consistent, some dog groomers move to a shorter blade as it offers a slightly cleaner look, takes less time and can be used faster. With super close cutting blades, you can also clip faster.
But be warned: if you opt for a shorter blade, you need to take care. Your clipper technique must be spot on if you're going for close clipper work with short blades. Choosing a blade length for close clipper work is not something to take lightly—the last thing you want is to cause discomfort or injury to the pet.
Want to know more about smooth running clippers, read How to Get your Clippers Running Smoothly Through the Coat.
With fast blades, comes heat. The longer they run, the quicker they heat up. To avoid blades heating up quickly you should use clipper oil every 5-10 minutes.
Clipper rash is a common problem for dogs, and it can be very frustrating for you as the groomer.
When ever a dog is suspected to be prone to clipper rash, be proactive in dealing with the issue straight away. Condition the skin with a soothing non-greasy spray or cream. Talk to your client before they leave with their dog. Choose a blade length that matches the skin sensitivity and minimise how many time your clippers go over one area of the dog.
Not sure what length blade to use? Head over to the Ultimate Guide To Clipper Blades.