I think you will agree with me when I say that it is really difficult to pick clipper blades for your pet. Or is it? Well, it turns out that you can find all the information you need to guide you online. In this article, you will find a complete guide to help you choose and maintain your dog clipper blades.
Picking a clipper blade solely depends on the breed of your pet as well as the type of coat. Before making a choice, speak of other dog owners with breeds similar to yours and get some ideas from them.
What types of blades can you find?
Most blades are full-toothed, and you can find skip toothed blades as well. All these types have different uses. The skip toothed blades are mostly for stand-up coats such as poodle coat. While the full-toothed blades are ideal for smoother or drop coated dogs like spaniels.
What you should know about the types of blades
When you want to trim hair, or cut around the ears and face, opt for a size 40 cut length. For general use, a 30 cut length may be ideal. You can also use a 15 cut length for the same purpose. This blade is also called the poodle blade. The 10-cut length blade is for general use as well but works for hair trimming between the paw pads and around it.
For a smooth finish, use the 9-cut/length type blade. This blade is for general use as well. The next length, the 8-½ blade size can be used for normal cuts. It is called the Terrier blade.
One trick to remember while picking a blade is that when the number on the blade is higher, it means that the cut will be shorter and finer. Before cutting your pet’s hair, equip the clippers with a 30 or 40 blade, using the appropriate snap-on guide comb set.
If you decide to pick a brand of clippers that’s not Oster, Andis or Wahl, ensure that it is equipped with a similar style blade. Many dog clippers have this style but be sure that it is similar to avoid extra costs from buying proprietary blades.
You can sharpen your blades when they get blunt before they need to be replaced. Products such as Andis dog grooming clipper blades stay sharp for long.
Blade numbers for different cuts lengths
- Summer: # 7 blade. It can be used all over the pet’s body. While #10 can be used for clipping the hind leg area as well as the anal area.
- Winter: use #4 or #5 on the body and for clipping other areas such as the anal area and beneath the hind leg, use # 10.
If you opt for a longer or shorter blade all over your pet’s body, the cut may be too close, and it won’t look nice at all. The cut may appear choppy, and you won’t like it.
For specific breed clipping, you should follow the recommendations for the particular breed. In some cases, you may need to get more equipment for grooming the dog. Some clipping sets come with a full range of equipment.
How clipper blades work
It doesn’t matter if they are ceramic, steel, skip toothed or fine-toothed, all blades have the same function. They work by running through the hair and removing the excess fur to produce a clean trim.
Ceramic dog clipper blades vs steel blades
Stainless steel blades are more popular. Ceramic blades are ideal because they stay cooler for a longer time. However, they also break easily. There are also some coating available for blades. This helps enhance its function. If you need an antimicrobial blade, opt for silver. It will target fungi and bacteria.
The main types of blades
- Skip tooth: these blades are ideal for mats, a rough cut as well as blending. However, you must exercise caution because the skin can be caught in the teeth gaps.
- Finishing blade: these blades are also called fine tooth blades. They provide a smooth cut. The blades are ideal for grooming and a finishing touch.
- Wide blade: these blades are wider than usual and can come in handy for bigger dogs. The only problem is that they don’t fit on standard clippers.
Blade cuts and sizes
The blade you should choose depends on the length of the cut. The lay of the coat and the texture will be the factors to bear in mind while choosing. All the blades are numbered to show what length of hair they cut. For instance, #10 blades will leave a pet hair length of 1/16.
A #15 blade will create a shorter cut than #5. Blade makers often indicate the length that the blades cuts. Sometimes, you may need a set of blade sizes to achieve a perfect result.
Many blade sizes that are above #40 work best for surgical uses. They are used by vets for surgical preparation. Professional groomers do not use them.
Are you a new groomer? Try these top blades
Picking a blade number for use as a new groomer depends on the coat length. It also depends on the breed of the dog. The charts differ with different brands, but these blade sizes are ideal for common cuts:
- #10 blade is ideal for sanitary prep
- #15 blade is ideal for suitable for pads
- #5 or #7 blades are ideal for mats
- #7 blade is great for body work
Should you get 5-in-1 blades?
This blade set may seem like the perfect solution. It adjusts to 5 blade sizes, but also has its problems. It does not heat up as fast as the normal blade, but it requires additional maintenance.
The adjustable design is unique and traps more debris and hair. Cleaning the blades may be a chore because of the feature. The blade does not work with some types of clippers since it is not a snap on blade.
Can you sharpen your blades
Sharp blades don’t deliver the cleanest cut. So having the blades sharpened is not a priority. Also, you should not attempt to sharpen it on your own. It is safer to leave the sharpening to professionals.
Easy ways to maintain your blade
If you maintain your blades regularly, it will lengthen the life of the blades. Here are some items for maintenance:
- Cooling spray
- Blade cleaner
How to oil the blade
Oiling your blade after each use can help keep the blades smooth and in excellent condition. Apply some drops of the oil onto the guides of the clipper. Ensure that you apply it on each side of the blade. Check the clipper to make sure it is running. This helps distribute the oil across the surface. To buff off the excess oil, use a dry clipper brush. You can also use a toothbrush in the absence of a clipper brush.
Before using oil, check that it is specifically made for the clipper blades. Most times, manufacturers have certain oils for their brands.
How to clean your blades with ease
Cleaning the blade depends on the frequency of use. When you use your blades regularly, you need to clean it once a week. When the clipper is visibly dirty, it should be cleaned before use.
To clean the blade, submerge it into a bowl of the cleaning solution. Keep the clippers running and submerge it for about eight seconds. Wipe off the blade when you are done.
How to use cooling spray
If the blades heat up during use, you need to change the blades. If you don’t want to change the blades then you can apply the cooling spray. Spray it on the blade while it runs. When the RPM sound changes, it implies that the blades are working efficiently again. Always wipe the blade clean of the coolant.
Tips to make using clippers easier
- Keep the blade tip down against the pet’s skin. Hold the back up a bit. When the blade is short, the angle will be bigger; don’t allow the blade to skip on the skin. Use your other hand to pull the skin taut gently. This allows the blade to travel smoothly in the areas you are working on.
- Follow the lay of the fur. This will produce more natural looking cuts. If you do not follow this pattern, the clipper may produce chop lines or marks. Start near the head. Follow the back and reach the butt before going down the legs.
- If the dog has thick hair or hair that lays flat, you can go back against the hair’s lay. Start low on the rear legs of the dog and go up the butt. Come over from the back and move to the neck before returning to the head. This technique produces smooth haircuts. Also, if you are having a hard time with lines in the coat, this would help. It is ideal for terrier type coats. The #4 or #5 will work excellently for this cut.
- You can measure blade lengths by how long the coat appear when it goes against the lay of the fur. The information is also stamped into the blades. Following the lay of the hair is how most groomers do 90% of It results in leaving the hair twice as long as the blade cut. Looking at this practically, a #5 used against a lay will produce the same results as #7 with the lay.
- When you use a long blade or comb for the cut, you will require more finishing touches. Scissors may be needed to trim it in the end. If you do not want to go through this process, then opt for a shorter haircut.
- If you want to shave a dog with a thick coat, the best thing to do is to shave it short. Use a #10 or a #7FC. This is because you can shave underneath the thick coat and it will become easier to shave through. Also, if the hair is not shorter by an inch, the pet will not feel relief from the heat that comes with thick coats. The exercise will be a waste of time.
- For blade lengths, you should make the head look proportional to the body if you choose a #5. Use #3 or a blade that is two sizes longer for the particular purpose. For the sanitary area or armpits, use a #10. This applies to the front of the pet’s eyes as well.
What to do when your clipper blade jams
One common problem, which occurs during grooming, is experiencing a clipper blade jam. If happens a lot especially when you groom your dog often. If this happens, it can be frustrating. The blade no longer cuts hair; it simply pulls through it. You can solve this problem by blasting the blade with a cooling spray. Point the spray at the teeth of the blade while it is still running and spray. Ensure that you hold the blade at an angle. The hair will drop off after a short while.
If you successfully remove the hair that is jammed between the pieces of metal, it will cut properly again. But if it doesn’t work after the first trial, wipe off the blade and try again. If it still doesn’t work, then you may need to get the blade sharpened. The cooling spray can be used when the blade becomes too hot, as a lubricant or rust preventative. It also acts as a disinfectant.
While cutting your pet’s fur, be sure that you touch the blade from time to time. This is because it can get hot and hurt your pet without you knowing. So checking it routinely will prevent such uncomfortable situations. Also, your pet will not be afraid of being groomed. This eases the process for both of you.
Catherine Bono is a blogger, who is passionate about dogs and cats. She created Crittersitca.com to shares her experience as she studies to become a qualified vet.