Can you Use Human Clippers on Dogs? Your Questions Answered

There are many similarities between dog clippers and hair clippers for their owners, so it’s not surprising that some dog owners wonder can you use human hair clippers for dogs? However, it’s not something we or any professional groomer would recommend.

When you groom your pet, you need to ensure you are using the right tools; if they need their nails trimmed, you wouldn’t use human nail clippers and the same goes for hair clippers.

You may be able to cut dog hair with human clippers as a one-off, but they are not powerful enough for regular usage on dogs and the blades are not sharp enough for grooming dogs when their fur grows thick and long.

In this article, we will cover:

  • Is Human and dog hair the same?
  • What are the differences between human clippers and dog clippers
  • What to look for when choosing a good pair of clippers
  • How to get Fido used to having a hair cut
  • Some tips for grooming your dog at home

Is Dog Hair the Same as Human Hair?

As you can imagine – no – dog’s hair is quite different to our own. Length is the first common difference between human and animal hair; most dogs have fur which will stop growing and fall out, although some breeds like Afghan Hounds have hair like us that continues to grow until it’s cut.

Both human and dog’s hair is made from keratin, but dogs have a coating around the hair follicle that protects their skin from the elements. Another difference between pet hair and humans, generally speaking, a dog’s fur is thicker than human hair because it grows in clumps instead of single strands,

Also, many dogs have double coats with the tough outer fur being able to repel water whilst the soft undercoat provides insulation and protects the skin.

Then there is the colour. A single strand of human hair is the same colour from top to bottom. Again, this can be the case for doggy hair, too; however, if it turns out that the strand of hair seems to change colour once or more times on the strand, then it is definitely animal hair. 

Human clippers have blades that are designed to cut through shorter, less dense material. Tools designed for animals, however, are ready for the thickest of dog’s fur.

The Key Differences Between Human Hair Clippers and Dog Clippers

Although at times it may seem easier to use your human hair clippers to trim your dog’s coat, it’s never is a good idea! Not only do you risk damaging your clipper, but you also risk hurting your dog’s skin. As similar as they look, human and animal clippers have a few key differences, including:

Noise

Many dogs are afraid of loud noises and hair clippers can be noisy. On the other hand, humans are normally fine with this noise and have the bonus of understanding where it is coming from, why it is necessary, and what it will do, therefore eliminating any need for fear. 

That is why most pet hair clippers are made with low volume in mind. If you use human clippers, they may frighten your pet and make clipping them much more difficult.

Sharpness

In order to get through a dog’s hair, no matter the length, or the underlying dirt and debris, it takes sharper blades than it does to trim or shave human hair with human clippers. 

If you try to use human clipper blades to cut dog hair, you run a high risk of hair pulling the dog fur and even damaging your dog’s skin. 

The human clippers will not be able to keep up with the job at hand and will likely get tangled up in your dog’s fur and pull it out. 

What’s more, pet clippers are also sharp enough to cut through both long fur on the outside and thick fur close to the body.

Blades

Another thing to consider if you use human clippers are the blades; clippers for human hair have shorter blades with smaller gaps between the teeth to create a closer and more precise shave. 

However, dog clippers have a wider gap between the teeth on the blade to avoid the blade being clogged up as it makes its way through matted or thick fur.

Therefore, cutting dog hair with human clippers will quickly jam the blades, blocking the clipper and potentially breaking it. At the very least, it will require you to replace the blade before using it again on yourself, and in all likelihood, you will not be able to finish shaving your dog. 

Speed

Dog’s hair is usually thicker hair than that of a human, meaning the rotation speed has to be quicker on dog clippers. 

As our hair is usually thinner than dog hair and is therefore far easier to cut through. Therefore the rotations per minute on human hair clippers are slightly lower. 

The RPM or SPM has to be faster on a dog’s hair to ensure that any stubborn hair, knotted or matted fur, does not block the blade and can be cut through more easily, or at least more efficiently. 

Many pet clippers come with various speeds to adjust the dog’s coat type. You can expect a lighter motor for dog trimming as a key difference, too.

Accessories

The attachments that fit onto clippers, such as the combs, are found in most clipper kits, be they human or animal. 

However, the difference between a dog and human hair clippers is that the combs on regular clippers tend to be smaller, aiming to create a closer shave on the face, head, or elsewhere. They usually cut to lengths of about one inch or less. 

On the other hand, dog clippers come with usually more comb attachments and at very different lengths. They cut from between 1/ 16th of an inch to approximately two inches. 

The different dog combs to be used will entirely depend on the dog’s breed, coat type, and health conditions.

What to Look for in the Best Dog Clippers

Pet clippers are different from human hair clippers as they not only work at a faster speed but that the grooming process is more sensitive to an entire body trim. Here are a few other things to look for in dog fur and pet clippers:

  • Trusted brand: There are indeed plenty of cheap dog clippers out there to choose from, some of which will do the job just fine. However, as you will likely have to trim your dog’s fur multiple times throughout their life, it is always best to invest in a trusted brand. To avoid hurting your dogs, choose a brand of pet clippers you know, like Wahl or Andis.
  • Comb attachments: A professional groomer will have multiple comb attachments to deal with short and longer lengths or pet fur. Some dog styles also require for dogs to have longer fur around certain areas and shorter around others (for example, on Cocker Spaniels, Poodles, etc.), and so it is always best to opt for hair clippers that come with multiple comb attachments. 
  • Durable blades: Although you can easily replace or sharpen the blades on most dog clippers and human clippers, you will not want to change them after every shave. Therefore, try to research the blades durability on the clipper before buying it. You can check any of the latest posts on the comment section of the clipper, for example. 
  • Cordless or corded: Usually, a professional groomer will opt for a corded clipper, as the cord will ensure a continuous, steady power source that will last them for however long they need. However, some dog owners prefer cordless clippers because you can use them anywhere and move about your dog freely without worrying about the cord. 

Getting Your Dog Used to Clippers

In order to help the grooming process, it is best to start by choosing a secure location where your dog will not be able to hurt themselves or run away too easily. A grooming table with a non-slip surface is a great investment if you groom your dog regularly.

Then, you should show them the clipper and let them take the time to discover it by smelling it, feeling it, etc. 

Then, you should start it slowly, perhaps starting to use it on one paw, so that they can feel it gently and see what is happening. You should use positive reinforcement by telling them that they are a good boy or girl and perhaps giving them a treat. 

Clipping Your Dog at Home – Some Handy Tips

It can be tricky to figure out how to shave one’s dog in the best way possible properly, so here are a few helpful tips to get you started:

Choose a quiet grooming area.

A quiet grooming area will help avoid getting distracted, and it will also help keep your dog calm. The less noise that could overwhelm them, the better. It will make them easier to control and is a good step towards ensuring your dog’s comfort while trimming. 

Invest in a grooming table

However big or small your dog is, without a proper grooming table, you will not be able to properly see all of the areas that will need to be shaved. A grooming table will make it much easier on your back and also give your dog a feeling of security. To see which one we voted the best check out our dog grooming table reviews.

Use positive reinforcement

As stated, positive reinforcement is essential in helping your pet feel comfortable with shaving. Keep talking to them and remind them that they’re good!. You could also give them a treat every time they see the clippers to associate it with rewards. 

Start them off with the clippers early.

When it comes to dog grooming, the earlier you start, the better. It will be better for their fur and, therefore, their general health; it will also help them be less afraid of the clipper if it is something they have known for most of their lives. 

Use a brush

Using a good dog brush before trimming will help retrieve any dirt, dead hair, knots, matted fur, or other things that could block the clipper blades from doing their job efficiently. It will also largely reduce the amount of time that you need to use the clipper. 

Take the time to bathe them first.

Having a bath before shaving them will help take out any dirt, seeds, or other things that could be hiding in their fur. It will make the clipper’s job easier and make the shave more even and better on their skin. 

Watch tutorials on YouTube specific to your dog’s breed

Not all breeds should be shaved in the same way. Some can be nearly entirely shaven, while others need to keep thick layers of fur. If you are unsure about how to trim your dog best, check out YouTube tutorials based on their breed and coat type. This one has a great tutorial for beginners

Dab them dry with a soft towel

After their bath, dab them try first with a soft towel. Although many of us tend just to rub the towel roughly up and down, this can create knots and matted fur for no reason. It can also significantly damage their skin. 

Invest in a dog blow dryer

It is always best to use a dog blow dryer after padding with a soft towel. Much like the clippers, a human blow dryer will not do on a dog’s sensitive skin. However, using one with a comb or a brush will make their fur look better and make the shaving far easier. 

Use the right shampoo.

Using shampoo on your dog can significantly help the shaving process. First of all, you should always use the best dog shampoos and not human shampoos because of the difference in the PH levels.

However, a conditioning dog shampoo can help brush out of the knots and matted fur before trimming.

FAQ’s

Can you use dog clippers on humans?

The simple answer is yes; however, it will not provide the same kind of shave and cut is always best to use a human tool on human skin.

What’re the best clippers for a large dog?

The best clippers for large dogs should have a long battery life or a cord and should have a sharp, adjustable blade.

Are dog clippers more expensive than human clippers?

There are plenty of low-cost dog clippers out there, but professional tools are more expensive and can cost more than human clippers. Of course, there are always some human hair clippers that cost a premium.

Final Thoughts

Taking care of your dog’s fur is an essential part of taking care of their entire body, and therefore your dog’s health. However, using human clippers on dogs is a no-no.

A dog’s fur is very different to our hair and human clippers just won’t cut it-literally, the blades are finer and any attachment combs will be a shorter length than the ones that come with dog clippers. Human clippers are not usually as powerful either.

You’d never find a professional dog groomer mixing up dog clippers and human trimmers – learn the difference between grooming tools and always stick to what your clippers are built for. We hope you’ve found this article helpful!

Donna Hepburn

Published author, content writer and qualified dog behaviourist I have owned dogs all my life from Boxers, Rottweilers and Akitas, to Staffies and currently a very demanding Frenchie who is harder work than all the others put together.

I had a collar making business for over 10 years and am involved with several doggy charities. I currently live in the northeast and when I am not writing about dogs I enjoy, travelling, cooking and reading.

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