| Pet Care Advice By Veterinarians |

Can You Use Dog Clippers Without Guard?



Reviewed By: Dr. Joel Robertson

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Using dog clippers without a guard is possible, but it comes with certain risks and considerations.

It can result in a much shorter shave than intended and increase the possibility of accidentally nicking your pet’s skin.

Let’s delve into the specifics of using dog clippers without a guard and how to do so safely and effectively.

Key Takeaway

  • Guards on dog clippers are attachments that determine the length of hair to be cut, providing a consistent and controlled grooming experience.
  • Dog clippers can be used without a guard, but it’s important to exercise caution as it may result in an uneven or too short of a haircut, potentially causing harm to the dog’s skin.
  • Using clippers improperly or without caution can potentially injure a dog, causing cuts, skin irritation, or discomfort.

What Do Guards Do On Dog Clippers?

Can You Use Dog Clippers Without Guard

Guards on dog clippers serve a number of important functions. Their primary role is to control the length of the cut.

By attaching a guard of a certain length to your clippers, you ensure that the hair is only cut to that specific length, giving a uniform and even trim across your dog’s body.

This can be particularly useful for achieving specific grooming styles or for maintaining a consistent coat length.

Another important function of guards is to protect your dog’s skin.

When you’re using clippers, there’s a risk of accidentally nicking or cutting the skin, especially in sensitive areas or where the skin is close to the surface.

A guard acts as a barrier between the sharp blades and your dog’s skin, reducing this risk.

Furthermore, guards can also help to protect the clipper blades.

If you were to use the clippers directly on the skin without a guard, it could potentially lead to quicker dulling of the blades due to direct contact with the skin and other hard surfaces.

By using a guard, you help prolong the life of your clipper blades.

Can You Use Dog Clippers Without Guard?

Yes, you can use dog clippers without a guard. However, it’s important to note that using clippers without a guard means the blades will cut the fur very close to the skin.

This could potentially result in a shave that is much shorter than intended, which might not be comfortable for your dog, especially if they have sensitive skin.

Additionally, using clippers without a guard increases the risk of accidentally nicking or cutting your dog’s skin, particularly if you’re not experienced in grooming. This could cause discomfort or even injury.

In general, if you’re going to use clippers without a guard, it’s advisable to do so with caution and only if you’re confident in your ability to control the clipper’s movement.

It’s also recommended to use high-quality clippers designed specifically for dogs, as these often have safety features built in to minimize the risk of injury.

Will Regular Clippers Cut Dog Hair?

Yes, regular clippers can technically cut dog hair, but they are not recommended for a number of reasons.

Firstly, the texture and density of dog hair are different from human hair. Dog hair is typically thicker and denser, which means regular clippers may struggle to cut through it effectively.

This could result in an uneven cut, or even cause the clippers to jam or break.

Secondly, regular clippers are not designed with the safety features needed for grooming dogs. For example, they might not have the necessary guards to prevent cutting the hair too short or nicking the skin.

Additionally, dogs’ skin is more sensitive than humans, and using regular clippers could potentially cause discomfort or irritation.

Finally, dog clippers are specifically designed to handle the contours and sensitive areas of a dog’s body. Using human clippers could make it difficult to navigate these areas and could potentially lead to injury.

Can You Injure a Dog With Clippers?

Yes, it is possible to injure a dog with clippers if they are not used properly. The blades on clippers are sharp and can potentially cut or nick the skin, especially in sensitive areas or where the skin is close to the surface.

This is more likely to happen if you’re using clippers without a guard or if you’re not experienced in grooming dogs.

Clippers can also cause irritation if used too aggressively or for too long in one area, as the friction can generate heat and potentially burn your dog’s skin.

Furthermore, if the clippers are not properly maintained and cleaned, they can harbor bacteria that could lead to infections if the skin is accidentally cut.

Additionally, the noise and vibration of the clippers can be scary for some dogs, causing stress and anxiety. In extreme cases, a frightened dog may try to escape or struggle, which could lead to accidental injury.

Should Dog Clippers Be Wet or Dry?

Dog clippers should be used on dry hair. Wet hair can make it more difficult for the clippers to work effectively and may result in an uneven cut.

Additionally, most dog clippers are not designed to be used on wet hair, and doing so could potentially damage the device.

Before you begin clipping your dog’s hair, make sure their coat is completely dry. You should also ensure that their coat is clean and free from mats or tangles.

Using clippers on dirty or tangled hair can dull the blades more quickly and make the grooming process more difficult.

After each grooming session, it’s important to clean the clippers to remove any accumulated hair or dirt.

This helps keep the blades sharp and prolongs the life of the clippers. However, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning to avoid causing any damage.

Difference Between Dog Grooming Clippers And Regular Clippers?

Here are the main differences between dog grooming clippers and regular clippers:

Design and Purpose

Dog grooming clippers are specifically designed for the type, texture, and density of dog fur. They’re made to handle a variety of coats, from short and fine to long and thick.

Regular (human) hair clippers, on the other hand, are designed for the finer, less dense hair found on the human scalp.

Noise and Vibration

Dog grooming clippers are generally quieter and produce less vibration. This is important because dogs can be sensitive to loud noises and vibrations, which can cause them stress or anxiety.

Regular clippers tend to be louder and may vibrate more, which may scare or discomfort a dog.

Blade Variety

Dog grooming clippers often come with a wider variety of blade options to accommodate different coat types and lengths.

Regular clippers usually have fewer blade options as human hair doesn’t vary as much in texture or length.

Safety Features

Dog grooming clippers often have safety features like guards and combs to help prevent nicks and cuts. They’re designed with the understanding that dogs might move around during grooming.

Regular clippers may not have these safety features, as they’re designed for use on humans who can understand instructions and remain still during grooming.

What Not To Cut When Grooming a Dog?

When grooming a dog, you should not cut:

The Quick of the Nails

The quick is the sensitive part of a dog’s nail that contains blood vessels and nerves. Cutting into the quick can cause pain and bleeding.

If you are unsure about where the quick ends, it’s better to trim less or seek help from a professional groomer or vet.

Inner Ear Hair

While some breeds may require plucking of ear hair, you should never cut hair inside your dog’s ears yourself. Incorrectly doing so can lead to infections or injuries. Always consult with a vet or professional groomer for this task.


Never attempt to cut your dog’s eyelashes. Not only do they serve a purpose in protecting your dog’s eyes from debris, but cutting them could also potentially harm your dog’s eyes.


A dog’s whiskers are sensory tools that help them navigate their environment, especially in low light. Cutting them can disorient your dog and make them feel less secure.

Anal Glands

Never attempt to express your dog’s anal glands yourself unless instructed by a vet. Incorrect handling can lead to discomfort, injury, or infection.


Q: How do I use a dog clipper guard?

A: Using a dog clipper guard is fairly simple. First, attach the desired guard size to the clipper according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Then, run the clipper along your dog’s fur in the direction of hair growth, ensuring an even and smooth cut.

Q: What are the benefits of using a dog clipper guard?

A: Using a dog clipper guard helps to prevent cutting your dog’s skin by providing a barrier between the blade and the skin. It also allows for more control over the length of the hair being trimmed, ensuring a more uniform and professional-looking cut.

Q: Can I use human clippers on my dog?

A: It is not recommended to use human clippers on your dog. Dog clippers are specifically designed to be safe and effective for cutting dog’s hair, whereas human clippers may not have the necessary features or blade sizes for the task.

Q: How often should I groom my dog with clippers?

A: The frequency of grooming your dog with clippers depends on several factors such as the breed, type of coat, and personal preference. In general, dogs with longer hair or those prone to matting may require more frequent grooming, while dogs with shorter hair may need less frequent grooming.

Q: Can I use dog clippers on a wet dog?

A: It is not recommended to use dog clippers on a wet dog. Wet hair can make it more difficult to achieve an even cut as the clippers may snag or pull on the hair. It is best to dry your dog’s coat thoroughly before using clippers.

Q: How do I choose the right dog clipper for my pet?

A: When choosing a dog clipper, consider factors such as the size and type of your dog’s coat, your grooming needs, and your level of experience. It is advisable to choose a clipper with adjustable blade sizes and a detachable guard system for versatility.

Q: Can I use dog clippers on other pets?

A: Dog clippers are specifically designed for cutting dog’s hair and may not be suitable for other pets. Different animals may have different coat types and thicknesses, so it is recommended to use clippers specifically designed for each type of pet.

Q: Are there any safety precautions I should take when using dog clippers?

A: Yes, there are several safety precautions to take when using dog clippers. Always ensure that the clipper is in good working condition, properly lubricated, and the blade is sharp. Take care not to pull or tug on your dog’s hair, and avoid sensitive areas such as ears, paws, and genitals.

Q: How can I maintain my dog clippers?

A: To maintain your dog clippers, regularly clean the blade and oil the moving parts as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Remove any hair or debris from the clipper after each use. It is also recommended to have the blades sharpened or replaced as needed to ensure optimal performance.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, while it is technically possible to use dog clippers without a guard, it’s generally not recommended unless you have experience and a steady hand.

The risk of causing injury or discomfort to your dog is significantly higher without a guard. Always prioritize your pet’s safety and comfort during grooming sessions.

If you’re unsure, seek advice from professional groomers or consider using their services to ensure a safe and comfortable grooming experience for your dog.

Please take the time and leave a comment below if this article helped you, or you have any additional questions.

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