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As the weather gets warmer your pup will be sweltering under all that winter fur. They'll be feeling a little lacklustre from peeking out from under that long, matted barnet, and you'll be fed up of trying to get a comb through it.
It's time to put the spring back in your pet's step and reveal that glossy, streamlined summer coat. Some people choose to pay a professional doggy hairdresser to do the job, but it's easy enough to do yourself so save your cash. Just arm yourself with a pair of dog clippers and unleash your artistic streak!
Why should I clip my dog?
Some dogs don't moult, and if you don't clip them then before too long they'll start looking like Brian May. On a bad hair day. Your dog will get hot and bothered, and so will you as you battle to manage it.
Even dogs that do moult need a little help shifting that excess fur in time for the warmer weather, so most dog owners need a set of dog clippers in the cupboard. Too much hair can cause terrible skin itchiness and dryness, quite often accompanied with a strong pong.
A little off the side sir?
Dog clippers, or trimmers, are much like the ones you'd use on human hair. The rotary motor makes cutting through thick hair an absolute doddle. They are mains powered (if yours is the kind of dog that will sit still for more than five minutes) but they're also cordless so if the mountain won't come to Mohammed...
The cutting edge
Dog trimmers are really easy to use (as long as Fido is feeling suitably cooperative). Firstly, wash the dog and brush out any tangles. Then, run the back blade flat along the body following the direction of the fur. Work methodically, and don't use too much of an angle or too much pressure, and you won't go far wrong. Take care not to pull the hair - be as gentle as you can but stay assertive too.
The most important thing is to keep him safe, so make sure he is comfortable and happy before you start: a doggy chew should help take his mind off things. The more you clip your dog the more compliant he'll become, so get him used to it when he's young. If your dog is prone to delivering the odd nip then a muzzle will help you to stay friends.
A dog clipper set will usually come with an instructional DVD, a pot of clipper oil and several different levels of blades (from 1-4). They should also come with a two-year guarantee. You'll need to take care of them - blunt blades will make the job a lot harder and compromise your dog's safety, so make sure you clean them regularly. If and when they need replacing it's really easy to get hold of new blades.
So go on: transform your dog from a hair scare to a tail wagger with a catwalk swagger!