How to Trim Dog Fur

Trimming your dog's fur at home can save you a fortune on grooming fees.
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Professional dog grooming services can leave your beloved pooch’s fur looking vibrant and stylish. Unfortunately, those same services can also leave your wallet looking pretty empty. Learning how to trim your dog’s fur at home can help maintain his coat’s health and style in between visits to the doggie spa.

Step 1

Choose a coat style for your dog. Remember that not all canine haircuts are created equally. Take your dog’s breed, his fur type, ease of regular maintenance and your own personal preferences into consideration when deciding which style would be most appropriate for your dog. If possible, take him to a professional groomer at least once for advice on which coat style would best suit your furry friend and so that you can see what the cut looks like on him before you attempt to recreate it at home. If you would rather not take your dog to a professional groomer at all, search the Internet for pictures of similar breed dogs to get a visual for the kind of coat style you would like him to have.

Step 2

Gather the right tools for the job. A dog brush is essential. The type of brush you will need depends largely on the type of coat your dog has. Some of the most common types of brushes include slicker brushes, pin brushes, de-shedding tools and metal combs. Seek advice from a professional groomer or do some research to determine which type of brush would be best suited to your dog’s coat. You will also need scissors. Regular scissors are ideal for trimming body hair, but smaller scissors can give you more control on smaller areas like around the ears and paws. Though not required, consider purchasing a grooming table. A grooming table can help elevate your dog to a height that is comfortable for you and keep him secure while you trim.

Step 3

Prepare your dog’s coat for trimming. Bathing and brushing your dog before starting to trim his coat will make your job a lot easier and lead to a more successful trim. A clean, matte-free dog is easier to trim than a dirty dog with tangled fur. Give your dog a bath and then thoroughly comb out his fur.

Step 4

Trim your dog’s fur to the desired coat style. If your dog was professionally groomed in the past, follow the groomer’s lead by trimming along the areas where the fur has started to grow back. Avoid cutting off too much too soon by trimming only a small amount of fur and then repeating to adjust as needed. If your dog has not been professionally groomed, print out a picture of the coat style you are trying to achieve and use it to guide you as you work.

Step 5

Trim the fur on your dog’s paws. Long hair on the paws can be slippery on some surfaces and makes it more difficult for your dog to get up from the floor. Before trimming, gently pull all of the hair upwards through your dog’s toes. As you hold the hair up straight with one hand, use your free hand to cut off the unwanted fur. Hold the paw steady as you work your way around it and avoid getting too close to the skin.

Step 6

Trim the fur around your dog’s ears. Start by brushing the ears in the direction of hair growth to remove any tangles. Gently pull the hair at the edges outward and hold the excess hair between your fingers on one hand. You should be able to feel the edges of the ear on the back of your fingers. Using your other hand, carefully trim the excess hair that sticks out of your fingers. Hold each ear steady as you work your way around it and be careful not to trim too close to the edge of your dog’s ear.


  • Consult a veterinarian if you accidentally nick your dog's skin while trimming.


  • Using one hand to stretch out your dog’s skin and the other to trim can help avoid nicking folds of skin and will help improve the evenness of the cut.

  • To avoid pulling on your dog’s hair too much, trim in the direction of hair growth and make sure the scissors are sharp.

  • Keep your dog as still as possible while trimming and use extra caution when working around sensitive areas like your dog’s ears, nipples and groin. If possible, have a second person help to hold your dog while you focus on trimming.

Items You Will Need

  • Dog brush
  • Scissors