Sunday, April 4, 2010

Summer Haircuts for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and Other Dogs and Cats – Do It Yourself with These Helpful Tools

Summer is almost here. That means Toby is soon going to need a trimming to avoid his fur getting clogged with weeds, burs, and tangles. And the cat, Sedgwick, has just gotten her summer shave since she is such a furball and sheds like CRAZY once the temperature rises above 60 degrees! Here are some of the tools and resources I like to use when trimming the pets:



First, you need to get an electric shaver designed for pets. It may seem cheaper to use an electric razor designed for humans, but trust me, for some reason this doesn’t work. Many years ago I tried to shave a pekingese with a regular shaver and it died before the dog was half-done! I also recommend getting a set like this one, that has multiple different attachments. Especially if you have never groomed your dog yourself, you can’t really be sure what kind of attachment will be best for the texture of the dog’s fur and the length you ultimately want it to be. Buying a set like this really doesn’t cost any more than just buying the shaver, and it lets you experiment a little or have the fur on some areas of the body longer than on other areas. Oh, and it may seem easier to just shave the dog without an attachment, but don’t try it – this will result in a nearly BALD DOG!!

This set is also nice because it includes scissors and a comb. It’s nice to have a dedicated set just for the dog. And it’s amazing what a difference a nice set of trimming shears makes!


On the topic of shears, one thing that I am considering investing in is a set of blending scissors. I got this idea at MY latest haircut, and I think it would be perfect for feathering a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel’s ears and the fur on the backs of the legs. These special scissors result in fur (or hair) that is a variety of lengths instead of one blunt line. Both from experience and seeing other Cavs out and about, the one most obvious tell-tale sign of home haircuts on a Cavalier is the blunt cut line on areas of the fur that are naturally feathered. A set of blending shears would make the cut MUCH more professional.

That said, when I searched for blending shears for dogs, this is what I came up with. Now, it is nice and all, especially the pretty pink color, but that price seems outrageous! Maybe if you are a professional dog groomer it would be a worthwhile investment, but unlike in the case of the electric razor, I think here it is best to borrow a tool intended to be used on human hair:


Twenty bucks – that’s more like it! And it is a trusted brand, Tweezerman. You can get even cheaper shears, but like I said before, really nice scissors make a big difference when cutting hair (or fur).

Finally, I think a dog grooming book may be helpful, especially if you are really trying to get a trim that looks the way a Cavalier is supposed to look according to breed standards. Also if you have multiple breeds and want to know different techniques for trimming each breed. Now, a Cavalier is only supposed to have minimal trimming, so I think the advice in a professional book like this would be useful to avoid going overboard. And other breeds require much more complicated cuts, making a guide like this essential.

Hopefully this information helps you get all your pets ready for summer! Pictures of Toby and Sedgwick with their new haircuts are, of course, forthcoming!