Clipper combs for dogs: when to use them & other tips

by | Blog, How-to & Guides

DIY dog grooming not only saves you money… it also gives you that certain rewarding feeling. And, as I’ve mentioned before, it helps you bond even closer with your pet.

It can sure feel confusing, though. What often puzzles people are clipper combs for dogs, how they exactly work, and how they compare to dog clipper blades.

Let’s clarify things a bit, shall we?

I’ll focus on the most convenient combs for dog hair. That would be the snap on type, with this Andis’ set being their best representative.

When is it better to use dog grooming combs?

Snap on combs (sometimes referred as dog clipper guards too) are generally a safer approach to controlling the length of your pet’s hair.

If you’re a total beginner, a DIY grooming session with your pooch might make you feel anxious. What if you hurt your dog?

That’s why some people tend to steer away from cutting dog hair with naked blades until they feel more confident.

Snap-on combs are attached to the clipper’s blade end. This means they “soften” the cutting edge with their plastic.

Even if your hand slips or your technique isn’t that great, you shouldn’t be able to poke your pet and hurt them. In this sense, attachment guards are a beginner-friendly starting point to proper pet grooming.

You would also want to use snap-on combs when you want to leave more hair on your dog’s body. It’s no secret naked blades cut quite close to the skin which might be too much for some breeds.

I can’t know what breed your dog is, but in some cases, going with snap-on combs is the better choice even if you’re a pro DIY groomer.

Are all snap on combs the same?

Not really. I mean, the top 3 brands – Oster, Andis and Wahl, all have their snap combs for pro dog grooming tools.

Where things get different is the material they’re made of.

Andis pet grooming comb attachments are the most diverse bunch. You have the standard plastic combs, but you can also get chrome or stainless steel snap on sets.

Wahl don’t fall behind either and their stainless steel combs are outstanding:

Honestly, if you have the opportunity, I recommend always picking the steel clipper combs for dogs.

They attach more securely to the blade which means they won’t slip/move while you’re grooming your dog. This allows for more comfortable, more precise grooming sessions.

Keep in mind that combs can be used across clipper brands!

So for example, Wahl’s set can be used over Andis’ pet clipper blades. Andis recommend using snap on combs on their #10 size blade, while Wahl recommends using their #30 size blade for optimum results.

When to use blades instead of comb attachments for dog clippers

There are some limitations to clipper combs for dogs. First, using them over blades that leave hair shorter is your best option. That would be #30 or #40 blades, leaving hair at 1/50″ or 1/100″ respectively.

Most clippers come with a #10 blade (1/16″.) Snap on combs perform somewhat okay with a #10 blade or lower, but they aren’t the most optimal solution. At that point, just going with naked blades is a better option.

Also, let’s get this clear: dog clipper comb attachments have nothing on pure blades on breeds with thicker hair.

If your dog has matted hair, you not only want to have the proper clippers for that. You also want to skip on the snap on combs, because they’ll just get stuck in the tangles.

Even the sturdier steel combs can’t take on matted hair with good results. You’ll be left frustrated with a pooch that’s not properly groomed at all.

Combs aren’t that great for sanitary areas either. I know you might be scared about poking around there, but sanitary and intimate areas are best kept quite short. Dog guards will keep in your way in this case.

Here’s a great video that elaborates further on snap on combs and how/when to use them:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQ9CO1RgJuM

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