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help me understand "clipper burn"

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  • help me understand "clipper burn"

    ok I understand clipper burn to be when the blade gets hot and "burns" the skin.
    but it seems like the term clipper burn is thrown around quite loosly and everything that irritates a dogs skin is "clipper burn" .from pokey hairs that bother the skin it touches to freshly clipped to shaved out matts that had irritaion under it already.clipper burn is a burn .......from a hot blade ........................right?

  • #2
    I think most people refer to the red irritation that can occur when hair is shaved especially close. Kind of like people can be prone to when using a straight razor. I always thought it was called clipper burn because it looks like an angry burn. I've never actually heard of a blade heating up so much that it can actually give the dog a real burn. I suppose it could happen but I've certainly never had my blades get that hot.


    • #3
      Originally posted by ferretlov View Post
      ok I understand clipper burn to be when the blade gets hot and "burns" the skin.
      but it seems like the term clipper burn is thrown around quite loosly and everything that irritates a dogs skin is "clipper burn" .from pokey hairs that bother the skin it touches to freshly clipped to shaved out matts that had irritaion under it already.clipper burn is a burn .......from a hot blade ........................right?

      Wrong. Clipper burn is usually a misused term. What should be said is "clipper irritation". Clipping too closely or going over the same area repeatedly is most often what causes "clipper burn". I used to say 'clipper burn' but have really tried to catch myself and use "clipper irritation" instead when I am discusing it w/clients.

      They are less likely to start screaming and throwing vet bills at you if say you "irritated" rather than "burned" their beloved OAY matted
      SheilaB from SC


      • #4
        No, its generally just the same type of rash we can get if we shave our bikini line really close. Just like some people are more sensitive than others, so are some dogs. They can also rash after being shaved with a 40 blade for surgery. You should ask the owner of a new dog if their dog has ever had a rash after grooming before and if so then you can clip with a longer blade or one of the short combs. Most rashy dogs will start to get red skin and show discomfort very quickly after the groom, you can soothe them with various products that close the pores and stop the itching and it will often resolve. Others will be perfectly fine, then go home and scratch themselves silly, sometimes to the point of bleeding. Male dogs with testicles are very sensitive, I always leave a little short hair around the sides, shaving them bald nearly always causes some irritation if they are not used to it. I use the Wahl SS red comb on all my known sensitive dogs and this fixes the problem. Clipper vacs are awesome for avoiding rashes, you can just skim the hair off any length you want it.


        • #5
          no. Clipper burn is a friction burn, not a thermal burn...


          • #6
            actually clipper burn is an irritation caused by a blade. It is the same as a person would get razor burn from a razor. sometimes it is because it is a newly sharpened blade or a dull blade and a groomer constantly goes over that area. Other times it is because the animas skin is not "toughened" up and it is sesitive to being clipped. Now if you have a dog that goes home and rubs it's face all over the carpet because it is itchy and feels different because it is shaved that is not clipper burn that dog has rug burned it's face, but still caused from grooming.


            • #7
              Clipper burn is not from a hot blade, a blade would have to be really really hot and held in the same place to burn skin. Think of razor burn the same you would get from shaving your legs or face. Vets love to use the term clipper burn when treating dogs fresh from the groomer and that's the assumtion alot of the time, clients can come from a vet confused as to why the dogs skin is irritated. A matted sanitary may itch after shaving since the hair has been pulled tight and then suddenly released from the shaving. Clipper burn is more likely to happen when the blade is dull or dirty.

              We had a poodle that the owner would report clipper burn after every groom. We finally told her we would no longer clip the dogs face, we scissored the face and guess what? Still reported clipper burn, apparently after grooming the dog would go home and rub it's face in the carpet irritating it no matter what length we left it. The owner is never unpleasant out it but still wants a shaved face, we do but tell her we won't be responsible for the consequenses.


              • #8
                This term had become a catch all for any skin irritation. If a dog goes to a vet for anything skin related after a grooming it seems that's what the client thinks it is. I don't like the term, I do know that some dogs have a reaction to being taken to short and then will dig at a spot until it appears red and seriously irritated. Sometime going over the same spot on a dog repeatedly will cause the irritation as well. I try not to refer to any skin reaction as clipper burn because it invokes images of heating a blade to red hot and then branding the dog LOL at least in my mind.
                Can your blades become so hot that they do effect the dog, yes, but if you change blades often and let the others cool down before using them again then there shouldn't be any burning. That's why I have so many of each blade. Not sure that helps but in my experience the term clipper burn has become the claim for anything skin related.
                "I've seen a look in dogs' eyes, a quickly vanishing look of amazed contempt,
                and I am convinced that basically dogs think humans are nuts." - John Steinbeck


                • #9
                  Your confusion stems from the fact that clipper "burn" is not caused by a hot blade. It's a friction burn, not a thermal burn.

                  Ever get a carpet burn when you were a kid? Was the carpet hot? No? How about razor burn when shaving your legs? Again, was the razor hot? No? It's the same thing.

                  I've put a blade on my clipper and turned it on, let it run for an hour, just to see if I could get the blade hot enough to actually cause a thermal burn on myself. The results were mixed. If I held the blade right to my skin for any length of time I'd get a red spot. But passing the blade across my skin like you would if you were clipping a dog didn't produce anything.

                  Some dogs just have sensitive skin, and you need to use a longer blade on them. The closer you clip, the more the skin "burns." I've had a few dogs who's skin fired up bright red even when I was using a fresh, cold blade.

                  It's not a thermal burn caused by a hot blade. It's caused by friction when you're clipping really close. And we should stop calling it a burn, and instead call it clipper irritation, because that's what it really is.


                  • #10
                    No, clipper burn is not a burn at all. Just like razor burn on a mans face is not a burn. It's irritation, usually from a pet having sensitive skin and not tolerating being clipped as close in an area as most pets can. Think of rug burn, again, another irritation to the skin but the carpet does not burn the skin with heat. Hope that helps.
                    What a caterpillar considers the end of his world, we call a butterfly.