Dog Clipper Combs: How & When to Use Them

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With more and more cities going in quarantine, I’ve seen a lot of pet owners opting for DIY dog grooming using dog clippers. Local salons are closed for some. Others just want to learn how to cut their dog’s hair to save money.

 

Wahl Kit Combs

Wahl combs

Snap on, secure fit & stainless steel precision. 8 combs to cover various lengths up to 1″.

 

Oster Combs for Dogs

Oster dog combs

More diversity with 10 sizes to use on your dog. Great for longer cuts as the guards go up to 2″.

 

There are two main things that confuse newcomers about dog clippers:

  • Dog grooming combs and their sizes.
  • The difference between clipper combs vs blades for pets.

Let’s take a look. I’ll discuss dog clipper comb attachments from the big three – Wahl, Andis, and Oster.

Generally, I’ve found Wahl’s dog clipper comb attachments to be the best. First, they also fit both Andis and Oster clippers. Second, they’re snap-on guards made of stainless steel. Meaning, they don’t slip like plastic combs.

Wahl Kit Combs

Wahl combs

Snap on, secure fit & stainless steel precision. 8 combs to cover various lengths up to 1″.

 

Feel free to navigate to whichever part of the guide interests you the most.

Using dog clipper combs for dog grooming:
Why and when?

This is a pretty valid question. You already have so many different blade sizes…Why would you supplement these with guards?

The first reason is your pet’s safety. Clipper blades can get hot when you groom for a longer time. Additionally, they can be quite sharp.

Pair that with an anxious pet that doesn’t stay put during the grooming session…For the newcomer, this can be a total nightmare:

What if you poke the skin beneath that coat with a pointy blade?

Dog grooming comb attachments minimize the risk of hurting your dog. They snug right onto the blade and control the length of the cut, all the while softening its sharpness. They also help with dissipating blade heat.

Simply said, dog clipper guards are the safer way to learn the ropes of dog grooming for both DIYers and beginner stylists. They also achieve a softer, blending-style finish.

There’s a catch, though: they’re limited by their maximum length. These Oster pet combs leave hair the longest at 2″, while Andis and Wahl dog guards max at 1″.

Oster Combs for Dogs

Oster dog combs

More diversity with 10 sizes to use on your dog. Great for longer cuts as the guards go up to 2″.

 

Remember that these inches indicate the amount of hair left on your pet after using them.

In that sense, you can’t really use combs for sanitary/surgical cut areas. You’ll have to go for the close-cutting naked blades.

Another issue with comb attachments is they don’t deal well with undercoats.

If there are any mats, tangles or dead undercoats, you have to first remove them using a naked blade. Otherwise, the remaining hair will jam the gap between the blade and the comb.

The result would be uneven cuts and the comb teeth snagging hair.

Once you’ve taken care of the undercoat, clipper combs for dogs actually ensure a more proportionate cut! Combined with the safety element, this is why I’d recommend them for beginners.

dog grooming with dog clipper

Snap on comb attachments across brands:
Wahl, Andis and Oster

All three brands have versatile guards for dog hair. As I mentioned before, though, I think currently Wahl’s pet combs are the best.

Let’s start with them, before moving to Andis and Oster.

Wahl has two sets of dog clipper attachments:

Both sets include 8 combs, ranging from 1/8″ to 1″ in terms of length.

Wahl Combs Pet

Important: Never use the #3390-100 combs with any #40 size blade. They’re not compatible and violating this will hurt your pet.

You can safely use them with:

  • #10, #15 and #30 size blades for optimal performance (or other sizes too).
  • Both Andis and Oster dog clippers like the classic Andis AGC2 or Oster A5.

These are the go-to guards on Wahl’s models like the KM10, KM2, Stable Pro and Power Grip.

Andis dog clipper comb attachments for dogs used to be more diverse. You could pick steel guards, chrome-plated ones, or plastic combs.

For some reason, you can only get these plastic attachments for pets right now.

The good news is: they’re cheap. The bad news is…they’re way flimsier than Wahl or Oster combs.

Once again, they fit with #10, #15 and #30 blade sizes, as well as #9. You can use them on any detachable blade clipper from Wahl and Oster too.

Andis Pet Combs Kit

Compared to Wahl, the set of comb attachments has 9 sizes: 1/16″, 1/8″, 3/16″, 1/4″, 5/16″, 3/8″, 7/16″, 1/2″ and 9/16″.

Oster combs for dogs (check them here) are famous due to the brand’s legendary A5 clipper.

The biggest benefit here is two very important factors to consider:

  • You get a bigger kit of 10 stainless steel combs.
  • Oster attachments go from 1/16″ to 2″, covering more coat lengths.

There’s a downside to that…

Oster’s guards for dogs don’t fit Wahl or Andis clippers snugly at all. Forget about optimal interchangeability between models here.

Quick note:
Blade sizes pet combs usually deal with

Most detachable blade clippers for dog grooming are equipped with a #10 blade. This one leaves pet hair at 1/16” or 1.5mm. While attachments also work well with #9 blades, anything shorter might not be as optimal.

I’d like to talk about the three ‘standard’ blade sizes you see recommended in most kits of dog grooming attachments.

While the #10 blade size is the same across all brands, there are some differences with the #30 and #40 blades.

For #30 dog clipper blades: Andis and Oster products leave hair at 1/50″ or 0.5mm. Wahl leaves fur at 1/32″ or 0.8mm, so a little longer.

For #40 blades: Andis and Oster are at 1/100″ (0.25mm), Wahl’s catalogue points at 3/128″ or 0.6mm on their Ultimate/Competition series.

How to use snap-on guards:
A nice video!

A picture’s worth a thousand words…And a video much, much more. Comb attachments are perfect for dealing with short to medium coats or breeds like poodles who have a single coat without any undercoat issues.

Here’s one of my favorite videos on techniques and methods you can use while learning how to DIY your affectionate pooch!

If during quarantine you’re also considering cutting your own (or your family’s hair), remember that dog clippers and human hair clippers differ a bit. Focusing on Oster’s clippers, I have a special guide on blade lengths for human hair you can check out!

How To Take Care of Your Dog Clipper Combs

Every tool needs to be taken care of to ensure its longevity and improve its functionality. The same case goes for dog clipper combs. As a professional groomer, you need to take care of your clipper combs to ensure that they can serve you for long.

Oil The Hinges

The first thing to do is to oil the hinges. Once you have used the dog clipper combs for some time, they’ll begin to feel tight. Although this is not bad, the tightness can make it challenging to change the clippers. 

To work properly and avoid bad service, apply a clipper oil drop or two to ensure the hinges are moving and working properly. 

Keep The Combs Clean

It is not hygienic to keep the combs with all the matted hair on them. The matted hair is not only unsanitary but can also reduce the quality of the cutting blade. This is especially true if you use metal clipping blades, which can erode the teeth and the clipper combs’ hinges. 

Hair is acidic, so if you store your clipper combs with hair on it, the hair can do a number on your combs. 

Moreover, the hair can carry some bacteria, which can be hazardous, especially for professional dog groomers. The bacteria can transfer a rash from one dog to another if you do not clean your clipper combs. 

Cleaning should be part of your daily routine to keep the bacteria at bay. In addition, some soaps and sprays have antimicrobial properties that help keep the blades free of bacteria. 

When Is It Better to Use Dog Grooming Combs?

Dog clipper guards or snap-on combs are a safer method of controlling the length of your pet’s hair.

This is important, especially if you are a beginner and do not feel confident enough as you are afraid of hurting your beloved dog.

Steering away from using naked blades is recommended until you’re accustomed to it. On top of that, grooming your dog free-hand is tricky as the animal can be fidgeting, creating room for error.

The grooming process is not easy; it takes years of experience before you can do what professional groomers can. 

The good news is that clipper combs can help rid you of the fear of hurting your dog or messing with its fur. 

The snap-on combs are fixed to the clipper’s blade end. This helps soften the cutting edge as it’s made of plastic. 

A comb attachment will be a sure way of giving your pet an even proportionate cut all-around. If you desire your puppy’s coat length to be somewhere under 2 inches, you just need to snap on a comb and start clipping. This way, you won’t overdo the clipping. 

In addition, the clipper guards can be useful when you want to leave more hair on your pup’s body. However, naked blades can cut quite close to the dog’s skin, which can be risky if your cutting technique is not that good. 

Even if you’re a pro DIY groomer, the snap-on combs will be suitable as some dog breeds don’t feel very comfortable with the blades close to their skin, making them fidget even more. 

There are 3 top brands of snap combs for pro dog grooming tools. They include Oster, Andis, and Wahl. No matter which you pick, these three brands are ideal as they are durable and comfortable on your pet’s skin. 

On top of that, Oster, Andis, and Wahl snap-on combs are ideal for dogs with matted or thick fur. Their teeth don’t bend, making them glide much better. 

 Conclusion

Grooming your pouch is not easy, especially if you’ve had no training. In addition, proper tools must be used to ensure your pet’s safety and for beautiful fur on your pet. However, with proper training and tools like the ones reviewed above, I believe you will do a decent job of ensuring your dog’s fur is short, neat, and clean.