How to Cut Your Dog’s Hair with Scissors at Home

Learning to cut your dog’s hair with grooming scissors is something anyone can do. You just need the correct tools and tips on which scissors to use on the different sections. Cutting your dog’s hair at home is a silent activity, which can help pets that are frightened by the buzz of dog-clippers. So if you can see the benefits of home-grooming, read our guide explaining the best way to cut your dog’s hair at home!



Buy a set of grooming scissors so you have the full range of scissors to do a good job. A full set of grooming tools should include:

  • Straight scissors for general trimming
  • Curved scissors for rounding off the layers
  • Thinning scissors to stop the end of layers looking bulky and for matted hair
  • Round-tipped safety scissor for face and tail

Straight and curved scissors are used to trim the dog’s sides and legs. And rounded safety scissors are used to cut sensitive areas, like the face and tail area. The thinning shears will tackle thick hair and matted sections.

Always keep your scissors well-maintained and sharp, as blunt shears can pull the dog’s hair and cause pain. Scissor-oil is helpful to keep the blades sharp.

Set up a grooming area

Place a mat or length of fabric, like an old towel or sheet on the floor to catch all of the dog’s hair. It makes cleaning up very much easier if you can gather everything up and take it to your outdoor rubbish bin. Set out your dog brushes and scissors within easy reach and have a supply of treats handy to keep your pet happy!

  • It’s easier to brush your dog after a bath, with the hair still a little damp. And you should cut-out any serious knots or matted sections before getting the hair wet.
  • Give the dog’s coat a good brush-through and remove any knots gently, so you don’t pull on the hair-roots and cause pain.
  • If you want to keep your dog’s hair long, you can just trim off hair from the belly and tail. This will remove hair that tends to get tangled into mats.


Use a finger-guide

Decide how short you want to cut the fur. If your dog has long hair and you want to keep it generally long, just trim enough in places that are prone to matting, such as the belly and tail. Use the length of one of your fingers as a guide on how much to cut off each section. This helps keep your cutting even. However, it’s not necessary to cut the hair to the same length all over. You could cut belly hair to half the length you choose for the rest of your pet’s coat.

Cutting tips

  • Set aside plenty of time to cut your dog’s hair, so you can work slowly and calmly
  • Use a comb between scissors and skin to keep the scissors from nicking your dog’s skin
  • Sharp scissors mean you only need a light touch to cut the hair
  • Cut sections you can hold up to the light and see through
  • Thick hair sections that you can’t lift and see light through will be too close to the skin for painless trimming

Start cutting

Use the straight scissors and start cutting around the top of your pet’s neck. Work your way slowly down from front to back, leaving the face and tail for later. When you’ve done that, trim the sides of the belly and then the legs.

Use the curved shears to go back and soften any unnatural-looking, straight edges. You can also thin-out thick fur, after you’ve cut the hair to the length you prefer. Thinning shears leave a natural-looking, uneven edge.

Face, ears & tail

These are the dog’s most sensitive areas, so focus on getting the body hair trimmed first. If your pet is getting too anxious, you can leave the sensitive trimming for another day. Using the round tipped scissors for safety, carefully trim hairs that cover your pet’s eyes. Then trim away excess hair from around the ears and the tail. This will help avoid matted hair knots developing.

Trimming around dog’s paws

Using the round-tipped scissors, start at the back of the feet and work around to the front, so you can see what you’re cutting. Trim near the leg and up to the toes – only cutting hair that stands out past the toes’ edges and soft pad.

It can be a bit nerve-wracking the first time you cut your dog’s hair, but afterwards it will get easier. The most important point is to stay calm and give your pet extra treats and praise throughout the cutting process.