Tools for Dog Grooming at Home

What to do when your dog grooming scissors go dull.

Q. I need a new pair of good dog grooming scissors. I’ve taught myself how to groom my dogs because I have Miniature Schnauzer rescue dogs and I just can’t afford to have them groomed professionally. I’ve had to teach myself how to cut these guys, so I bought a set of clippers and a set scissors. The clipper blades are replaceable, but now my scissors are dull and either need to be sharpened or replaced. Are these worth getting sharpened? What is the best way to get this done?

A. Dog grooming scissors come in a wide variety of styles and prices. Most of the ones used by professional dog groomers are made from stainless or carbon steel. I recommend you purchase your shears from one of the online grooming supply houses that cater to the grooming trade rather than a hardware, sporting goods, or discount chain store.

While prices vary widely, you can get top-quality shears for under $100 and many good-quality brands cost less than $50. For the basics, you will need an 8 ½ -inch straight shear and a one-sided thinning shear. I could not be without my curved-blade shears for rounding feet and I also like blunt-tipped, curved scissors for safe trimming around sensitive areas. I would also invest in a #30 clipper blade and a set of snap-on combs that attach to it to make trimming those Schnauzer legs faster and easier. We use the clipper/comb in the direction the hair grows, evening up the end result with our shears.

Once your scissors become dull, they need to be professionally sharpened by a trained technician with the proper equipment. Most use a grinding wheel but many top groomers prefer a method called flat honing to give a sharper edge to their best scissors. Professional sharpening usually costs $5 to $15 per shear but it is well worth it. Dull scissors fold the hair rather than cutting it and won’t produce the results you want to keep your Schnauzers looking sharp. Regularly cleaning your shears with a soft cloth and blade wash or oil-based cleaner and storing them in their cases when not in use will keep them from rusting and help them stay sharper longer.

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