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How to Trim Your Dog’s Face Hair with Scissors

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If your dog has long face hair, trimming it is a matter of hygiene and safety. You'll need to learn how to trim your dog's face hair with scissors, as clippers move too fast and could really hurt your pet in this sensitive area.

Why Trim Hair on a Dog's Face

You probably don't have to worry about this with short hair breed. However, many small breeds, including the Pekingese, Yorkshire Terrier and Maltese (among others), need their face hair trimmed on a regular basis. While cutting this hair will give your dog a more pleasing appearance, it's even more necessary for the dog's overall health and well-being.

The hair on your dog's face could irritate the dog's eyes if left untrimmed. If allowed to grow long enough, hair could poke the dog's eyeball, causing scratches or eye irritation, which can then lead to eye infections. It also makes it much easier for dust, dirt or debris to get into your dog's eyes. Finally, if you don't trim face hair on your pet, it may also result in the development of tear stains.

Likewise, long hair around a dog's muzzle needs to be trimmed too. When your dog eats and drinks, this long face hair gets saturated with water, and bits of food can get stuck in it. This forms a breeding ground for bacteria and it's unhygienic. Learning how to trim a dog's face hair with scissors is essential in keeping your dog clean, healthy and pretty.

How to Trim Your Dog's Face Hair with Scissors

How to Trim Your Dog's Face Hair with Scissors

1. Get the Right Tool(s)

When attempting to cut a dog's face hair with scissors, you'll need to be extremely careful, so it's important that you choose the right tool.

As you'll see in my video above, I personally recommend using a small pair of pet grooming scissors, my favorite being Scaredy Cut. It's imperative that you use a pair of dog grooming scissors and not just any old pair you have lying around your office.

The reason being is that pet grooming scissors have a serrated edge that grips the fine hair of your dog's face to allow for easier cutting. They also have rounded tips, which reduce the likelihood that you'll injure a dog while clipping the dog's face hair.

Scaredy Cut scissors I use to trim my dogs' face hair.
Scaredy Cut scissors I use to trim my dogs' face hair.

While you can technically use dog hair clippers to perform this grooming task, it's much more dangerous than using scissors. It's also likely that your pet won't like the vibration and buzzing noise of the clippers, especially when they're that close to their face. Scissors are a much smarter and safer choice, but you still need to be very careful.

2. Prepare the Dog for the Process

There really is no secret to learning how to trim a dog's face hair with scissors. If you want a certain style, that may take some practice. But if you just want to keep the hair trimmed, remember to use the right tools, work very slowly and be patient.

As I mention in my video, our Saddie is well-tempered and lets me do almost anything to her when it comes to grooming. If your dog is a little more feisty, you may need to first find ways to keep them calm and also ask someone to help you restrain the dog, or use a muzzle during the face trimming procedure.

If your dog is as gentle as my Saddie, you should be able to hold their muzzle firmly while you're cutting the dog's face hair to keep them from moving. So before you even begin grooming, test this without scissors and see how your dog behaves.

You should also allow the dog plenty of time to sniff and check out the scissors that you'll be using. He'll likely want to sniff them for a while, and he may even try to lick them. Do not rush this part of the process because it's crucial to keep your pooch calm.

3. Start Trimming the Hair Around the Dog's Eyes

Once your dog is used to the scissors and seems to be calm, you can begin by trimming the hair around the dog's eyes.

As I said, you want to work very slowly and be patient. Start with the hair between his eyes, and then slowly trim the hair around his eyes, and finally the hair that hangs down over the dog's eyes.

Try to keep the length consistent.

You need to pull the hair away from the eye and position your hand to block the hair from falling into your dog's eye. If the hair is very close to their eye or already touching it, use a fine-toothed comb to pull the hair away from the eye before cutting it.

Note: You want to try to leave about 1/4″ of hair. This is short enough to keep the hair from bothering the dog's eyes, but not so short that you risk snipping the dog's skin. Depending on the breed of dog, you may want to trim a little further out around his forehead and under his eyes as well.

Trim Around the Dog's Muzzle

4. Trim Around the Dog's Muzzle

Once you've finished trimming around your dog's eyes, you can move down and start working around the dog's muzzle. You'll need to trim any long hair that is poking your dog's nose or hanging down over it.

Do NOT trim the dog's whiskers!

Dogs use their whiskers as a sixth sense to feel things close to their face. While it won't hurt the dog to cut the whiskers (and they will grow back), it's best to leave his whiskers in tact – there's no reason to trim them at all.

Now, work around the dog's mouth to cut any long hairs, and then move down to the dog's chin. If your dog has a beard, like many Terrier breeds, you can cut it all the same length or trim it into any shape you like. Just, once again, work very slowly and be very careful not to get too close to the dog's skin.

5. Give Your Dog Breaks and Rewards

When you're learning how to trim your dog's face hair with scissors, it's important to remember to give your pet a break every few minutes, or even sooner if your pooch seems to be getting impatient.

Holding your dog's head still will be uncomfortable for them, even if he doesn't show it. Personally, I recommend that you cut for about 2-4 minutes and then give your dog a break for about 2 minutes.

Also, be sure to praise your dog throughout the hair cutting process for a job well done. He's a lot more apt to sit patiently if he knows he's doing what you want him to do. Don't forget to give him a treat and a lot of praise when the job is done. In between breaks and at the end of the face grooming session are probably the best times for a treat reward.

6. Best Dog Grooming Scissors for Trimming Face Hair

As mentioned, Scaredy Cut are my personal favorite pet grooming scissors for trimming hair around a dog's face – they're comfortable, effective and affordable.

However, there are a few other options, cheaper and more expensive, and with different designs. There are also kits which I would recommend that would include a comb, grooming glove and a few other tools which can be useful for working around a dog's face. Below are five of my favorite best dog grooming tools for trimming pet's face.

READ NEXT: Dog Grooming Schedule – How Often Should I Groom My Dog?

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