If your dog comes home from the groomer with razor or clipper burn, you'll want to soothe his irritated skin and make sure the incident doesn't repeat itself. Razor burns will appear as red, welt-like lines across the surface of your dog's skin. They may be sensitive and tender to the touch.
How Clipper Burn Happens
Clipper burns result when blades are too hot, dull or when hair is cut too close to the skin. It can happen in busy grooming salons and vet offices alike. Burns are more likely to occur on areas of your dog that typically are shaved the tightest, such as the rear end and stomach. If your dog recently suffered from diarrhea or anal sac problems, the skin around his hind regions may be raw and sensitive; a hot, close blade can make the problem even worse.
Treating Razor Burn
A variety of commercial products formulated for dogs are on the market. Hydrocortisone creams, antibiotic ointments and specialty razor burn gels are all available in the grooming section of pet stores. Aloe vera and oatmeal baths can soothe irritated skin and make your pup more comfortable. Don't use anything formulated for humans without checking with your vet, as some dyes and perfumes could make your dog sick.
When to See a Vet
If razor burn becomes swollen, oozy or warm to the touch, it could be infected, and require veterinary attention. Left untreated, your dog may lick at his wounds and create open sores or hot spots. Your vet may prescribe antibiotics, stitches, if necessary, and may recommend your pup wear an Elizabethan collar so he doesn't lick the affected area.
Talk to Your Groomer
Reputable, professional groomers want to know if they accidentally gave your pup razor burn, so don't hesitate to talk to them. They may offer soothing medicated balms or washes that can ease the irritation and discomfort. They'll also make note of the issue so a different approach is taken on future visits. If your dog has sensitive skin or skin allergies, let your groomer know that as well.
Prevent Razor Burn at Home
If you clip your own dog at home, be proactive to prevent razor burn. Check the temperature of your blades periodically during each grooming session by touching them to your inner wrist. If they're too hot for you, they're too hot for your pup. Wash and sanitize your clipper blades after every use. If your dog is particularly dirty or extra shaggy, extra clipper washes in a single session may be necessary. Switch out dull blades or you not only risk razor burn, but you may pull your dog's skin, too.