Razor burn is a form of skin irritation caused by shaving the skin. It usually has a rash-like appearance; its symptoms may include burning, itching, redness, and stinging.
Dogs can get razor burns on the legs, armpits, or face after you shave those parts of their body. Take care of how you groom your dog to help reduce the frequency of razor burn on its skin.
Razor burn can be unattractive. It will usually go away on its own, but there are some steps you can take to help skin heal more quickly and prevent future incidents.
Read on to learn more about canine razor burn and its remedies.
Why do Dogs Get Razor Burns?
Dogs get razor burn for many reasons; for instance, a dull blade drags against the dog’s skin and pulls the hair, irritating the skin. When a groomer uses a dull blade, they’ll push harder to make the blade work, pulling at the dog’s fur instead of cutting it.
Overheated clippers can also cause razor burn too. Friction between their moving parts can cause the blades to get hot.
Good groomers shut the clippers off periodically to let them cool down. Groomers also oil clippers to reduce friction. But if they don’t do these things often enough, the overheated parts of the clippers can touch your dog’s skin and burn it.
Clipping too close to the dog’s skin can also cause razor burn. And some dogs have very sensitive skin.
Remedies for Canine Razor Burn
Check & Clean Your Dog’s Razor Burn
If your dog develops a skin issue after shaving, razor burn is the likely cause.
You can treat the razor burn at home; however, if the burn is oozing blood or other fluids, best to take your dog to the vet.
If you’ve decided to treat the razor burn at home, you should clean the affected area and apply a dressing. You’ll also have to keep your dog from making it worse by preventing him from scratching, rubbing, or licking the burn.
Rinse the irritated skin with cool, clean water and gently pat it dry.
Using Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe vera gel is a great, natural remedy for canine razor burn. Remember that aloe vera gels are safe for your dog, but never apply aloe vera straight from the aloe leaf, as this could be harmful if the dog ingests it. Pure aloe contains saponins, which can be harmful if ingested.
Vetericyn contains hypochlorous acid and is excellent for treating razor burns on dogs, cats, horses, and other animals. It doesn’t sting and can also be used safely around your dog’s eyes, ears, and mouth.
Using Antibiotic Ointments
You can safely use triple antibiotic ointments like Neosporin. Use the antibiotic ointment instead of the cream because the creams contain more additives. Please do not use ointments containing painkillers, as they can make your dog sick.
Protect the razor burn
An Elizabethan or E collar is the best way to cut off a dog’s access to the razor burn. You can buy the collar at a pet supply store. Pet stores also sell inflatable collars like the Kong Cloud.
Inflatable collars won’t block a dog’s vision as the cone-shaped E collars do. Plus, they’re soft, pliable, and more comfortable than E collars.
Call the Vet
When you discover razor burn after bringing your pet home from the vet, you need to call them to know what you can do about it. The vet will know what the best ointment to put on it is. You don’t want to apply something that might react with medication or infect a sensitive area.
Soothe the Razor Burn
The main thing is to soothe the burn and prevent the dog from further irritating the skin by rubbing, scratching, or licking. Further scratching can cause it to bleed and scab, a cycle that might lead to infection.
Some people use an antibiotic ointment (Neosporin), but ensure your dog has no allergies. Your vet may also have some good recommendations.
What Steps Can I Take to Treat Razor Burn?
Besides quick remedies, you can follow a proper treatment plan to fix your dog’s razor burn. Below are the steps you can take.
Keep the area dry. Typically, razor burns heal quickest when dry and open to the air. If the affected area is moist or damp, that could cause an infection or irritation.
Poke a hole in a vitamin E capsule and rub its contents on the area. Vitamin E is a natural skin remedy and should be applied daily until the irritation resolves. Lanolin is another natural ointment for razor burns that you should use daily until the burn heals.
Next, rub an over-the-counter steroid cream on the burn to soothe and help heal the area. Use the cream daily until the burn is gone.
Note: Buy products designed specifically for soothing razor burn and use them on the affected spots per the product’s directions. Pet stores usually sell these creams and gels. And you can find these products in the grooming or shampoo sections.
How to Prevent Future Razor Burns?
You can prevent future burns by learning to groom your canine safely.
You will need shaving clippers, a comb that attaches to the shaving clipper, a brush, and lubricant. Buy shaving clippers designed for dogs at a pet shop or grooming store.
Test the various electric clippers available to see how loud they are if you know that your dog is startled by loud noises. Pick one that doesn’t make much noise.
Buy an E comb. It leaves an inch of hair, which is the recommended length.
Keep the shaving clippers cool.
It is easy for a shaving clipper to overheat, burning your dog. Take frequent breaks to cool down the razor. Apply the lubricant on the clipper to prevent the device from overheating.
Clean your dog’s hair.
Clumps and knots in your dog’s hair make it hard for the clippers to cut without pulling, which can be very painful for your dog and difficult for you. Wash and brush your dog to get tangles out of its hair and prepare it for shaving.
Restrain your dog by its collar.
You have to prevent your dog from moving while you shave it. If your dog is fussy about grooming, have a second person around to secure and distract the dog.
Shave with the hairline. Shaving against the hairline can result in razor burn. Use slow, gentle strokes.
Start with sensitive areas.
Your dog might get more impatient as time progresses. Begin with the hard-to-get areas and then move on to the easier areas.
Begin shaving the head, behind the head, underarms, under-tail, behind the head, back, sides, and belly.
Unless your dog is calm, you should skip its face altogether. Even then, stay at least an inch away from the eyes while shaving.
Shave the underarms.
When your dog is standing, lift its arm in a comfortable position. Shave under one arm and repeat with the other arm.
Shave the groin.
Lift your dog’s legs as if it were going to the bathroom. Shave underneath the legs. Shaving here makes it less likely that your dog will have urine soaking into its fur.
Shave the bottom.
Raise your dog’s tail and shave around the bottom to keep it clean when it goes to the bathroom. Be careful here too.
Shave the rest of the dog’s body.
Start behind the dog’s head and go down the neck to the back and both sides. Shave the dog’s belly carefully, and remember to shave away from your hand.
Additional Tips to Prevent Razor Burns
- Sharpen your razor: If you’re shaving or trimming your dog’s fur at home, you should always sharpen the razor before each use to prevent pulling and snagging, which can lead to razor burns. If you need to replace your shaver, don’t hesitate to do so.
- Clean your shaving clipper: Never use a dirty razor on your dog. You should always wash and remove any fur on it after each use. Otherwise, the shaving clipper will snag and cause burns on your pet’s skin.
- Know your dog’s skin: Sometimes, no matter how sharp your shaving clipper is, your dog can still develop razor burns because of sensitive skin. Talk with your veterinarian for sensitive skin advice.
- Moisturize your dog’s skin: Keeping your dog’s skin soft and moisturized will reduce its susceptibility to razor burns. A proper diet and nourishing dog shampoo are just some ways to keep your dog’s skin healthy and moisturized.
What shampoo can I use to soothe a dog’s irritated skin?
Bathe your dog in shampoo containing oatmeal to soothe irritated skin. Use warm or cool water and completely wash off any shampoo. Follow the directions on the shampoo bottle for how long to let it soak and how often it is safe to use.
How long does dog razor burn last on the groin area?
Razor burn can last around two to three days on the groin area. Properly treating the area can help relieve symptoms more quickly. You can apply aloe vera, use cold compresses, and treat with emollient creams or lotions.
What does dog razor burn look like?
Razor burn will typically appear as a red rash. Your dog may also develop one or more red bumps. The bumps may feel like they’re “burning” and be tender to the touch. These symptoms occur anywhere that you shave your dog.
Can I use Vaseline on my dog’s razor burn?
It’s best not to put any petroleum-based jelly on your dog. When your dog is itchy, red, flaky, or bumpy, it’s always best to consult your vet for proper treatment. This oil-based salve is suitable for human use only, so stick to all-natural topical ointments made for dogs.