Why is my blade chewing or grabbing, not cutting?
There are a few reasons why a blade might chew or grab instead of cleanly and easily cut through a dog’s coat. The obvious one is that your blade has become dull or blunt with use, however there are other causes to consider. Here are the most likely causes and what you can do to fix them…
1: Your blade is dull / blunt
Obvious one first. Your blade needs sharpening. Even a brand new, sharp dog blade can become dull or blunt much faster than you might think. Here are the 9 reasons why blades becomes dull sooner than expected and how to fix them >
2: Your blade is clogged
If your blade or comb attachment gets clogged with fur as you clip, it won’t be able to cut properly, even if the blade is sharp and the clipper motor has enough power to handle the dog’s coat type.
Before you clip it’s important to remove stuck, dead coat. If this isn’t removed it can clog your equipment and stop it from working properly, making it grab or chew or not cut at all. Trying to clip through that dead coat will also dull or blunt your blade sooner than usual. This step is important for non-shed coat types also, where dead coat does not drop out, and gets stuck in the coat instead.
You can brush out dead, stuck coat out using a slicker brush. You can use a deshed shampoo (like ProGroom Furex 3 step system), to help loosen stuck coat in the bath so it washes out. A proper dog dryer will also blow out stuck, dead coat after bathing. And a tool like a deshedder can be used before or after the bath, before you clip. A deshedder can also be used at any time to thin thick non-shed coats, to remove undercoat, and for shedding coat types to reduce shedding by up to 90%.
3: You’re clipping before the bath
You CAN clip before a bath, or clip without bathing, but doing so will cause a number of avoidable issues so is not recommended if you can avoid it. If you freshly wash and fully dry the coat right before you clip, the resulting clip will look better and will be easier to do. Your blade will stay sharper much longer.
Clipping a coat that has not been freshly washed is one of the fastest ways to blunt a blade. Clipping a squeaky-clean coat also means the blade’s less likely to clog, chew or grab. Your clipper motor will also not have to work as hard so you’ll reduce wear and tear on all your tools by always bathing before you clip.
4: Your clipper isn’t rated for the coat type
Even a brand new, sharp blade can’t make up for a clipper that’s not rated for the dog’s coat type. Clippers do vary but generally come in 4 levels. Light Use, Medium Duty, Heavy Duty, and Super Duty.
If you have a light use clipper for example, but you’re trying to clip through a thick, double, non-shed or knotted coat, the clipper needs to be upgraded to match the coat type. A new or newly sharpened blade can’t make up for what the clipper is lacking.
If you’re looking for clippers rated for all coat types, even badly matted and difficult coats, look for ones rated Super Duty. Here are the 4 levels of clippers and models available at each level >
This is not every possible reason a blade might chew or grab instead of cut, but covers the most common causes and what to do to resolve it.
5: Your blade drive needs to be replaced
If you've been using the same clipper with the same blades for a while, you might notice problems when you try to swap old blades for new ones. A clipper’s blade drive will become weaker or looser with age, which is normal expected wear and tear.
Your old blades may continue to cut well because their tension also loosened over time. However brand new blades with the original, tighter, factory tension, might appear not to cut as well or seem dull - however it's likely you may just need to replace your blade drive.