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What is a sanitary trim?

A sanitary trim (or sanitary clip) refers to trimming or shaving the coat so it's shorter in the areas where urine or feces may otherwise stain or get stuck in the coat. Areas such as around the anus, genitals and abdomen. This helps keeps your dog or cat clean without having to clip the entire coat, and avoids urine or feces clinging to the coat, avoiding unpleasant odours and reducing the risk of infection. Clipping the abdomen also helps avoid longer hair from touching carpet, bedding or furniture, avoiding smells and stains around the house. 

Watch the video below to see how a sanitary clip is done.

A female that has not been spayed will often have a sanitary trim when she's in heat to make cleaning up blood and discharge easier. If planning to breed, trimming the genitals can also make access easier. Sanitary trims are recommended for longer-coat pets with incontinence to avoid infection and make clean-up easier for owners. Long-haired cats or kittens who use litter trays can be trimmed to avoid litter or feces sticking to the coat. Pregnant dogs and cats often have their abdomen area trimmed to give kittens and puppies easier access to nipples for feeding. 

How to do a sanitary trim

A sanitary trim can be done using the same full size clipper used for the rest of the coat, usually using a size 10 blade (shown in the video below), or using a trimmer. A trimmer is smaller and lighter than a clipper, with a much smaller width blade. Trimmers are a popular choice for getting into more delicate, difficult or injury-prone areas, and for pets who are more touch-sensitive or noise-sensitive. Trimmers are also used for trimming ears and faces, especially around the eyes and mouth, for tidying up feet and trimming between paw pads.


Watch the Andis how to video below, for how to do a sanitary trim using a full size clipper. In this video the groomer is using an Andis EBC II clipper with a size 10 blade (in America they call that model of clipper an SMC-2, in NZ it's called an EBC II).