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I have a pet (rabbit) who has geriatric bowel and bladder issues. To help keep him clean, it has been recommended that we keep his belly and parts of his legs and tail clipped very short.

The electric clippers the vet uses cost more than $200 (US dollars). There are inexpensive clippers available new in the people grooming section of most stores for less than $30.

I am not sure if the $200 clippers are just better made so they will live longer in daily use, or if they have some magic quality that makes them safer for use on a pet.

Rabbits, in particular, have very tender skin (light and fast prey animal). If it is only a matter of longevity and heat build-up, cheap clippers might be a better choice. But, if the more expensive clippers offer some added measure of safety that prevents accidental skin injuries, the cost would be incidental.

When choosing electric clippers, what do I need to consider?

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There are two primary concerns which you should consider when making your choice between them, and deciding whether your vet's choice should be the same as yours:

  1. How often will they get used?
    By this I mean will they be used several times a day, as the vet's ones might well, so the lifetime (as measured in running hours) will pass more quickly (as measured in elapsed years), or is it more likely you'd use them just once a week?
  2. How will they age?
    By this I mean will the motor burn out and the whole unit need replacing? Will the blades become blunt but be serviceable or replaced cheaply? Will something minor (such as the switch) give way? The last would be particularly irritating if the rest of the unit was still functioning well.

The sharpness of the blades, and whether, over time, they would tend to snag the fur and pull it out rather than cut it cleanly, should also be a major consideration (consider facial hair grooming in men if you doubt that!), but if replacing blades before they get blunt is not going to be prohibitively difficult or expensive then that becomes a secondary issue, just leaving the two concerns above to consider.

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  • This answer was very helpful, in the end we purchased an inexpensive set of mens face grooming clippers, the blade is fairly narrow (1 inch) so fits well on a bunny belly. It is important to monitor the temperature as they can get warm. – James Jenkins Jun 30 '14 at 12:50

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