As temperatures soar, many pet owners wonder if shaving their dog in the summer is a logical solution. While it may seem like a straightforward choice, it’s crucial to understand that shaving doesn’t always lead to a cooler pup. In fact, for double-coated breeds, it can have the opposite effect, compromising their natural insulation against the sun. This article aims to shed light on the intricacies of dog grooming in the summer months.
Why Shaving Isn’t Always the Answer:
Shaving a double-coated dog can alter the texture of their coat, disrupting their built-in sun protection and hindering the airflow to their skin, which aids in cooling. Moreover, once the hair grows back, it may not return to its original state, potentially leaving some dogs without their characteristic coat texture. Shaving too close to the skin also puts them at risk of sunburn.
Understanding Dog Coat Varieties:
Dog coats range from sleek and short to long and dense. They can be single-layered or double-layered, with the latter comprising a longer outer coat and a shorter undercoat. During warmer months, dogs naturally shed excess hair, leaving behind the vital guard hairs that offer protection.
Alternative Ways to Keep Double-Coated Dogs Cool:
Rather than resorting to shaving, consider these tips to help double-coated dogs beat the heat:
- Regular brushing to remove shedding undercoat, especially during peak shedding periods.
- Provide indoor shelter during extreme temperatures.
- Prevent overexertion during playtime in the heat.
Breeds Best Left Unshorn:
Shaving dogs with short coats is generally unnecessary and increases the risk of sunburn. Most dogs regulate their temperature through panting. Double-coated breeds, such as those listed below, should avoid shaving:
- Alaskan Malamute
- American Eskimo Dog
- Australian Shepherd
- Bernese Mountain Dog
- Border Collie
- Chow Chow
- German Shepherd Dog
- German Spitz
- Golden Retriever
- Labrador Retriever
- Saint Bernard
- Shetland Sheepdog
- Siberian Husky
- Tibetan Mastiff
When is Shaving Appropriate?
For single-coated breeds with continuously growing hair, shaving can be done throughout the year. This won’t affect the texture, and the hair will grow back as before. In the summer, trimming some length can provide relief from the heat, but ensure at least an inch of hair remains for sun protection—never shave a dog to the skin.
In certain cases, double-coated dogs with exceptionally thick coats might benefit from a trim. This is especially true for breeds accustomed to cooler climates now living in hot regions. Shaving may also assist dogs with cooling difficulties or health issues. If your dog struggles to stay cool, consult your veterinarian for guidance, and consider a visit to a professional groomer.
Navigating the decision to shave or not to shave your dog in the summer requires careful consideration of their breed, coat type, and individual needs. While shaving might seem like a quick fix, it’s crucial to prioritize your pet’s well-being and comfort. With the right grooming routine, your furry friend can enjoy the summer months without unnecessary discomfort or risks.