Shaving your dog’s coat for summer may not be so ‘cool’. A dogs coat offers them protection from the heat and actually functions to keep them cool.
How many times have you noticed during the hotter months that your dog pants more heavily when on walks, always wants to find that shadiest spot in the yard or are more sluggish overall? The answer? We all have experienced this behavior multiple times. However, most pet owners opt to ‘shave’ their dog’s entire coat during the months of April through September to alleviate the impact of the heat on the dog. Unfortunately, most times, this decision is causing more harm than good.
Dogs Coat Provides Protection
All dogs have two types of fur, an undercoat and a top coat. Some have thicker undercoats than others ex: a Greyhound vs. a Great Pyrenees, but all have the two layers protecting their skin. When we decide to shave the coat completely away, we are opening our dogs up for multiple problems both short term and long term, starting with the ever present sun.
Yes, the sun does add to the heat of the day, especially if there is little to no shade in the surroundings. However, dogs’ skin is just as sensitive as ours, meaning they would need sunscreen if they were bald. The Chinese Crested breed always needs sun protection when outside due to their hairless profile.
Therefore, when we shave off the entire coat (under & top coats), the dogs experience sun damage to their skin, even if out for minimal amounts of time. There is simply nothing protecting their skin anymore, the hair was the protection.
Secondly, the long term affect aside from possible extreme sun damage is that the hair follicle is now permanently damaged. The hair will NEVER be the same than it was before you shaved the dog. If the coat was long and shiny, it will grow back really, really thick and dry/dull. If the coat was short like a Labradors, the hair will grow back coarse and dull/dandruff ridden. If the coat was wiry, the wire haired texture will never come back.
Therefore, if showing your dog in the conformation ring ever crossed your mind, yet you shaved it, chances are the dog will not be able to do well in the ring because it’s coat has been altered. Plus, who doesn’t enjoy a soft, shiny dog to pet?
What can you do instead?
The best things you can do are to keep your dog on a natural, healthy diet to support healthy hair growth along with supplementing with omega oils. You can also be sure to thoroughly brush/blow out your dogs coat to eliminate excess undercoat from winter. If you can’t run a comb through it, it’s not thoroughly brushed out. You may find this can take longer than you thought!
Either way you slice it, shaving a dog’s coat for one season simply isn’t worth the stress it hinders the body either temporarily, or indefinitely.
Please consider sharing your experiences with shaving dog coats.