When it starts getting hot out, we start to look at our dogs and think “how do they stand it under all that fur?” And while their fur may make them a bit hot, for some a shaved dog is more of a problem than a solution.
It seems logical to think that less fur equates to a cooler pet, but the reality is that many dogs have long hair for a reason. Not all long hair pups, but many out there should never be shaved dogs.
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When a Shaved Dog is OK
To start, lets go over the two major types of long hair coats: the single and the double coat.
The terms are fairly straightforward — a single coat consists of one type of hair all over your dog’s body. A double coat, on the other hand, is made up of a coarse outer coat with a soft, dense undercoat.
How does this apply to shaving? Let me explain.
Dogs with a long, single coat are totally fine to be shaved. Heck, they’ll probably thank you for it! Overtime, their hair will grow back and everything will be fine. If you have a hot dog with a single coat, tell the groomer to go nuts.
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When a Shaved Dog is a No No
Now a double coat, that’s a different story. Dogs with a double coat were generally bred to be able to withstand harsh climates (typically the cold). A double coat functions is like this — the coarse outer coat protects your dog from sunlight, pests, burrs, and other types of environmental irritants, while the soft undercoat insulates them against wind and cold.
Because of their heavily protective nature of a double coat, these types of dogs tend to have especially sensitive skin, which is why they should never be shaved. Also, direct exposure to sunlight greatly increases their risk for sunburn and skin cancer; much higher than it would be in single coated dogs.
Also, since a double coat consists of two different kind of hair, they grow at different speeds. The soft undercoat will end up growing in much quicker than the longer, coarse hair of the outer coat, leaving them exposed to the elements even longer (and giving them a rough, spotted, almost mangy kind of look).
As such, the outer coat of a double coated dog should never be shaved, or even cut. If you have a double coated dog, the best way to help them cool down is to brush away any excess fur in the heat-trapping undercoat. Typically during the warmer months, double coated dogs will “blow” their coat. What that means is they are genetically predisposed to ridding themselves of the bulk of their undercoat during the spring and summer, growing it all back by the fall.
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If your dog has a double coat, give them a thorough brushing with a special undercoat brush and remove as much of that fluffy white stuff as possible. Beyond that, keep tons of water on hand and a shady place to retreat.
And if your dog has a single coat, shave away!