So we’re all aware that the summer’s here and my lines have been flooded with pet parents calling me to book slots for grooming sessions with their pets. But when they come in for their session, they want be to completely shave their pet down, so that he stays cool during this season. But what they don’t know is dogs like Labradors, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds and Siberian Huskies, among others, have a double coat. And giving them a zero shave will harm them and expose them to illnesses.
Breeds such as Shih Tzus, Poodles, Bichons, for example, are ones with a single coat. These breeds can be shaven generally with the only thing potentially occurring to the coat is over time it may become softer or it may have a slight colour change. Even with only a single coat you want to be careful on when you shave them, especially if you shave them right down, as this, although may appear to feel cooler, leaves the dog exposed to the possibility of sunburn. A dog with a coat shaved right down in the height of summer should not spend any length of time in direct sunlight. With the simple fact that there is only one coat the hair grows back normally and even after a shaving.
Breeds such as Pomeranians, Shetland Sheepdogs, Siberian Huskies, Samoyeds, Maltese, are examples of double-coated dogs. They need to be groomed by brushing throughout the year but most heavily done in the spring when a major shedding period occurs. As the weather warms up the thick undercoat starts to do a complete shed, it detaches from the body and is often described as molting. When you look at a dog in shed, they have “tufts” of fur that is soft and dense peaking through the longer guard hairs of the topcoat this is called molting.
What’s a double coat, you ask?
A double-coated dog has 2 different layers of fur, each having its own significance, serving its own purpose. The undercoat is made of dense and wavy hair, which protects your pets from harmful UVA and UVB radiations as well as prevents attacks from rodents and pests. The topcoat is comprised of longer hair, which helps protect your pet’s skin underneath. Being slightly “hairy” dogs, they tend to shed a lot during the summer. Calm down, this is completely natural and healthy. It is simply the shedding of the winter coat to give way to the finer fur that will help your pet stay cool. So as you can see, the shedding is not a bad sign and doesn’t mean that your pet is hot, it is simply adapting to the weather change naturally.
So should I shave him?
No, you should not. If you shave the pup, you’ll end up with a dog whose natural shedding system has gone into overdrive, producing a winter coat, which in turn will act like a sweatshirt of sorts, making them feel even hotter. Let the coat do what it does naturally and do not hamper the process. But what I do suggest is regular grooming. Why? Because this will make cleaning up after them a lot easier. Regular brushing will rid them of all the excessive hair that they are naturally shedding and aid circulation of blood. The bath will cool them down and the blow-dry will eliminate the hair that is near shedding.
All in all, I strongly strongly recommend grooming from a professional as opposed to a zero shave for these breeds of dogs. In order to keep your pet comfortable in the summer, stay away from shaving and move towards grooming.
I hope this cleared up your doubts! Drop me a line if you have any other queries.
Until next time!
Have a woof-tastic day!