To shave, or not? Shedding your dog’s winter coat.

Not a behavioral topic, but one appropriate for the season. For those that have been receiving our newsletter long enough, you know that heat safety is a topic that is important to me. It’s one I address every year as the temperatures start to rise. If you haven’t heard my summer safety tips before, sit tight- this is a good one! Should you shave your dog leading into our HOT summer?

The answer depends on your dog’s coat. Dogs with a short single coat (pit bulls, boxers, great danes, etc.) do not need a summer shave. They’re wash and wear! Dogs that sport a longer coat are a different story. If your dog has a long single coat (poodles, shih-tzus, bichons, etc.) shave away! I’m sure they’ll be happy to be rid of the extra hair, and there will be less chance for burrs and mats to get stuck. Now, here’s where it gets tricky: If your dog has a double coat (short or long) DO NOT SHAVE! Examples of dogs with this type of coat are- golden retrievers, german shepherds, and pomeranians.

It is a service that some groomers offer, but shaving your double coated dog is more harmful than helpful in the summer months. Why? Double coated dogs have layers of hair for a reason. The outer layer protects your dog from the sun and the heat. That layer actually keeps your dog cool! The inner layer is designed to keep your dog warm and dry- this is the layer you want to address by stripping. Blowing or combing it out are appropriate. If both the layers are shaved down, your dog not only has no sun protection, but no water protection, either. When shaved, the outer layer is no longer dominant, and there will be more chance of attracting burrs and mats. With the undercoat exposed, your dog is essentially wearing a sweatshirt in the summer. No fun! Last, your dog is going to have to work harder to grow out his or her coat and may struggle to have the proper balance in the winter.

So, the answer really depends on your breed of dog. But, if you have a double coated dog, the easy answer is do not shave! Hopefully everybody finds this informational. If you have a shave-down appointment for your double coated furry friend, make the change to a blow out today!

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