There are two trains of thought on why we don’t; Health and Looks
Lets go ahead and get these reasons out of the way.
It may be a bit selfish to admit that I don’t shave them because I like the way they look as is, and really don’t care for how dogs looked when shaved, but it’s true.
They also run the risk of having their fur grow back wrong, which can potentially ruin their coloring.
The most common health hazards to a dog after a shave are:
- Severe sun burn that can cause skin cancer. Most double coated dogs don’t have much pigment in their skin, and therefore have no natural defense against the sun. That would be what their fur was for.
- Parasites now have easier access to attack your dog, particularly mosquitos which carry the dreaded heartworm.
- Fungal infections, without their fur they are defenseless against fungi like ringworm.
- Poison Ivy/Oak/Sumac. Dogs fur, particularly long/thick fur, keeps the resin that causes the irritation away from their skin. (FYI: They can transfer the resin to humans via their fur so don’t let down your guard just yet)
- Cuts, scrapes, brambles, and thorns, without their fur they don’t have that protective barrier.
Two Common Reasons for Shaving A Dog
To help keep them cool, and or to reduce shedding.
The problem with either of these reasons is shaving doesn’t solve the problem!
Lets tackle the shedding; shaving doesn’t remove fur, it cuts fur. So it won’t stop fur from shedding since it’s still there only shorter. The only reason it SEEMS to work is the fur that is being shed is much shorter than it should be, and gives the illusion that they don’t or aren’t shedding.
As for keeping them cool; the purpose behind shaving a dog would be exposed the skin to the air so sweat glands can help cool the body, like in humans, problem is dogs don’t have sweat glands like we do. The only place they have sweat glands are on their paws and those are for scent marking, not body cooling. The way a dog cools themselves is via panting and staying hydrated or out of the sun, not by sweating.
What We Do Instead
So in closing; there is absolutely no need to shave a double coated dog (barring a medical necessity).
Here are some of the ways we help keep our pups cool in summer and minimize shedding:
- Invest in a good brush! Particularly an undercoat rake or a FURminator.
- The only difference I’ve noticed between either is how much time you spend grooming your dog.
- When you bathe your dog don’t just use shampoo, use a conditioner too!
- The conditioner helps soften their coats for their after bath brushing.
- Brush and bathe often!
- At minimum once a month but no more than every two weeks, you don’t want to dry out their skin.
- Take your dog swimming or invest in a puppy pool.
- As long as you rinse their coats after swimming, particularly if you swim in rivers and lakes, you shouldn’t have an issue with smelly pups.
- Offer plenty of water throughout the day.
- We have one two gallon fountain, and a one gallon bucket inside the house, and a three gallon bowl in a shaded spot on our back deck.
- Offer them plenty of shade, preferably inside the house next to an air conditioner.
- Most doubled coated dogs are not designed to handle excessive heat, so please either bring them inside or give them an option to come inside (think doggy door).
What are your thoughts? Do you have any additional tips to helping manage shedding and keep double coated pups cool in the summer? We would love to hear from you!
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