By Debra Manfield, Owner
I’ll go ahead and just say it…we do not recommend shaving your pet’s fur unless it is necessary due to severe matting, or if your pet has developed skin issues and requires the area to be treated.
Did you know that your pet’s coat will actually keep them warm in the winter and cool in the summer? Just like insulation, it protects them from extremes.
Single coated dogs, especially light colored ones, are sensitive to the sun and need their coat to protect them from burns and bug bites.
Double coated dogs have an undercoat that is short and dense, while their outer coat is longer, glossy, harder fur. If you shave a double coated dog it takes much longer for the outer coat to grow back, so what’s left on your dog is the dull, dense undercoat.
While I know it’s hot outside, there are other things you can do to help your pet stay cool, that won’t increase their risk for sunburn or skin cancer.
One of the easiest things to do is brush them regularly. Especially with double coated breeds like German Shepherds, Labradors, Collies and Huskies, just to name a few, you can remove a ton of that winter undercoat. When most of it is removed your pet will feel better and shed less. You can also give them a belly shave and do a sanitary cut, removing fur from their genitals and other private areas. This helps them stay cleaner and it also helps them cool down when their tummy rests on a cool surface.
It’s true some dogs feel better when their coat is cut down much like a puppy cut. These dogs can turn from sluggish to spry with a summer cut, not because they are cooler but because they prefer shorter fur just like some humans prefer a shorter hair style; but, also be aware that some dogs act as if you’ve taken away their identity if you cut their fur. So definitely consider your dog’s personality when deciding whether to trim down. Just remember, that if the top hairs (also called guard hairs) of double coated breeds get cut short, it may take a long time before they grow back, if ever, and your dog may never look like it did before.
How much time does your pet spend outdoors? Not much…then leave their coat as is or go ahead and have a summer cut if that is what your doggie prefers (just don’t shave your pooch) and monitor their exposure to direct sunlight. If they do spend a considerable amount of time outside please leave their coat at its normal length and brush and bathe them as suggested above. Provide them with a cooling pool, plenty of shade, a fan if you can arrange it, and a constant supply of clean fresh water.
Certainly it is your call whether or not to shave down your pet, but before you do, maybe visit with one of our groomers to see if they can accommodate you with a different fur-do!