Many clients ask me to “shave” down their Husky, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, etc. These are dogs that typically do NOT get shaved down because their double coats can be irreparably damaged in the process.
So why do clients come in requesting a haircut for these types of breeds? They feel this is an easy way to reduce shedding and keep the dog cool.
Wrong! This is NOT the answer. A dog’s coat provides insulation from the heat and sun. Dogs do not perspire like humans do. They only perspire from the pads of their feet and from their noses. They do not “sweat” like humans do. Their cooling process is done via panting from the mouth, sweating at the paws and cooling the blood in their ears. Shaving the dog does nothing to keep the dog cool. It just makes the human feel better when looking at the coated dog.
Also you expose your dog to the sun without protection. Now you have a dog that can come up with a variety of skin problems including skin cancer. Another reason to NOT shave is that the fur acts as a protection against insects and parasites. You remove that protection the dog is exposed to even more insect problems than he would have had if he had been allowed to keep is protective coat.
Furthermore, if you shave your double-coated breed it will eventually ruin the coat and disturb the proper shedding process.
A Husky, Golden, Lab, Malamute, and even a Newfoundland will be cooler with its coat on.
There is one important factor, however. Their coats must be kept thoroughly brushed out. Matted coats or coats with packed-in, dead undercoat will restrict airflow to your pet’s skin, consequently making him uncomfortable.
It may seem like a great idea to shave all the hair off. Sure, no more hair all over the house! Except that they will still shed and you will just have small sharp hairs all over the house. What you are doing when you shave your double-coated dogs is actually interrupting the natural shedding process. You are cutting into the top coat, possibly damaging it, and causing the undercoat to grow uninhibited, as the undercoat grows much more quickly than the top coat, or “guard” coat.
The guard coat is the coarser hair that separates the finer undercoat hairs, preventing it from matting. When this coat is clipped, the hair will appear to grow back softer because you are seeing only undercoat as it grows back. This hair is thick and will matt easily and possibly result in patchy, uneven growth until the guard hairs eventually regrow. By then the coat may be so damaged that it will need to be shaved down again. Also, by interrupting the natural shedding cycle, you can actually be producing MORE shedding. The exact opposite of what you want!
What is the answer?
Keep your double-coated breeds thoroughly brushed & combed out. Keep them well groomed & they will be comfortable even in the hot summer sun.
Does you dog love water in the summer? Think about a tight trim. They can keep most of their length we just trim the back end, belly, legs and chest tighter to their body.
regular professional grooming + brushing at home = healthy, happy, and handsome pets!