With the hot temperatures summer has to offer, you may be wondering should you shave your dog in summer? Often dog owners believe that if their dog has a thick coat that removing it will allow them to be cool. However, shaving your dog is not always the best option to keep them cool. Every dog’s coat is different, with some having single coats and some double. This means that the way the coat grows back after being shaved can be different and actually lead to negative consequences.
So if you are considering shaving your dog during summer, we would recommend holding off and reading this article first. It is not just a quick solution to the problem of overheating, but can create other issues for your dog that will then require treatment. So let us explore this issue in more depth, look at the pros and cons, and whether it is still worth doing.
Single Coat vs Double Coat Dogs
There are many owners who are not aware of the differences between a single coat and a double coat. Furthermore, these differences hold a level of importance over your dog’s grooming, and therefore, care. So it is important to be aware of the comparisons. An easy way to summarize the difference is that a single coat is just that. Whereas a double coat has an undercoat. This undercoat is a short, and dense coat beneath the top or outer coat.
Those with double coats often feel a lot warmer in summer, require more grooming, and are more prone to shedding. Moreover, dogs with double coats will ‘blow’ twice a year, an act of shedding their coat completely. This happens due to changes in the season and them adapting their coat to the warmer summer or colder winter. This is why their shedding is much more noticeable than a single coated breed.
Dangers of Shaving Dogs During Summertime
A main concern about shaving your dog for summer is the worry of sunburn. Their skin becomes exposed and they can quickly become susceptible to this, especially in the warmer months of this season. Furthermore, shaving their coat can lead to pain and difficulty growing back if they are double-coated. Firstly, shaving a dog with a double coat can lead to their outer coat growing back differently and much more coarse permanently. It can also lead to matting, hot spots, and even ingrown hairs depending on the closeness of the shave.
Furthermore, there is a myth believed that if you shave your dog’s fur they can sweat more openly and cool off more quickly. Dogs do not perspire like we do. Their sweat glands are located in their paws so shaving their full coat will not aid this. A dog with an undercoat will also still have this present so will still have that level of thermal insulation.
How to Care for your Dogs in the Summer
If you are worried about your dog overheating and how you can help, here are some tips concerning their coat and general health. This way you can make them feel cool without having to worry if their shaved coat is going to lead to more problems.
Always Have Water Available
Providing your dog with water at all times is very important to make sure they do not suffer from dehydration. They can lose a lot of water in the heat, especially from breeds who drool and pant a lot. You can also offer your dog ice to chew or place it in their water bowls. Be sure the ice is not a choking hazard, especially to smaller dog breeds though. Furthermore, you can bring a travel water bowl so you can provide your dog with water wherever you go. Dehydration can be a serious threat to your dog’s health and can lead to death.
Don't Over-Bathe Them
Another assumed theory is that bathing your dog often can cool down their skin and help them to feel better. However, over-bathing can be damaging to your dog’s coat and skin. The natural oils that your dog’s skin produce help to maintain the health of your skin by ensuring they do not get too dry. This could lead to dandruff and other skin problems. Furthermore, these oils keep their fur and hair healthy to try to prevent a dry coat and keep it smooth. There are specific oils and conditioners you can buy if you require to bathe your dog multiple times in a small period, such as if they roll in things a lot while out.
Avoid Exposing Them to High Heats
High temperature can lead to deadly situations, such as your dog getting heatstroke. By offering cool areas or places away from heat your dog can avoid overheating. Some solutions include offering your dog a cooling bed, areas of shade, and making sure there is a fan inside to keep the house cool alongside AC. We also recommend to avoid walking your dog if it is too hot outside as this can cause heatstroke, dehydration, and burns on their paws. If you cant hold your hand on the ground for five seconds without needing to pull away, your dog should not be walked outside.
Visit the Professionals
A groomer and vet can offer some of the best advice for keeping your dog cool, happy, and healthy. Firstly a groomer will be able to remove the correct amount of fur to ensure your dog is as cool as possible without any negative side effects. They can also advise you on coat-specific care for your dog. A vet can then evaluate your dog to tell you if anything needs changing and if they are overheating day to day. Regular checkups will allow your vet to advise you on any care you need to change and can give you tailored advice for any concerns you have. So if you are ever worried, always ask the professionals.
Shaving Dogs in the Summer: FAQ
Do you have more questions or specific worries? We have some more answers concerning shaving your dog below.
The base answer to that question is to avoid shaving dogs with double coats. Some double-coated dogs include the Husky, Bernese Mountain Dog, Irish Setter, and Collies. This is because their outer coat will not grow back the same and it may cause problems when it does grow back. Many single-coated dogs do not need to be shaved as their fur is already short enough.
This depends on the coat your dog has if you are determined to shave their hair. A single-coated dog does not need their hair shaving as it is already short enough. However, in double-coated dogs you can shorten the coat. You need to leave at least an inch of hair so that the coat may grow back properly.
Many owners groom their dogs at home. You just need to make sure you have done the research required for your dog’s breed and have the required equipment. For some dogs this may just be a clipper, others may want to go all out and buy a grooming table. You may want to consider doing a small training course or looking up videos on Youtube to find out everything your dog needs.
Wetting a dog can cool them down. We recommend making a towel cool, not cold, and draping it over the body of your pup. This allows them to cool gently and not suddenly, which can be quite unpleasant for your pup. Sprinklers can also be preferred for play as your dog can willingly run through them and leave when they are done.
If you cut your dog’s hair too short they can suffer from skin problems as well as coat damage. Doubled-coated dog’s coats will never grow back the same. This means they will be more dense, knot more easily, and generally grow back slightly damaged. As for skin problems, the most obvious include clipper injuries. However, they can also suffer from dandruff more readily and hot spots on their skin.
Although shaving your dog can prevent an immediate problem, it can cause issues later on down the line. There are over solutions to your dog overheating that you can consider. A trim can make a world of a difference for a double-coated dog as opposed to a full shave. By knowing your dog’s breed and their coat, you can make the best decision for them to stay cool in summer. Remember that there are many alternatives to consider that can provide your dog with a cooler temperature that doesn’t result in negative consequences.