"Should I shave my dog?" That is the question that many dog owners ask themselves during the summer months. This is an especially vexing question for owners of dogs with thick, double coats such as Siberian huskies, chows and Old English sheepdogs.
Surely, those breeds would be more comfortable without that fluffy coat during the dog days of summer, right? Then, there's the subject of shedding. Is it possible that shaving your dog may reduce the number of furry tumbleweeds that you find around your home?
Should You Shave Your Dog in the Summer: Yay or Nay?
The answer to that question depends on numerous factors. For instance, dogs that don't shed, such as poodles, require regular clipping. Since they don't shed, their hair continues to grow and will get long and matted if they are not regularly clipped and brushed.
Hard-coated terriers are also clipped — though they can be hand-stripped, as well — to remove old and dying hair. Groomers will also shave a dog completely if an owner has allowed its hair to become hopelessly matted. As for other breeds, most experts strongly recommend that you never shave your dog for the summer.
My Dog Has Such a Fluffy Coat, Though!
While it may look like your canine is suffering under all that fur when it's hot, nature has built your pooch with an undercoat that is designed to insulate its skin and regulate its temperature. That means, your dog's undercoat will keep it warm in the winter and cool in the summer. One caveat — this only works if your dog is properly groomed and not matted.
Other reasons why you should not shave your dog in the summer:
- Shaving a dog's coat exposes its skin to the sun, which could result in sunburns and even skin cancer.
- Once shaved, a dog's double coat may grow back with a different texture and could appear faded.
- Shaving the undercoat will also cause it to regrow thicker and warmer than before, which will make your pup even more uncomfortable.
Will Shaving My Dog Help With Shedding?
Some owners believe that if they shave their dogs before summer, they won't have to contend with it shedding all over their homes. Shaving, however, won't change the number of hairs that will fall off your dog. It just means that your canine will shed shorter hairs.
Clipper Do's and Don'ts
Do you have a dog, such as a schnauzer or Welsh terrier, that requires hand-stripping or clipping? These grooming sessions can be quite costly, so you may have wondered, "Can I shave my dog myself?" You can, but it's not easy without the proper equipment, such as a grooming table and dog clippers.
Can you shave a dog with human clippers? You could try, but human clippers have different teeth than those built to work on dogs. It's very likely that your human clippers will jam if you try to use them to clip your pup.
Keep Them Cool
While it's not advisable to shave a dog for the summer, you can help it stay cool with the following suggestions:
- Brush and wash your dog frequently during the summer months. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, clean fur that is free of mats allows for better air circulation. It's also important to dry your dog thoroughly, as wet fur can lead to skin infections. Since drying a dog can take a long time, make sure to have a towel designed specifically for this purpose, such as The Absorber.
- The Absorber is also a great towel for regulating your dog’s temperature during extreme heat. Run it under cool water and have your dog lay on it if you are spending time outdoors. (Or wordsmith it however you want)
- Never leave your dog in a car.
- Keep your canine indoors, in a climate-controlled condition, during the heat of the day.
- Exercise your pup early in the morning or in the evening.
While it may be hard to imagine going through the summer wearing a fur coat, it's perfectly fine for your dog. Its coat has been designed by nature to help it cope with fluctuating temperatures.