Thursday, March 27, 2014

Shaving Double Coated Dogs: Reasons Why Not To Shave Your Dog

Sometimes pet owners may shave their dog in the summer thinking it will make them cooler.   Contrary to popular belief, dogs DO NOT have a large network of sweat glands designed to regulate the body temperature during hot weather (they only have them on the pads of their feet). Most of their cooling takes place through panting.  However, there may be serious consequences from shaving your dog.  Which dogs are most at risk for having problems with shaving? Double coated dogs.  A double coated dog is any dog with an outer coat and a soft undercoat.  The soft undercoat is what sheds.  These two coats grow independently of one another and to different lengths.  The outer coat is longer, and tends to grow slower.  The undercoat is shorter and grows faster, and also turns over, or sheds, twice a year.  Some examples of dogs with double coats are German Shepherds , Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Australian Shepherds, and Siberian Huskies.

You should consider not shaving these double coated dogs as they have sensitive skin.  Skin can become irritated from razor burn and it is much more likely to be sunburned.  The thick hair protects their skin from the sun and also bug bites. Also, the undercoat provides insulation in the winter and cools the dog in the summer.  Shaved dogs get more sun exposure and are more prone to getting skin cancer.  Also, if they have dry or skin issues already, you are just compounding the problem.

Shaving does NOT make dogs shed less. Your double coated dogs will shed their under coat twice a year, and shaving them does not prevent this from happening. It can also cause permanent damage to the dog's coat. There is no outer coat to protect the under coat and it will become brittle and break off. Also, the under coat is dull and dense and not visually appealing. Instead of having your dog shaved to get rid of unwanted hair, having the dog professionally groomed on a schedule will remove all the dead undercoat.  Use Amazing Omegas fish oil to reduce shedding.