To Shave or Not to Shave
We get many clients that walk in for grooming and want their double coated dog shaved for multiple reason; to keep them cool in the summer and to keep them from shedding are a few that get mentioned. The first thing we tell them is “Do you know the effects of shaving a double coated dog?”. Nine times out of ten they have no idea. So here are the facts:
There are two types of coat types, singled coated and double coated. Single coated dogs just have the topcoat, which are made of tough guard hairs, and only need to be brushed in order to keep their topcoat untangled and unmated. Single coated dogs include Shih Tzu, Poodle, Yorkshire Terrier, Bichon, etc. Double coated dogs have the topcoat and undercoat, which is the thick soft hair underneath the topcoat. Double coated dogs only need to be brushed in order to remove their excessive undercoat, especially during the shedding periods. When a dog is shedding, they have tufts of fur that are sticking out of the topcoat. That is called molting. Double coated dogs include Pomeranian, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Husky, etc.
We recommend brushing and regular professional grooming to keep the undercoat under control. Once the undercoat is removed the air can circulate between the hairs of the topcoat keeping the dog cool while the topcoat keeps the skin protected from the sun and bugs. When a double coated dog gets shaved, their hair can be left with patches that don’t grow at all or the undercoat grows in faster than the topcoat so now the topcoat is matted into the undercoat. This can change their coat texture too. It tends to grow back in frizzy and fuzzy kind of like Velcro. In the winter time, the frizzy undercoat will more likely mat and that can cause skin issues like hot spots. Also, the older dogs can have a harder time regrowing their hair. Shedding may also worsen once a double coated dog has been shaved.
There are times where it is necessary to shave a double coated dog, i.e. surgery, medical conditions, or if the undercoat has become so matted it cannot be combed out.
There are a few ways you can help keep your dog cool during the summer. Make sure they are getting lots of water and staying hydrated. Give them a pool full of cool water to play and relax in. Minimize their outside time. Keep them inside in air conditioning. If they are too energetic to keep at home, take them to a doggy daycare to help get some energy out while it is hot outside.
Before you decide to get a dog, please do your research. If you don’t have the time or money for brushing and the extra grooming that comes with having a double coated or a long single coated dog, you might want to look into another breed. If you have any questions or you think your dog needs to be shaved, please contact our groomers and they can help you out. Don’t ever try to shave your dog at home. It might be cheaper doing it that way but our groomers are certified and know what they are doing.
This is just a simple overview and there are lots of other complications that can arise from shaving a double coated dog that we can’t cover them all.