It’s that time of year again…Spring is here and summer is upon us. And here in Richmond, we’re already seeing some hot, humid days. During this time of the year, the Dog Grooming department at Holiday Barn Pet Resorts gets many requests from customers to shave their dogs down because they want them to be cool during the summer months. It’s so very sweet of these caring owners to consider their dog’s comfort during hot weather. We get that. However, shaving them down may not be the best way to do it.
You’ve probably heard that a dog’s coat not only keeps them from getting too cold, but it also keeps them from getting too hot. It’s hard to believe, isn’t it? I mean, if you went outside with a fur coat on in the summer time, you’re going to get too hot, right? The thing is, we cannot adequately comprehend how a dog feels in the heat. A dog’s skin is thinner than human skin, the hair on our bodies is very different, and the way in which we each adapt to temperature is not the same. A dog’s hair is designed to provide protection and insulation. During hot weather, a dog’s hair actually regulates their temperature in order to slow down heat absorption. If there is no hair, your dog can, in fact, overheat much quicker. Additionally, his/her thin skin easily burns, and without adequate hair coverage, is exposed to injury.
Shaving Dogs with a Double Coat
Many dogs have actually two coats! These would be your Labrador retrievers, German shepherds, Golden retrieves, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Chows, but not just big dogs… smaller dogs such as Corgis, Pomeranians, etc… These breeds are double coated, which means they have a dense undercoat of short hairs, and a top coat of longer hair. I’m sure you (and your vacuum) have noticed how your dog sheds so much, particularly at the end of winter/beginning of spring? The thick undercoat isn’t needed any longer to hold in body heat, so that coat is “blown”. The benefit of a dog who blows their coat is that they don’t need haircuts to keep them cool… nature does a fine job of taking care of that without our intervention. The remaining outer coat is sufficient to provide the protection he needs to handle the heat of the summer days ahead, plus, it will only grow so long and then stop. Equally as important, shaving these types of dogs can permanently ruin their otherwise beautiful, silky coat.
Single Coated Breeds
Now let’s take a look at another type of coat… Single coated, short haired dogs. These dogs have no undercoat. They have a very short coat single coat that will also grow to a certain length and then stop. These are your greyhounds, whippets, Italian greyhounds, boxers, basenjis. They do shed, but certainly not near as much as their heavier coated friends. It is highly unlikely that our Grooming department would get a request to shave down one of these types of dogs, and rightly so. There is no need. Regular bathing and somewhat gentle brushing are all that is needed to keep their coats healthy.
“Beauty Parlor” Breeds
This last category of dogs we will discuss may have either a single or double coat, but their coat will continue to grow in length and will require regular professional haircuts to prevent matting and provide good hygiene. These are your Shih Tzu’s, lhasa apsos, cocker spaniels, Schnauzers, yorkies, maltese, etc.. You may safely give these dogs a shorter haircut in the summer, but if you go real short, sunscreen is recommended. Their tender skin can still burn.
What can you do to keep your double-coated dog cooler in the summer?
The very best solution for keeping your double-coated dog cooler in the summer is our Anti-Shedding Treatment. Our groomers will perform a gentle but intensive program to “assist nature” in significantly reducing and eliminating dead or excessive hair. This removes only unwanted hair without stripping the beneficial protective coat. The result is a cleaner, more comfortable coat. Your dog will feel instantly cooler – and lighter! Our Anti-Shedding Treatment is a customer favorite. When maintained, it not only makes your dog feel better, but you’ll notice less shed hair in the house. If you prefer a neater, more structured look, a trim of straggly feathers on legs, feet, ears, and hindquarters is definitely recommended.