Shaving Your Dog
The information below is for informational purposes only, we want all of our grooming clients to have all the information they could need to make a decision on shaving their dog.
A dog’s coat serves a purpose based on what the dog was bred to do. Terriers often have smooth coats that allow them to burrow into small holes without getting their fur caught on roots and rocks. Water and mountain dogs, like Labradors and St. Bernards, have thick coats that repel water, snow and ice. Other examples of double-coated dogs are Akitas, Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes. Dogs such as these have two coats – a longer outer layer and a softer undercoat.
The dual layers provide protection from the outside elements. A double coat acts as insulation keeping your dog warm in the wintertime and cool in the summertime. The outer layer or “guard hairs” allow cool air to circulate near the dog’s skin after he sheds his undercoat. Many double-coated dogs have pale pink skin and are therefore more susceptible to sunburn. These guard hairs reflect the sun’s rays, protecting the skin from the sun.
If your dog has a double-coat and is shedding a lot, you may think it will be helpful to shave him down in order to move the shedding process along. But in fact, shaving a double-coated dog is the worst thing to do. Shaving prevents cool air from getting to the skin because the undercoat is still present. And a shaved coat doesn’t protect against the sun either, which exposes your dog to greater risks of overheating, sunburn and even skin cancer.
Single-coated dogs can be repeatedly shaved down because the shaving process does not change the texture of their hair. The hair will just keep growing and growing whereas a double-coated dog’s hair will grow to a certain level and stop. The texture of a double-coated dog will change once you shave it down. The guard hairs, once shaved, can become coarse. This fur is what sheds and some owners find a nuisance, however, shaving the dog doesn’t stop the shedding – the dog will still shed, but the hairs still be shorter and more blunt, which can make them stick into your clothes and furniture more! It can also put your dog at risk for:
It can permanently damage the fur (it will grow back too coarse or too fluffy, thin and/or patchy)
Reduced protection from the elements and insect bites
Our Recommendations for Double Coated Dogs:
The best way to keep your double coated dog cool in the warm weather is regular grooming to de-shed the undercoat so the fur can act as an insulator. Brushing alone does not get all the undercoat out. Bathing promotes shedding so it goes hand-in-hand with brushing!
We have a few options at All Paws Pet Care for de-shedding: Adding a conditioner to your dog’s groom, which makes the hair “slippery” therefore, it blows out easily with the blow dryer, and brushes out easier with the different types of brushes we use. Or we can do our de-shedding treatment added to your dog’s groom, then we blow the coat with our high-velocity dryer, which pushes a lot of the undercoat out, and use multiple brushes and combs to get the rest of the hair out. However, we take great care not to over-brush the dog causing irritation to the skin which is called “brush burn”.
The best way to reduce/prevent shedding is regular grooming every 4-8 weeks!
If you have any questions regarding your double coated dog or de-shedding treatments, please feel free to ask us!