Summer time will quickly be here, and you’re thinking about Fido’s “summer ‘do.”  What most people don’t know is that a full shave down might just be a “summer don’t.”

Dogs do not have a cooling system like humans; they sweat from their paws and panting, and their hair generally has little effect on their overall body temperature.  A dog’s fur acts as insulation, helping to keep them cool in the summer just as it keeps them warm in the winter.  It is also protection against biting flies and mosquitoes (mosquitoes are carriers of heart worm).  Shaving also makes them more susceptible to sunburn and the potential for skin cancer.  Shave downs can also lead to skin irritations, and possibly even hot spots.

Shaving down some breeds can have irreversible damage to their hair’s regrowth, especially double coated breeds like German Shepherds, Siberian Huskies, Chow Chows, etc.  The hair may grow back sparser or even a different color.  In some instances, the hair may not grow back at all.

There are some instances where the breed standard calls for shaving (e.g., poodles).  The hair type of these breeds requires regular shaving.  For more information on what your breed standard should look like, check out the AKC’s website.

Then there are some instances where a dog must be shaved down.  The most common of these being a severely matted dog.  Due to the inability for air to circulate to the dog’s skin, heavily matted dogs run the risk of hot spots, bacterial and fungal infections.  Matted fur also pulls and binds on the dog’s skin causing discomfort to your pup.

When this happens, it is extremely difficult to remove the mats through brushing, and the dog must be shaved.  You should use a sunscreen formulated for dogs and protect the dog’s skin by putting a tee shirt on him.  Avoiding the need to shave a dog down due to matting is as simple as regular brushing and grooming.

Another myth regarding shaving down your dog is that it will reduce shedding.  It does not reduce shedding.  The dog still sheds as it did before, the hairs are just shorter.  If your dog is shedding excessively, it could be due to a dietary concern and you should look for alternatives to solve the problem rather than just mask it.  The solution could be as simple as finding another food or the right food supplement.

There are several health concerns related to shaving your double-coated dog.  Here’s a great article about it.  

We are very adamant about not shaving double-coats, and even more adamant about delivering a finished groom as the owner expects.  We walk you through a checklist and discuss in detail what you’d like to have done.  If we believe it is not in the best interest of the dog, we’ll discuss that with you.  Your dog’s health is always are first priority.