Although you may think you’re doing your dog a favour by shaving its coat in the summer, it could actually do more harm than good. Here’s what you need to know before grooming your dog this summer.
Double-coated dogs Many northern breeds such as Huskies and Malamutes, as well as herding breeds like Golden Retrievers and Border Collies, have what is called a double coat. Double-coated dogs have two layers of fur: a topcoat and an undercoat. The topcoat is made up of long guard hairs that repel water and dirt, while the undercoat grows close to the skin and retains heat. However, in the summer, double-coated dogs naturally shed this thick undercoat while their topcoat remains to protect them from the elements and allow air to circulate and cool the skin. Consequently, if you have a dog with a double coat, shaving it can be harmful for the following three reasons:
It can cause matting. Once a dog’s topcoat starts to grow back after being shaved, the texture changes. The guard hairs become coarser and attract burrs, grass, twigs, seeds and other unwanted debris. This can lead to severe matting which can be very uncomfortable.
It can cause the dog to overheat. When a double-coated dog is shaved, its undercoat grows back more quickly than its topcoat. The problem with this is that the undercoat will absorb heat and prevent cool air from reaching the dog’s skin, causing it to overheat.
It can cause sunburns. A double-coated dog’s topcoat protects its skin from the sun. When this protective layer is shaved off, the dog is vulnerable to painful sunburns which can also put them at an increased risk of skin cancer.
Regularly bathing and brushing a double-coated dog is the best way to help it stay cool in summer. Single-coated dogs Single-coated dogs only have a topcoat made up solely of guard hairs. Therefore, unlike double-coated dogs, certain types of single-coated dogs, such as Greyhounds, Dalmatians and Poodles can benefit from occasionally having their coats trimmed by a professional groomer to prevent matting and keep them cool throughout the summer. However, the coat should never be shaved down to the skin. It’s best to leave at least five centimetres of hair to protect the dog from sunburns and bug bites. Grooming services in the GTA If you need expert advice on how to keep your dog cool this summer, contact the experts at Bellamy-Lawrence Animal Hospital. We provide grooming services, annual checkups, routine surgical and dental procedures, vaccinations and more. Contact us for more information or to book an appointment.