Once the warm weather comes, we often get asked about shaving double coated dogs (like Golden Retrievers, Huskies, Collies, Shelties, Shepherds etc) thinking it will help keep them cool. This is NOT TRUE!
Double coated dogs have 2 types of fur – a soft undercoat, and tougher guard hairs.
The undercoat keeps the dog warm in winter and cool in summer. The undercoat actually acts as insulation against heat – think of it like “coolie cup” for your cold drink in the summertime! It keeps the cool air against the skin, and the hot hair away from the skin, and prevents overheating. 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!
The guard hairs do not shed and protect the dog’s skin from harmful UV rays. A dog has only 6-10 layers of skin, whereas humans have 16-20, so dogs sunburn much more easily.
Double coated dogs need both layers of fur to keep them cool. Unlike humans, dogs do not sweat through their skin – they pant to keep themselves cool and need that fur to protect them.
● Shaving a double coated dog will permanently damage the fur (it will grow back too coarse or too fluffy, thin and/or patchy)
● Shaving a double coated dog increases the risk of overheating, sunburn, and skin cancer
● Shaving a double coated dog does not decrease shedding
● Shaving a double coated dog does not help with your allergies
● Shaving a double coated dog reduces protection against biting insects.
The best thing 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 Fur-Ever Loved for de-shedding: Adding a conditioner for $5 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 Epi-Pet de-shedding treatment, which is $15-$25 added to your dog’s groom, and a little more intense; Once the dog is lathered up with Epi-Pet shampoo, we blow the coat with our high-velocity dryer, which pushes a lot of the undercoat out.
If you have any questions regarding your double coated dog or de-shedding treatments, please feel free to ask us!
For more information you can also read this great article: http://www.examiner.com/article/why-you-shouldn-t-shave-your-double-coated-dog