About the Double Coat
Some dogs (such as Golden Retrievers, Huskies, Collies, Shelties, Shepherds etc) have a double coat which is made up of a soft undercoat (which can be fine and downy, or thick and plush) and a coarser topcoat. Such coats developed because of the purposes for which these dogs were bred. Many double-coated dogs were intended to remain outside or work no matter what the weather.
Unfortunately, the developers of these breeds bred dogs that create headaches for the pet owners of today. The insulating undercoat of the Alaskan Malamute or Collie might keep a dog alive on the frozen tundra, but it’s a nuisance to people who take care of these dogs as pets indoors. With regular grooming and brushing, however, your house can be relatively free of unwanted hair. Your dog will thank you for it, since he will be more comfortable as well!
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
Shaving a double coated dog is rarely done at Fur-Ever Loved Pet Salon unless vet recommended. From our perspective the health concerns outweigh the perceived health benefits.
Reasons not to shave a double coated dog:
● 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.
Our Recommendations for Double Coated Dogs
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, then we rinse the dog, dry it completely, and use multiple brushes and combs to get the rest of the hair out. However, we take care not to over-brush the dog causing irritation to the skin which is called “brush burn”.
The best thing 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!