Don’t Cut or Shave Double Coated Dogs

Please note this applies to double coated dogs only. Examples of double coated dogs: Chows, Collies, Golden Retrievers, Labs, Beagles, Huskies etc..

Myth: Shaving makes my dog shed less
False. Shaving a dog does not make them shed any less – they just shed shorter hair. Shaving removes the guard coat, allowing the undercoat to grow uninhibited, leading to MORE shedding. A proper diet and a professional de-shedding treatment will make a world of difference when it comes to shedding.

BEWARE: Hair loss may occur
Shaving may cause folicullitis, hair follicles become infected and hair growth is impeded. The symptoms can progress fairly quickly, or they may take as much as eight years to develop. Dogs with mild cases may have rings of scales around the follicles. Once the follicles become infected, the infection can bore deeply into the dermis, forming large pustules that rupture, discharge pus, and crust over.

Coat funk/Alopecia X may occur, this causes the guard coat in affected dogs to become dry and brittle, eventually breaking and falling out.  The wooly undercoat, thus exposed, can become dry and matted, and it, too, may eventually come out, leaving the skin bare in spots.  Bare skin tends to turn black.

Treatments include oral antibiotics for three to four weeks or longer, depending on the response; antibacterial shampoos; antibacterial ointments or sprays. Hair may not grow back in correctly even with treatment.

Myth: Shaving my dog makes him cooler
The coat is an essential part of the dog’s heating and cooling system. It is equally efficient at keeping the dogs warm in extreme winter conditions and cool in hot summers. The hollow outer guard hairs are effective insulation against both heat and cold. To remove the coat in summer is to increase the likelihood of heat exhaustion, heat stroke and serious sunburn.

Long haired, double coated dogs do not need to be shaved in the hot weather, any more than you need to shave your head in the hot weather. Unless the dog has passed the point of no return in the matting department, the best type of grooming for these dogs is a vigorous undercoat raking with a special tool that helps remove undercoat, a bath, professional de-shed treatment and a blow dry to help separate the hair so the groomer can get the rest of the undercoat out. Once the undercoat is removed, the dog does feel cooler. The guard hairs on the top that do not shed out provide protection against the rays of the sun, and actually insulate the dog from the heat.

Most people think their dog is cooler if it’s shaved because we feel cooler when we shed layers of clothing and sit in the shade. But we sweat through our skin. Dogs do not. What could happen if their natural methods of cooling themselves are interfered with? Overheating – the exact thing you are trying to avoid.

Skin may also be damaged by UV rays that they would not otherwise be exposed to, it can take a long time to heal, and the dog may have scaling and dandruff for quite some time after the hair has re-grown.

Read about our De-Shed Treatments to find out how to keep your pet cool and reducing shedding in your home.