Should I Shave My Dog’s Fur in Hot Weather?

March 20, 2015

By Laurie Darroch

As the weather changes from cold to hot, you may feel that your dog would stay cooler if you cut his fur. However, before you do that, you need to think about what type of dog you have and what the layers of fur actually do for a dog, particularly if they are a double coated breed.

Look into the type of coat your particular dog has. Not all coats are the same, and what may seem cooler to you may not actually be helping your dog. In many cases, it’s better to opt for daily grooming and maintenance instead of shaving off your dog’s protective fur. You may be doing more damage than good by removing natural covering.

Types of Dog Hair

Some dogs have what is called a double coat. It is actually two layers of hair that are meant to protect the dog from the elements, including heat. The undercoat is thicker and softer than the overcoat. The double layers actually trap cooler air in against the dog’s body. It is built-in insulation. Huskies and German Shepherds are two types of dogs with double coats. It may look hot to you and be work to take care of their coat, but you may be doing them a disservice by shaving them if it is not absolutely necessary because of extreme coat damage.

Other dog breeds have single coats, such as the Doberman Pinscher or the French Bulldog. Some dogs are non-shedders or low shedders, such as the Poodle, Kerry Blue Terrier or Lakeland Terrier, but some non-shedders or low shedders can be double coated as well. The point is to know and understand your particular dog’s breed and coat type before you make any decisions regarding shaving or clipping for hot weather.

Grooming

Grooming keeps your dog’s fur at its best and makes any natural protection work better. Whether double layered or not, keep your dog clean, brushed and free from matting, knots, pests, and debris. Maintaining their coat in a healthy manner is important for all dogs. The cleaner it is, the better it can do its job. All those foreign substances make it harder to stay cool and healthy.

Shaving can also alter the way your dog’s fur grows in the future. There are instances where the coat may need to be shaved to remove matting that cannot be brushed out, but that is extreme. It is best to maintain their coat and prevent those extremes.

The topcoat grows back much more slowly than the undercoat. The undercoat may shed constantly where the topcoat does not. It is a natural process.

Talk to a professional groomer who knows and understand various breed differences, or a vet who has knowledge about your dog’s coat before you take the extreme measures to shave your dog. They also know the right way to trim your dog’s coat instead of extreme shaving.

Every dog is a unique individual, and their coat and skin may respond differently to shaving. Ask yourself what is best for your dog, not what is easiest for you to deal with, before you make a decision to shave their coat off for hot weather.

If you do decide to shave your dog, whether a double coated variety or not, be sure to give them extra protection from the heat and sun with cool places to rest and cover from exposure. Keep plenty of water available. Dogs with or without shaving can get sunburn and heat stroke if they are too exposed.

Top photo by Ritmo/Flickr
Bottom photo by LWYang/Flickr

Read more articles by Laurie Darroch

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Comments

  1. sam says:

    Very well written. I agree totally. I like this part: “Every dog is a unique individual, and their coat and skin may respond differently to shaving. Ask yourself what is best for your dog, not what is easiest for you to deal with.”

    I guess that is all that matters – giving your dog what is best for it. And if you’ve not done too well at grooming, it may be best to trim the furs down a little, better still, have a professional do it.

    Cheers.