For years, dogs owners, dog trainers, and even veterinarians have argued about whether it’s ok, or even beneficial, to shave your dog’s coat.
So…to shave or not to shave…what is the right choice?
As a dog owner myself, I know that the answer isn’t necessarily black or white. In fact, there are many factors (both positive and negative) that need to be considered when making such a decision for your pup.
So, with that in mind, I’m simply going to leave you with some considerations to ponder as you make your decision. Here are a few thoughts rooted in factual information that might help you determine if a shave is a good idea for your dog…
There are two main types of dog coats.
The first type of dog coat is a double coat. Dogs with a double coat have two layers of fur—a bottom coat that helps keep them warm and insulated and a top coat that helps repel water and dirt. Common breeds that have these types of coats are:
The second type of coat is a single-layer coat. Just as the name explains, a single coat means your dog only has one layer of fur that helps keep him warm and protected.
Common dog breeds with single coats are:
If you’re unsure of whether your dog has a single or double coat, Google it. You should be able to find out pretty fast with a quick online search. In general, it’s not ideal to shave your dog if it has a double coat.
The reason: The double coat is actually designed to shield and protect your dog from the heat and keep him cool. If you remove that double coat, he will have a harder time staying cool.
This isn’t to say that there aren’t circumstances in which a double-coated dog should be shaved. However, I hope you will use this information and talk to your vet before making the decision.
Most people make the decision to shave their dog because they live in a hot climate and worry about their dog overheating. This is a very valid concern—especially if your dog spends a lot of time outdoors. In this case, I would say it’s probably ok to consider shaving your dog (if he doesn’t have a double coat that’s designed to protect against heat).
That being said, it’s far more important to simply ensure your dog has access to cold, fresh water, air conditioning, and shaded outdoor areas.
Additionally, if you live in a hot climate and haven’t adopted a dog yet, I suggest you look for breeds that do well in hot climates. For example, if you live in Florida, adopting a husky might not be the best decision.
You don’t necessarily have to cut all your dog’s fur off to keep him cool. In fact, if you have a dog with very long fur (such as a bearded collie or Havanese), a trim might be just enough to give him the relief he needs, without destroying his coat and causing health problems.
A little trim can also help protect against other health issues such as:
Instead of shaving your dog’s entire body, talk to your groomer about trimming up your dog instead.
If you own a husky that spends most of his time lying around your air-conditioned home, then there really is no reason to shave your dog. He’ll be more than ok to go outside to do his business or for a daily walk.
However, if you own a dog that lives outside full-time or spends most of the day outside in the heat and has trouble staying cool, then it might be worth getting him shaved. Once again, keep in mind the rule of double-coated vs single-coated dogs.
If you have a double-coated dog, it’s a safer option to ensure he has access to shade and water instead of getting him shaved. If it’s a single-coated dog, I don’t see any reason why a shave would hurt.
Last, but certainly not least, it’s important to remember that dogs have fur coats for a reason. They offer protection from the sun, rain, heat, cold, etc.
If you shave your dog’s coat too thin, and he spends a lot of time outside, he’s naturally going to be more at risk for:
At the end of the day, it’s up to you to determine what is best for your dog. Be sure to take into consideration:
And don’t forget…
It’s never a bad idea to trim your dog’s fur—even if your dog has a double coat. Trimming helps prevent annoying issues for dogs, such as having their fur cover their eyes. It can also prevent them from developing dreadlock-type mats that cause skin irritations and other issues.
Keeping these things in mind, I have no doubt that you’ll make the right decision on behalf of your canine companion.
The post The Great Shave Debate: 5 Things to Consider Before You Shave Your Dog appeared first on The Online Dog Trainer.