Shaving Double Coats

Why you should never shave a double coat

Shaving a double-coated dog might seem like a logical solution to help them stay cool during hot weather, but it’s important to understand that doing so can actually have negative consequences for their health and well-being. Here’s an educational write-up on why you should avoid shaving a double-coated dog:

Preservation of Natural Cooling Mechanism: Double-coated breeds, such as Huskies, Golden Retrievers, and Australian Shepherds, have a unique coat structure that acts as a natural insulation system. The undercoat provides insulation against both cold and heat. Shaving these dogs removes this built-in cooling and insulating mechanism, leaving them more susceptible to temperature extremes.

Regulation of Body Temperature: The double coat acts as a natural thermostat, helping to regulate the dog’s body temperature. The undercoat provides insulation from the heat, while the topcoat reflects sunlight and prevents direct exposure to the skin. Shaving the coat disrupts this temperature regulation, potentially leading to overheating, heatstroke, and sunburn.

Risk of Sunburn and Skin Damage: The exposed skin of a shaved double-coated dog is vulnerable to sunburn and UV damage. These breeds are not adapted to direct sunlight on their skin, and shaving increases their susceptibility to painful burns. Sunburn can lead to discomfort, skin problems, and even an increased risk of skin cancer over time.

Alteration of Coat Texture: Shaving a double coat can lead to permanent changes in the texture and color of the new coat that grows in. In some cases, the new coat might not grow back properly, leaving the dog with uneven fur or patches that take longer to recover.

Loss of Waterproofing: The double coat helps to repel water and maintain the dog’s waterproofing, which is particularly important for breeds that were originally bred for water work or cold climates. Shaving the coat compromises this natural water-resistant quality, making the dog more susceptible to wetness, skin infections, and discomfort.

Risk of Overheating and Heatstroke: Contrary to popular belief, shaving a double-coated dog doesn’t necessarily make them cooler in hot weather. The loss of the insulating undercoat can actually make it easier for heat to penetrate to the skin, leading to overheating and potentially life-threatening heatstroke.

Delayed Return to Natural State: A dog’s coat grows back slowly after being shaved. This means that if you shave a double-coated dog, it might take months or even a year for their coat to fully return to its natural state. During this time, they will lack the protection and insulation their coat provides.

In conclusion, shaving a double-coated dog might seem like a quick fix to keep them cool, but it can lead to a range of negative consequences, including temperature regulation issues, sunburn, altered coat texture, and increased risks of overheating and skin damage. Instead of shaving, opt for regular and appropriate grooming practices, such as brushing to remove loose undercoat, which helps your dog maintain a healthy coat and stay comfortable in all seasons. If you’re uncertain about how to care for your dog’s coat, consulting with a professional groomer or veterinarian can provide valuable guidance.