It is not uncommon to see dog owners shaving their pets when summer arrives. After all, even humans tend to wear minimal clothes like t-shirts and shorts to beat the heat. So, shaving their hair might seem like the right thing to do to keep them cool. However, that’s not always the case. Some dog breeds should never be shaved unless it’s a medical emergency.
If you have a dog that’s a double-coated breed, avoid shaving them down at any cost. Even a single shave can cause irreversible damage to your dog and cause more harm than good.
While you can shave short-haired dog breeds, we still wouldn’t recommend it unless you know how to take care of a dog. There are several risks involved with shaving a dog.
What Dog Breeds Should Not Be Shaved
Let’s take a closer look at the question of what dog breeds should not be shaved.
Why Should Double-Coated Dogs Not be Shaved?
Double-coated dogs have two layers of coat, the topcoat, and the undercoat hair. The topcoat hairs of the dog are enough to protect them from the heat. This topcoat hair also prevents skin cancer and burns from the sun’s heat. So, shaving them completely will have them exposed to several issues.
Another reason why you so should not shave your double-coated dogs is because of how topcoat hair grows. In single-coated dogs, the fur grows uniformly. So even if you shave them, the hair will grow back to its normal state after some time. However, that is not the case with double-coated dogs.
In double-coated dogs, the topcoat grows much slower compared to the undercoat hair. So, if you shave them, there will be inconsistencies between the topcoat and the undercoat hairs. The undercoat will start growing longer than the topcoat resulting in mixed texture. Your dog’s hair will feel coarser and will not be the same as it used to be.
Moreover, when the undercoat and the topcoat are jumbled up together, the hair becomes denser. This prevents proper airflow, which causes overheating. With the topcoat compromised, the sun can also enter the skin, which may lead to sunburn and many more complications.
List of Double-Coated Dogs
Now that you know the implications involved with shaving double-coated dogs, it’s important to know which dog breeds have a double coat. This will prevent you from shaving double-coated dogs unintentionally.
Double-coated dogs are usually from the northern part of the world. Here is a list of some of the most common double-coated dogs that should never be shaved:
- Great Pyrenees
- Cavalier King Charles
- Labrador and Golden Retrievers
- Burmese Mountain Dogs
- Shih Tzus
- Alaskan Malamutes
- Australian, English, and German Shepherds
Complications Related to Shaving a Dog
While it may seem normal for some people to shave a dog’s coat, it is actually not very safe. Whether your dog is a double-coated or single-coated breed, there are some complications that can arise with shaving their coat. A dog’s natural coat acts as an insulator, and shaving it could leave them exposed to direct sunlight, causing overheating, discomfort, and many more.
It is extremely important to know how to take care of a dog and its coat. Some of the complications that you may face by shaving a dog’s coat are:
- Skin Problems: Shaving off a dog’s coat completely can cause several skin problems. One of the most common problems is ingrown hair. When the coat is shaved off completely, it triggers the development of ingrown hair, which can be painful for the dog. Ingrown hair is also hard to treat. Besides that, if your dog already suffers from skin issues like sensitivity and dryness, shaving the hair will only make things worse for them.
- Sunburn: Most dogs usually have very sensitive skin. Thus, the coat acts as a protective layer of the skin from harmful UV rays. When this protective layer is shaved off, your dog can suffer from serious sunburns. Sunburns are just as bad for dogs as they are for humans. Sometimes, it’s even worse. In serious cases, it can also result in skin cancer for your pet.
- Coat Damage: As already discussed, this issue can have really bad implications for dogs with a double coat. If you want to preserve the beautiful and smooth coat of your dog, it’s best to never shave them.
- Clipper Injuries: The clippers used for shaving dog hair are usually very loud and sharp. So, it is possible for the loud buzzing clippers to spook your dogs and make them twitch. And when that happens, the clipper may also cause cuts on your dog’s skin. Besides that, clippers can also become uncomfortably hot, which can be painful for your dog. All of these problems can be avoided if you don’t shave your dogs.
Some Common Misconceptions
There are several misconceptions that are responsible for why people shave their dogs. We will look at some of those misconceptions so that you won’t get confused about them later on. By eliminating these misconceptions, you will also know how to care for a dog the right way.
- Shaving can minimize or solve allergy problems
This is one of the most common misconceptions and also one of the main reasons why so many people shave their dogs. However, this could not be further away from the truth. Shaving does not improve allergy problems at all. In fact, you will only make the problem worse by shaving the dog.
The hair is not responsible for allergies in dogs. It is actually caused by skin flakes, dander, saliva, and oil. If you shave the hair off, there will be more dander and skin flakes instead. Moreover, the skin will also remain exposed to all kinds of bacteria, which may further worsen the issue.
The best thing to do is deal with the allergy itself by using over-the-counter antihistamines and not by shaving the dog.
- Shaving reduces dog hair shedding
Shaving WILL reduce dog hair shedding but only for a few days. The hair will start growing back very soon, and the shedding will continue. Only this time, the hair will be shorter and will create a mess that will be hard to clean.
Shorter hairs will easily work their way into your clothes, carpets, and other upholstery. The worse thing is that some of the hair might not be visible, and you might miss them while cleaning your house.
Other Alternatives for Shaving
If you feel like your dog’s coat is causing discomfort or making them look unpleasant, there are several alternatives to shaving that you should go for. These alternatives will help keep your pet comfortable and cool:
- Regular Grooming
No matter what type of dog you own, regular grooming is a must. It’s important to brush your dog’s long hair regularly if you want to reduce shedding. Moreover, eliminating those loose hair will also keep your dog cooler and less irritated. Also, try to bathe them with a good shampoo to eliminate dander and reduce the risk of skin allergy.
- Trim their coat
If you feel like your dog looks untidy and bulky, you can also try giving them some hair trimming as opposed to shaving. Make sure to trim only the longer part and don’t cut off too much of the length. A nice trim will have your dog looking fresher and healthier. Moreover, they will also feel good and comfortable.
- Regulate their activities
Since it can get pretty hot even for your dog during the summer, you need to regulate their activities. For example, if it’s a hot day, consider taking them out early in the morning or at night when the weather is much more pleasant. Try not to exert too many activities on them when it’s hot.
- Prepare shades for them
During the summer days, make sure that your dog has shades where it can rest at all times. Staying out under the sun can be very uncomfortable for them and may even cause other problems. If they have an outdoor kennel, make sure that it has proper shade.
- Provide water
It’s important to provide fresh and cool drinking water for your dog when it’s hot outside. If they are dehydrated, the effects of the heat will be amplified. However, if they are well-hydrated, dogs can easily fight the hot summer days.
What if My Dog Has Already Been Shaved?
As bad as it is, shaving your dog is not the end of it. So, if you’ve already shaved your dog somehow, don’t worry too much about it. Every dog is different from one another. So, shaving may not have permanent damage to your dog.
It may take some time before you see what damage the shave might have done. But until then, just keep your dog well-groomed and brushed for now. Also, moisturize their skin to prevent them from drying out. If the coat is still too short, try to limit the amount of time the dog spends out under the sun. Without their protective coat, they can get sunburned or, even worse, cancer.
Some of My Favorite Products For Dog Owners
I hope this article has helped you just a bit in everyday life as a dog owner. Being a dog owner for more than 25 years, I’ve tried many different products with varying success, but these products below are some that I can highly recommend to every dog and their owner without hesitation!
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Dog Training: If you’ve ever owned a puppy, you know that it requires a lot of training to grow into a well-behaved adult. Brain Training for Dogs has helped me immensely with the mental training part of raising a dog, and it’s something I strongly recommend you consider.
Grooming: If you have a dog in your home, you’re going to need a brush, and for this, I recommend a Hertzko Self-Cleaning Slicker Brush. For that price, you simply can’t beat this brush for everyday grooming.
If you’re looking for the most up-to-date recommendations, check out my recommended products section that I’ve created to help every dog owner!