How Old Do Boy Dogs Have To Be To Breed Not All Dogs Benefit From A Summer Haircut or Shave Down

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Not All Dogs Benefit From A Summer Haircut or Shave Down

It would be impossible to count the number of times each summer we ask a professional groomer to shave a client’s dog in an attempt to make him cooler. Here in rural Montana, where the summers are scorching hot, I’ve had requests to shave just about every type imaginable. It is a common misconception that all dogs would automatically be cooler if they had less hair.

First, it is important to consider what type of coat the dog has. All dogs can basically be divided into two groups. First we have those that need regular grooming, such as poodles, shih tzui, cocker spaniels, lhasa apsos, terriers, etc. Dogs in this group have hair that will grow longer and longer until it is trimmed. These breeds can be shaved without any problems. Removing excess hair by shaving in hot weather will actually make them more comfortable and cooler and won’t damage the dog’s coat. However, this is not the case with the other group.

This group of dogs consists of all other breeds, long-haired or short-haired, whose hair only grows to one length and then stays at that length. These dogs usually shed much more than the dogs in the first group. These include retrievers, Pomeranians, Great Pyrenees, Chows, Pugs, German Shepherds, Huskies, and the list goes on. Their coats act as insulators from the elements and should never be shaved. After all, do you take the insulation out of your home in the summer to make it cooler? Absolutely not, and the same goes for these dogs.

The coat of dogs in the second group consists of two different types of coat, a soft, bristly coat and a sharper, thicker coat called the guard coat. These two types of hair are actually designed to be matted and matted to form a hard shell or skin around the animal to help regulate their temperature in extreme weather conditions. Without regular proper brushing and grooming, this often happens, leading the owner to the wrong conclusion that the coat should be shaved to keep the dog cooler. However, shaving these dogs’ hair takes away their heat insulation, making these dogs hotter and more uncomfortable. Shaving also makes them more susceptible to sunburn.

It is important to understand that if you do decide to shave these types of dogs, their coat will never be the same again. Shaving will change your hair forever. Not only does the hair grow very slowly, but it also grows much softer and sparser. The hair color will also be different, as the hair will be at least two shades lighter than before.

One of the worst things about shaving a dog with this type of hair is that the dog can develop what we call shearing alopecia. Simply put, it just means that the hair is not growing. This is caused by the changing of the guard hairs when they are cut. Clipper alopecia usually first develops in a patch on the dog’s back, located just in front of the tail. After shaving, only a thin layer of hair will grow there, usually reaching a maximum length of about half an inch. Dogs who develop this condition have hair that looks like it’s been eaten by a moth. This is not an attractive sight!

Okay, so what happens if you have a dog that has been treated to the skin and seems to be too hot in this mild weather? Seek the advice of a suitably trained groomer to determine the best course of action. With the many wonderful grooming products on the market, many times these coats can be saved with a few intensive grooming sessions and a little effort in daily grooming by the owner. This optimizes the dog’s coat to perform its insulating tasks properly. Occasionally, the coat really can’t be fixed and actually has to be shaved off to start over. Your groomer can help you with this decision and give you instructions on how to avoid this situation in the future.

It is important to note that if you have a mixed breed dog, it can be difficult to determine which group the dog belongs to. Most groomers can assess the dog’s coat after an examination to let you know which group the dog falls into, and what course of action to take, what risks are involved, etc.

As a former professional groomer, I feel strongly that it is his responsibility to fully explain these things to clients who want to shave their dogs. It is important to share knowledge with clients in order to make the best possible decision for a pet in need of care.

COPYRIGHT 2008 Shannon Heggem

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