Should I Shave My Dog?
Concerned pet parents may question, are summer cuts for dogs necessary? It varies on the breed, and if they need a trim, you want to make sure it gets done appropriately. If you don’t, you risk upsetting your dog’s natural cooling system. That’s why hiring a professional groomer is frequently the best option.
Does Shaving a Dog Make Them Cooler?
As you think about a summer cut, consider the following; Shaving a dog’s thick coat can make it difficult for them to chill down. In addition, different dog breeds have different coats. Some have a double coat, while others have a single coat.
You may believe a summer haircut for dogs is the best option when the temperatures are high. Reconsider your position. Depending on their coat type, many dogs should not get a cut at all. On the other hand, shaving can reverse and make your dog even hotter.
Here are some tips on avoiding shaving your dog in the summer and what you can do instead to keep your dog healthy:
Dogs with Two Coats
Double-coated dogs have a silky, close-to-the-skin inner coat of hair that acts as an insulator, keeping them warm in the winter and cool in the summer. In the summer, a dog will shed much of this underlayer, but what remains will assist collect air between the two coat layers, allowing the dog to regulate their body temperature and keep the heat at bay.
The outer coat (also known as guard hair) is long hair that gives a dog its color and is less likely to shed.
Golden Retrievers, Border Collies, German Shepherd Dogs, Labrador Retrievers, Siberian Huskies, and English Springer Spaniels are examples of double-coated dogs. In the summer, they shed their undercoats but keep their outer layer, or guard hairs, to protect them from sunlight and bug attacks.
Shaving a double coat can also be harmful in the long run. When the undercoat hair gets shaved down to the skin, it grows back faster and crowds out the slower-growing guard hairs. This can make a dog’s coat appear patchy and unattractive by changing the texture and color.
Dogs with Only One Coat
Greyhounds, Boxers, Dalmatians, Poodles, Maltese, and Afghan Hounds are examples of single-coated dogs. They can have short or long hair that is wiry, smooth, or curly, but they all have even-looking hairs with no soft undercoat.
Certain single-coated dogs may benefit from regularly having summer cuts for dogs by a professional groomer. This is to avoid matting and keep them more relaxed; however, you should not shave the coats down to the skin. Instead, to protect them from sunburn, skin cancer, and bug bites, Leave at least 1 inch (2.54 centimeters) of hair on them.
Because these dogs lack an undercoat for added insulation, they must keep at least 1 inch (2.54 centimeters) of hair for warmth and protection.
Instead of shaving, dogs cool down differently than humans, and shaving has little effect on this. Panting controls the majority of your dog’s temperature. They also use vasodilation (blood vessel expansion) to cool down, particularly on their ears and faces. When blood vessels dilate, they bring hot blood closer to the skin’s surface.
Dogs have sweat glands that work similarly to human sweat glands. They are only found in dogs’ paw pads and only activate when they are hot to cool them down. Rather than shaving your dog, you can take the following dog grooming ideas to keep them cool when the weather gets hot:
- Brush your dog’s coat regularly to remove dead hair, prevent matting, and improve air circulation.
- Give your dog a cool bath regularly to keep them clean and pest-free.
- Because your dog’s cooling sweat glands are on its feet, trimming its paws can help the sweat evaporate and cool them down.
- To improve cooling, groomers recommend keeping a dog’s legs and stomach trimmed off extremely long hair.
- Ensure that your dog has access to cool water and shade at all times, that it walks and exercises only during the most excellent parts of the day, and that he is never left alone in a vehicle, even for a few minutes.
The Benefits of a Summer Cut for Canines
Dogs have biological processes to keep themselves cool, such as sweating, panting, and shedding, but they still have a higher risk of overheating than humans. Heatstroke, which is more common and deadly in dogs than you might believe, can quickly develop from feeling overheated.
As a result, it’s critical to keep your dog as cool and comfortable as possible during the summer months. A dog’s coat acts as insulation in the winter, but it can backfire in the summer by trapping heat close to their bodies.
A qualified professional’s closer summer haircuts can help dogs with naturally heavy coats get some respite by allowing excess heat to escape from their bodies. In double-coated dogs prone to shedding, summer cuts can also help.
Which Dog Breeds Need a Cut for Summer?
While every dog is different, certain breeds have more hair on their coats than others. It’s a myth that some breeds don’t shed, yet some grow faster than others.
Poodles and doodles, for example, have finer, longer hair, which prevents their undercoat from simply slipping off their body. For instance, Saint Bernards and Bernese Mountain Dogs are perfect for harsh winter conditions, so their thick, heavy coats are no accident. In addition, these breeds naturally retain heat because they have more hair on their bodies.
As the weather warms up, they, like any other breed that requires frequent grooming (like as Yorkies), will likely benefit from a closer trim. To summarize, the following dog breeds benefit from a fresh summer look:
- Golden Doodles.
- Water Dogs from Portugal.
- Yorkshire Terriers Poodles Newfoundland.
- Bernese Mountain Dogs St. Bernard’s.
A summer cut is also in the works for any dog that need a regular trim for maintenance, such as a Bichon Frise, Shih Tzu, Pomeranian, or Afghan Hound. Of course, they require fresh trims regularly in their cases, and summer is no exception.
A summer cut for dogs isn’t necessary with naturally short coats, such as Boxers or Boston Terriers.
How to Keep Your Dog Cool in Summer (Without Shaving)
Warmer weather usually means spending more time outside with your dog. These grooming suggestions will keep your dog cool and relaxed. They will also improve your bond with your pet as a bonus:
Taking Care of Your Dog
Brushing your dog regularly has several advantages, ranging from less shedding to a cleaner coat. You might not realize, though, that it’s a terrific way to keep a dog cool. It also allows you to check for any abnormalities on their skin, such as illnesses, allergies, or fleas and ticks. In addition, brushing regularly eliminates dead hairs and improves circulation on the skin’s outer layer.
Brushing your dog takes time. The amount of time you’ll spend will depend on the coat of your dog. Golden Retrievers, Old English Sheepdogs, Yorkshire Terriers, and Shih Tzus are examples of double-coated canines that require extra time. A larger dog with more fur does not necessarily mean more time.
It’s a good idea to teach your dog to like it. Russ Hartstein, a certified behaviorist and dog trainer in Los Angeles, recommends brushing your dog in all positions; standing, sitting and lying down to condition them. Then, offer a reward to generate a positive experience if it doesn’t like being handled, especially in sensitive areas.
The loudness and vibrations may be too much for a young puppy’s summer cut. However, gently brushing a puppy’s coat with a child-size electric toothbrush can help it become acclimated to such sensations.
Begin slowly. With one hand, gently petting it with the other, hold one of the tools you’re working with. Allow your dog to sniff the tool if it is interested. You can give it the treat to start to link grooming tools with something good. Begin brushing with tiny, gentle strokes in an area where it enjoys handling.
As you begin brushing, praise your dog for keeping them comfortable; from there, you can progress to longer strokes. Allow them to step away if you realize they’re uncomfortable. It takes time to get a dog used to groom; it is a discipline for both of you.
Make use of the appropriate tools. Grooming requirements change depending on the breed. You must carry out a procedure correctly and with the proper tools and approaches. For example, dogs with a double coat should get groomed with a slicker brush and a wide-tooth comb. You can safely handle dogs with a single coat with a pin brush and comb.
Bathing Your Canine
Because not all dogs enjoy baths, giving yours one may not be as simple as you think. Fortunately, dogs do not require the same level of grooming as humans, and a daily bath is neither necessary nor beneficial to the dog. However, there are specific crucial guidelines to follow while bathing your dog to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience:
- Before you take a bath, get rid of any dead hair or mats. Brush your dog first, or use a wet-dry brush meant for when the shampoo makes it easier to brush out their coat.
- Start at the top and work your way down. Always keep a watch on your dog’s eyes, ears, and mouth. Next, clean your dog’s face with a damp towel, and regulate the direction of the water with a cup or handheld sprayer when rinsing.
- Do not allow water to enter the ears. Place a dry cotton ball carefully at the top of the ear canal to prevent water from getting inside your dog’s ears. A damp cotton ball will allow water to get through. Therefore, changing them out a few times during a bath is a brilliant idea.
- Use an ear-cleaning solution both before and after showering. Use it before removing any wax or dirt accumulated and after to modify the pH of any dampness left behind, preventing germs from growing. You can avoid a potential infection by thoroughly washing and drying your dog’s ears after a bath.
- Rinse thoroughly and adequately. This is the most crucial stage, and it should take as long as shampooing. A dog’s skin is not as airtight as a human’s; instead of one hair for each follicle, each hair follicle in a dog can have many hairs growing from it.
- Any product that isn’t leave-on could seep into a deeper layer of skin, causing irritation ranging from an itch to a chemical burn.
- Use shampoo for dogs. Because a dog’s skin pH differs from a human’s, it’s critical to use a shampoo designed exclusively for canines. In addition, human shampoo eliminates oils from our hair. Oils in dogs’ skin and coats keep them healthy and lustrous; therefore, we don’t want to remove them. It’s also advisable to use chilly or lukewarm water rather than hot water.
- Avoid tripping and falling. Place a towel or non-slippery mat on the bottom of the tub or sink when bathing your dog to keep them from slipping. It is a good idea if you maintain a loose leash around your dog to offer you greater control if they attempt to flee.
- Towel dry your dog after they’ve had a bath, especially their paws. This is important because slippery feet can cause accidents.
- Bathe your dog only as needed. It’s sufficient to do so every few weeks or once a month. Bathing frequently can take essential oils from the skin, causing itching and drying the coat. If you need to clean your dog in between bathing, leave-on sprays that condition and clean are available, and you can wipe away dirt with a moist towel.
Safety Advice for the Summer
- Do not leave your dog in the car at all times. Even if you’re merely rushing into the store with the windows cracked. The heat from a parked automobile can quickly become unbearable. Temperatures can quickly rise to dangerous levels. To save a few minutes, the last thing you want to do is harm or endanger your dog’s life.
- Maintain their hydration. All of our pets require access to fresh, cool water. So if your dog likes ice cubes, by all means, add a few to their dog bowl to help them stay hydrated.
- In the shade, relax. Dogs pant to maintain their body temperature rather than sweating. They draw air over their tongue, which helps cool it down because of the moisture. Nature’s air conditioning is this panting mechanism. When dogs are in the shade, it is easier to pant without direct sunlight. This is because the ambient temperature in a shady location is substantially colder.
- Do not leave your dogs unattended outside. Most canines maintain a core body temperature of 100 to 103 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8 to 39.4 degrees Celcius). It is significantly difficult for dogs to maintain this temperature when it is hot outside.
- Do not keep your dog outside for an extended period. When the sun’s rays concentrate on the roadway for hours, the hot concrete can also burn your dog’s paws.
Understand the signs and symptoms of a dog’s hyperthermia. Heatstroke can be fatal. Here’s how it looks:
- Excessive panting.
- Excessive glazed thirsty eyes.
- Diarrhea with blood.
- Tongue and gums get bright or dark.
- Astonishing pose.
- Unconsciousness due to excessive drooling.
If you think your dog is overheating, take them to the clinic right away. You could save your dog’s life if you act quickly.
Our Top Summer Cuts for Dogs
Hairstyles for Summer
The amount of hair removed is the difference between shaving and trimming. Professional groomers have the skills and experience necessary to determine how much fur should get removed.
Trimming is a must for breeds such as the Poodle, Bichon Frise, and Cocker Spaniel. These breeds have a lot of hair that grows and needs grooming regularly. The bikini, continental, standard puppy, or standard kennel clip are ideal haircuts for dogs like these.
Most groomers refer to general haircuts as puppy clips or kennel clips because dog grooming is personalized.
The kennel clip is most commonly used on poodles, although other dog breeds with similar fur textures can also use it. A scissored topknot and poofy tail pompon trim the face, feet, and tail.
Most dogs were kenneled during the offseason and required a shorter, lower-maintenance route. The kennel cut was born as a result. During the sweltering summer months, the kennel cut is one of the most fabulous haircuts for dogs.
For example, Schnauzers, Wirehaired Fox Terriers, and West Highland Terriers will require expert trimming to satisfy breed requirements. The harsh wire coat on these canines needs to get removed to meet the show’s aesthetic requirements. In addition, hair threads become wiry after being stripped.
This is perfect for pet owners who want their dog to resemble the breed standard as closely as possible. If your dog isn’t a show dog, you can get them clipped for the summer by their groomer. Clipping the coat softens and silkens the fur. Your vision and your dog’s needs determine the summer cut for dogs.
The Final Say
Contrary to common opinion, shaving your long-haired dog (or cat) will not keep them cooler during the hot summer months.
Unlike humans, dogs and cats do not have an extensive network of blood arteries and sweat glands designed to remove body heat in hot weather. Although dogs’ footpads do include sweat glands, these glands play a minor role in total thermoregulation.
Despite their lack of sweat glands, dogs and cats have an extraordinary capacity to evaporate significant volumes of water from their lungs and airways. As a result, water transports heat away from the body when they pant.
Shaving your dog or cat for the summer can make them more susceptible to sunburn and heat exhaustion/heat stroke. Good air circulation through the hair happens through well-brushed and mat-free coats, which can have a cooling effect in and of itself.
On the other hand, matted, untidy hair coats suffocate air circulation and contribute little to body cooling. Finally, a Golden Retriever summer cut is not advisable, whether in summer or not. You will leave the skin bare, exposing them to many dangers.