Should You Really Shave Your Dog This Summer?
It might not have hit summer yet, but we’ve seen heatwaves sweeping the globe the last couple of years. As the hotter weather (finally!) approaches, you might be wondering if a shaved dog would be more comfortable during summer. After all, you probably wouldn’t want to face the Aussie sun while decked out in a fur coat, would you?
It’s actually not quite that simple. While there was a time we thought shaving dogs for summer was the kindest thing to do, that might not be true anymore. Or maybe you’re thinking a shaved dog would shed less?
Before you break out the clippers and give everyone a buzz cut the army would be jealous of, read this. You might be doing more harm than good.
Dogs that have hair
Although we like to call the pups the ‘furkids’ not all dogs have fur. Some have hair. If you’re considering a dog based on their shedding needs, you might consider a hypoallergenic dog breed.
Check out the Poodle, or the Maltese. Dogs that are part bred Poodles are also partly hypoallergenic. Luckily, Poodle mixes are all the rage these days, especially in designer dog breeds. Think of the Spoodle or Labradoodle, for instance.
Not that this is much help if your dog does indeed have fur – especially of the variety you find all over the house. So if that’s the case, can you shave your dog? Will it help them during summer?
Can I shave my dog for summer?
As it gets hot, or you find that umpteenth black shirt covered in dog fur, we wouldn’t blame you for being tempted to shave your dog. Should you?
The short answer… No, shaved dogs aren’t happier or healthier. In fact, you shouldn’t shave your dog. Surprised? So are a lot of pet parents. It’s easy to assume a shaved dog would be grateful for your clipping services, but it can actually cause some issues.
Like what, you ask? These four things, for a start.
1. Messing with temperature regulation
You may already know that cats and dogs can’t sweat the same way we can. They sweat only through their paw pads and nose. All areas where they don’t have fur. That’s why leaving dogs in hot cars is a big no-no, because they can’t regulate their temperature as well. But shaving their fur off doesn’t help this, because they still don’t have sweat glands on those areas of their skin.
Aside from sweating, they also regulate their temperature in other ways. Metabolism is one of the major ones. A shaved dog might have an altered metabolism, which can affect their ability to keep warm in cold weather or cool in hot weather. Your dog’s undercoat does this naturally.
Oh, and double-coated dogs (like Golden Retrievers and Border Collies) are likely to fare even worse after a shave than single-coated dogs. This is due to the way their coats are designed. They might look impractical, but years of evolution have made sure all that floof is fit for purpose.
2. Sun problems
If you had your head hair shaved off, you’d quickly realise you need a hat or lots of sunscreen to prevent sunburn. The same goes for dogs.
Shaved dogs are more prone to sun damage, sunburn and even skin cancer. So if they do have exposed skin for whatever reason, try to keep them indoors when the sun is strongest. And invest in some dog sunscreen.
3. Hair, hair, everywhere
If you’re shaving your dog to try and get a grip on shedding, you might be in for a nasty shock after taking the clippers to them. Shedding is cyclical, meaning it happens related to your dog’s breed and to the seasons. They’ll often grow longer coats in winter, which shed going into spring and summer, for example.
But if you’re shaving your dog for summer, know that you might mess with this shedding cycle in the long term.
A shaved dog’s fur can grow back and shed unpredictably. Basically, the natural shedding cycle has been disrupted and before you know it, you might have a dog who sheds year-round. Worst nightmare, much? Plus, it might mean your dog struggles to regulate their temperature because the shedding is all wrong for the time of year.
4. Hair and skin damage
Anybody who’s shaved off their hair or eyebrows in a moment of madness knows it doesn’t always grow back exactly the way it started. And this can be the same for a shaved dog.
Basically, the topcoat can grow back worse than how it started out. Since the bottom and topcoat each have their own function, you want them to stay in tip top condition.
Then there’s the skin itself. Not only can regrowth of hair be itchy and annoying, but shaving a dog leaves their skin exposed. And – you guessed it – that means there’s less to protect them. Grass, mud, insect bites, sun, and other factors can all contribute to irritated and sensitive skin. And without a layer of fur between their skin and the elements, this is exacerbated.
Dogs with skin conditions will often make a habit of scratching and licking at irritated patches. That in itself can cause new skin problems. If it sounds like a vicious circle, that’s because it is.
Can I shave my dog to get rid of ticks and fleas?
It’s a myth that shaving dogs gets rid of ticks and fleas. Obviously, it can be hard to see them on dogs with really long and fluffy coats. So shaving does make it easier to spot ticks and fleas, which in turn could make it easier to treat them. But a shave in itself isn’t an effective tick or flea treatment.
Instead, work these flea and tick treatments into your dog’s routine pet care and grooming schedule. Then they should remain tick and flea-free without the need to shave.
Had a close shave? Dog insurance can help with that
You might not be able to shave your dog, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be avoiding close shaves forever. If they get into a tussle with a dog or a car, pick up a virus, or chow down on something toxic, your dog insurance policy will be there for you.
Alongside the priceless peace of mind, PD Insurance offers one or more months of insurance free when you sign up. Plus, no lock in contract. Sooo….