Call Out Seasonal Job At Keeping Me On Site Www.Reddit.Com 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 how many times each summer a professional groomer is asked to shave a customer’s dog in an effort to make it look fresher. Here in rural Montana, where the summers are scorching hot, I’ve had requests to shave nearly every breed imaginable. It’s 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 be basically divided into two groups. First we have those that need to be trimmed regularly, such as poodles, shih tzus, cocker spaniels, lhasa apsos, terriers, etc. Dogs in this group have hair that would keep growing longer and longer until it was cut. These breeds can be shaved without any problems. Removing excess fur by shaving it in hot weather will really make them more comfortable and cooler and won’t cause any damage to your dog’s coat. However, this is not the case for the second group.

This group of dogs consists of all other breeds, long-haired or short-haired, whose coat grows to only one length and then stays that length. These dogs typically shed much more than dogs in the first group. These include retrievers, pomeranians, great pyranees, chow chows, pugs, german shepherds, huskies and the list goes on and on. Their coats act as insulation against the elements and they should never be shaved. After all, do you strip your house of insulation in the summer to make it cooler? Absolutely not, and the same goes for these dogs too.

The coats of dogs in the second group consist of two different types of hair, a soft, downy undercoat and harder, thicker hairs called guard hairs. These two types of hair are actually designed to get matted and tangled to form a hard shell or skin around the animal to keep their temperature regulated in extreme weather conditions. Without proper brushing and grooming on a regular basis, this often happens, leading the owner to the false conclusion that the coat needs to be shaved to make the dog look fresher. However, shaving these dogs’ coats takes away their insulation from the heat, effectively making them hotter and more uncomfortable. Shaving also makes them more susceptible to sunburn.

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

One of the worst things about shaving a dog with this type of coat is that the dog can develop what we call clipper alopecia. In simple terms, it just means that the hair doesn’t grow back. This is caused by a change in the guard hairs when they are trimmed. Clipper’s 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 regrow, usually growing to a maximum length of about half an inch. Dogs that develop this condition have coats that look like they’ve been eaten by moths. This is not an attractive sight!

Ok, so what if you have a dog that is matted to the skin and appears to be too hot in this balmy weather? Seek the advice of a properly trained groomer to determine the best course of action. With so many miracle grooming products available on the market, many times these coats can be saved with a couple of intense grooming sessions and some effort in daily grooming by the owner. This optimizes the dog’s coat to perform its insulating tasks correctly. Occasionally, the coat is truly beyond repair and in fact needs to be shaved to start again. Your groomer can help you with this decision and give you guidance on how to avoid this situation in the future.

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

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

COPYRIGHT 2008 Shannon Heggem

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