When a man decides not to shave his face – it’s usually for an admirable reason, like No-Shave November (designed to raise cancer awareness throughout the month). Sometimes it’s just an excuse to get out of shaving, but – more often than not – there’s a purpose behind that decision!
But, when a groomer decides not to shave a dog’s coat, it’s rarely “just because.” It’s in the dog’s best interest for multiple reasons.
A Dog’s Coat is Suited for Heat or Cold
Often, pet parents mistakenly assign human conditions to their pets. For example, thinking their Husky, Chow or Samoyed gets too hot and should be shaved. The truth is their coats serve as natural heating and cooling mechanisms.
“These breeds have a double-layered coat that protects the
from the snow and cold, and prevents sunburn in hot months,”
says Humberto Z., who has been a groomer since 2008.
Shaving double-coated dogs can also cause unwanted medical conditions, like alopecia, which prevents the coat from growing back properly. Sam, an experienced pet stylist, explains, “I try to educate pet parents who request a shave on a double-coated dog on why it is harmful to do so.”
Does Shaving Stop K9 Shedding?
People tend to also believe that shaving will stop shedding – fake news! Fur returns, and with it comes inevitable furballs rolling across the floor like tumbleweeds. “Double-coated dogs shed a lot during hotter months because they’re letting their undercoat out <blowing coat>,” further advises Humberto. “When you do a de-shedding brush out it’s fine because you’re taking only the undercoat out and leaving what is called the guard coat – a layer to prevent sunburn.”
Brittany Z, who has been grooming professionally since 2005, offers alternatives to shave requests. “I would first offer a really good bath with de-shedding shampoo, blow out and a de-shedding brush out with the best tool for that dog’s coat. Then to reduce shedding, I recommend a good brush out every 2 weeks and a bath every 4 weeks.”
Fur-Bearing vs Hair-Bearing Canines
Fur-bearing dogs have different needs than hair-bearing dogs; talk with your groomer about what’s best for your pup. Hair-bearing dogs like Poodles, Shih Tzus and Yorkies, need haircuts regularly and can typically be shaved if needed. But fur-bearing, double-coated dogs, such as Alaskan Malamutes, Labs and Golden Retrievers have fur that grows to a particular length and should NOT be shaved.* You can find a complete list of breeds and coat types at www.akc.org.
Sometimes, when a dog has gone too long without proper grooming and develops tightly packed matted fur against their skin, a shave is necessary. These mats are painful – their skin is being pulled by the tightening fur, and skin diseases can develop if left untreated. Most of these shaves should be performed with the dog under sedation with vet supervision, followed by a skin/coat care regimen to protect the pup while their fur grows back, and a regular grooming schedule to prevent a reoccurrence.
With a bit of coat education, you can keep your pup’s coat and skin healthy, while the groomer makes them look grrrr-eat!
Meet our Guest Blogger:
Renee Ventrice is the VP of Marketing for Woofie’s LLC, proud mom of Beemer, a 13-year-old Parsons Russell Terrier and human mom to her 20-year-old son Gino.
Woofie’s was established in 2004 and is an award-winning pet care company offering pet sitting, dog walking and mobile pet spa services as well as franchising opportunities. Learn more about Woofie’s at www.woofies.com.
* Source: http://www.GroomersGallery.com
Photo Credits: Ellen Zangla Photography