We wouldn't want to wear a giant fur coat in the summer, so should your dog? As always, there's no black and white answer. It's entirely dependent on the type of coat your dog carries.

Non-Shedding Coats

Take the free Trialpoodle-2.jpgThere are several breeds that do not shed. Dogs like Poodles, Soft Coated Wheaton Terriers or Shih Tzus do not shed their coats naturally. That means they need periodic haircuts to keep their coat neat and tangle free. What's important to remember is that you're not truly "shaving" the dog, like you would your legs. You're just clipping parts of the coat very close to the skin. Leaving a thin layer will help to protect your dog from elements like sunburn and skin cancer.

 

Single-Coated Breeds

Vizsla On White 01 Single-coated dogs, like Dalmatians or Vizslas shed quite frequently. Their coats are short, but dense, and they provide insulation and protection to the dog. Nothing short of a drastic medical requirement should convince you to shave a single-coated dog.

 

Double-Coated Breeds

Double-Coated breeds are dogs that require thick coats to combat the elements. They are typically Sporting, Herding and Working breeds and they have double coats for a reason. The outer coat protects from the elements and the undercoat provides insulation. This is truly the last type of coat you would want to remove unless you're facing a health issue and it's recommended by your veterinarian. 

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The image to the left shows what a properly maintained undercoat can do to protect your dog. If you quickly brush your double-coated dog a few times a week, you'll do a much better job of keeping them cool in the summer. Allowing the undercoat to matt will cause issues and shaving a double-coated dog will leave them with no protection from the sun.

The image to the right is a heat map of a dog who's been partially shaved with a "lion clip". You can see that the temperature of the skin under the remaining coat is significantly cooler at 24°c compared to the shaved skin at 30.8°c. 

The coat doesn't just warm the dog, it also cools the dog!

If you do feel the need to shave your dog this summer, talk to a well established groomer before you make this leap. There will likely be other options that will serve your dog better in the heat!

As always, Happy Training!