Don’t shave your dog to help with the heat this summer!

We have shaved our Mini Labradoodles regularly because it has been the easiest way to keep them comfortable.
I know that this shaving can cause issues with sunburn along with their coats growing back with different textures. But what I didn’t know, is that my dog’s coat acts as a natural insulator. And that when I shave down to the skin I am making my dog more susceptible to heat stroke and causing possible follicle damage. My dog’s coat protects him from sunburn and maybe cancer in the future.

Shaving a double coat can also do long-term damage. When it’s shaved down to the skin, the undercoat hair will grow back faster, and sometimes will crowd out the slower-growing guard hairs. This can change the texture and color of a dog’s coat and make it appear patchy and unattractive.

We have never recommended our puppy buyers to shave their dog’s hair but instead to give a light trimming leaving at least an inch of hair. This can be a much better look and feel for their dog also.

We do shave our labradoodles and poodles but we use a trimmer that leaves about a half inch fur. Also, we keep our dogs indoors so that they are never in the sun too long. We also trim late spring or early summer to avoid the extreme heat when they are first groomed. We also give them a trim late summer going into winter along with regular grooming every month of their ears, eyes, underbelly and paws. And we also notice that some of our dogs hair grows super fast or is in great shape while they are nursing their pups. I relate this to the supplemented nutrition they are receiving when they are pregnant and nursing to add to the development of their puppies. We regularly suggest supplements to our buyers to help with any issues they see in their puppies and as they grow into adults. 

Dogs cool down a lot differently than we do

Shaving really has no big impact on cooling them down. Dogs rely on panting to control most of their temperature regulation. They also rely on vasodilation (blood vessel expansion) to help them cool off, especially on their ears and face. When the blood vessels expand, they bring the hot blood closer to the surface of the skin.

Dogs also have sweat glands that function similarly to human sweat glands. However, these are located only in a dog’s paw pads, and they activate when the dog is hot to cool them down. Whenever I have a dog that seems over heated the first thing we do is bring them indoors and set their feet in a pan of room temperature water, along with taking a wet cloth and rubbing their ears. And of course for our bulldogs in the past we always keep lemon juice to squirt in their throats to cut through the flem. They are going to drool and cough some up and that is what you want to get rid of the flem in their air ways. And in extreme cases call your vet immediately. 

Rather than shaving your dog, use these hot-weather grooming tips to keep your pet comfortable.

· Brush your dog’s fur regularly. This eliminates dead hair, prevents matting, and allows for better air circulation in their coat.

· Give your dog regular cool baths to keep them clean and free of pests.

· Since your dog’s cooling sweat glands are located on their feet, keeping their paws trimmed of excess fur can help the sweat evaporate and cool them off.

· Groomers suggest it’s also a good idea to keep a dog’s legs and stomach trimmed of very long hair to enhance cooling.

· Make sure your dog always has access to cool water and shade, takes walks and exercises only during the coolest parts of the day, and is never left unattended in a vehicle, even for just a few minutes.

When to seek professional help from a groomer.

We work at a young age with all our puppies with ENS which gives them a relaxed feeling when we are handling them. I would say 99% of our puppies are very easy to trim their toe nails and have their ears and toes rubbed at an early age. And when we start the grooming at the 4 week age they are very tolerable with this also. The first time they can be a little finicking but after a couple of times of having their ears eyes and paws groomed they sit very still. The true test is when I get them to stand on my grooming table at about 3 to 4 months old and we do a scissors cut. Out of all the puppies I have groomed I would say I only had one that I could not trust myself to scissors trim at this age so she got a buzz. Since then she has been the perfect sitter for me. LOL 

Check with your local veterinarians if you do not have a professional groomer in your area. Most are going to want to buzz your puppy for easy fast trimming so be aware and talk them into at least a buzz that is not close to the skin. The only time you should be trimming with a super close blade is when there is an open sore or for surgery. 

I hope you have found this article helpful. If you are considering adopting a fur-ever friend we at the Siess Ranch specialize in fitting our puppies in the best-suited homes. Check out the nursery  and contact us with any questions you may have. 


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