Summer grooming info for pet lovers.
With Summer coming, you may be deciding whether to shave, or just brush your dog. Yes, shaving, or getting your pet shaved is often the easiest solution, but is it the best? Sometimes, yes, sometimes no. It depends on the type of coat your dog has.
There are may types of dogs (and cats) that do really well shaved down short. If you have a 'single-coated' dog, like Poodles, Dachshunds, Chihuahuas, and most curly coated dogs. These dogs fur are one type, and will grow, and re-grow too a genetically determined length. To determine if your pet has a single coat, just look at it. Is all the hair the same colors and texture. Or if you dig down past the top, does it change, get softer, fluffier, and feel/look different? If it is the same, you probably have a single coated pet, and shaving can be the easiest way to cut down on clean up, keep them cooler, and keep their fur in good condition.
There are also many types whose hair will never grow back properly (or it will take years), and will be more susceptible to over-heating after being shaved. These are 'double-coated' dogs, like Huskies, Shepherds, and Chows. For summer, instead of shaving them, brush them really well, bathe them, dry with a hair dryer, then brush again. This will remove the undercoat that sheds, without damaging the outer-coat that doesn't shed and protects the dog from heat, cold, sun, and weather. This type of coat acts a lot like a forest, when you go into a forest or dense patch of trees, even in high summer, it is significantly cooler.
Many will say to not shave Spaniels, or Golden Retrievers. While technically these types have double-coats, in my experience, they do not react poorly to being shaved like Huskies do.
Now, if you have a double coated and it just HAS to be shaved from severe matting or infestation, you will have no choice, but be extra careful of heat exhaustion if you find shaving necessary. Also be sure you do not clip them too short, or they can wind up with a sunburn, and possibly skin damage that will prevent it from growing back. Growing up, we had a Pekingese, she had a lovely medium length coat. One time, the groomer shaved her extremely short, her skin was showing in places. After that, her fur never grew back properly, being patchy, and not growing at all in some places, she had to have sunscreen put on to go outside.
If you have a mixed breed, it is quite possible for the dog to have two types of coat in different parts of their body. My Labrador mix has a double coat on the top of his body, but along his sides, legs, and stomach, he has a single coat.
The best summer grooming advice for any and all pets is top keep them clean, be sure they are well fed, and have plenty of water. The healthier your pet is, the better they will look!
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