To Shave or not to Shave
So we are coming into Spring and the weather is warming, we are worried it is going to get too hot for our dog and need it shaved! Does this sound like you?
A lot of our dog breeds in this area are working dog lines, pets that have long/short or medium coats. We all worry that with the temperatures we reach our pets really suffer BUT did you know the majority of these dogs need there coat. A double coat dog like Border Collies, German Shepherds, Huskies, Malamutes, Pomeranians etc all have long hair that actually protects them and keeps them cool!! How you ask??
The long hair on these breeds are actual called Guard hair. This hair acts as a reflector to the heat therefor ensuring that the dogs internal temperature remains in a cooler state. Dogs will pant and require a lot of cool water and this with there coat allows them to cool when they need to. As per the diagram you can see that the temperatures actually hotter where the dog has been shaved. This is because it is hitting the dogs skin directly and heating the internal organs. The issues don't stop here either, with the double coated dogs this can also lead to skin cancers, issues with regrowth, patchy coat, dry/irritated skin and many many more issues.
So what is the best option - I always like to educate people regarding this, but each owner may have other issues that might out way this and be the better way. Things like burrs, heavy matting, skin conditions can sometimes out-weigh this process and end up being the option for the dog and owner. I would normally recommend a de-shed which allows the undercoat to be shampooed using a specialised shampoo and process to help remove the undercoat and loose hair and therefore allow the airflow to increase closer to the skin therefore helping the dog remain cool. The below illustration shows the idea of how it works.
So next time you look and think my double coat dog is too hot, speak to me about your concerns and the De-Shedding process and we can advise the best direction to take. Hope this has helped with the understanding of a double coat breed :)