A Husky owner shared a photo of his Husky having gotten a “summer shave”. And although it went viral for seeming funny, the photo sparked controversy among dog lovers upset that the double-coated dog had been shaved down. It’s also unintentionally become an educational tool as to what to do (and not do) to keep your dog cool in the summer. It turns out that shaving a double-coated dog is definitely in the “not to do” column.
After seeing the photo, many people were amused, but one groomer weighed in on the dangers of shaving a dog, especially one with a double coat. “Groomer here,” they wrote on reddit. “This actually ruins the coat. This is why it is important to decide what type of dog you want before getting one. If you can’t handle the fur, then go with a boxer or a Schnauzer. A double coat acts as an AC unit and as a heater for the seasons.”
The go on to explain that the fur won’t grow back properly. “After awhile, his coat won’t come back, it will become patchy, will thin out and basically all around unpleasant to touch. Won’t be the smooth fur coat you fell in love with in the beginning.”
Another redditor felt similarly and posted the following photo as way of example:
As the groomer indicated, a dog with a double coat not only works to keep a dog warm in the cold, it also works to keep them cool in the heat. It does so because air is “trapped” between the layers of fur and acts like a natural air conditioner. This diagram shows how the fur acts as a natural shield against the sun.
That’s not to say a dog with a double-coat shouldn’t be groomed. Having a proper rake brush to get rid of the dead hair in the undercoat, and regularly brushing and trimming a dog’s fur, will ensure that they are properly insulated and that their fur is “functioning” properly.
On a side note, shaving dogs with single coats isn’t a good idea either, as you are simply exposing the dog’s skin to more sun and therefore an increased possibility of sunburn. Again, trimming fur can be a good way to keep a dog’s coat healthy and clean through the summer months.
Dogs with thin coats like Bulldogs, Boxers and Pit Bulls (especially ones with white fur) actually need to be protected from the sun, to prevent them from sunburning or potentially developing skin cancer. For these dogs, keeping them out of direct sunlight and protecting them with outerwear is a good idea.
If your dog is active outside in the summer, numerous companies have developed cooling vests to help regulate their temperature. Other ways of combating heat is to keep a dog properly hydrated, limit their time in the sun, and to keep alert to the signs of heat stroke. This is especially important for short-nosed (brachycephalic) breeds like Pugs, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Boston Terriers and English Bulldogs.
For more summer safety tips for dog owners, click here.