One of the biggest mistakes we see well-meaning owners make is assuming that their dogs skin and fur is identical to their own skin and fur. A dog's skin is very
When we cut our hair or shave our own head or body, we feel lighter, cooler and generally happier.
But when we cut our pet's fur (and I'm referring to shaving them down with a #10 clipper blade), we are putting them at a huge risk.
Dogs aren’t like us - they don't have sweaty scalps or bodies, they don't sweat through their coats. They sweat through their paws. This is why what we do to their coat will do little more than damage it. It’s also why we must use the correct shampoos and conditioners and misty sprays on them (learn more about the dangers of sulfates here).
Let’s assume that you shave your dog (against all logic), and all goes relatively well. No infection, no scrapes, no problems.
You still may be in for a shock...
1. Fur may never grow back correctly
There is a very good chance your dog’s fur will never grow back, and if it does, it may never be the same.
As your dog’s fur grows, you’ll notice that the undercoat is coming in first. Since this is the insulator and skin protector, it’s nice to see it come in.
But, next you’ll notice the guard hairs coming in and you’ll also notice that your pet’s fur doesn’t feel as soft as it once did. Instead, it’s stickier and almost like velcro.
Weeds, leaves, burrs, dust - all of it starts to stick to your dog and it feels like you’re forever picking things out of his fur.
2. It causes pets to overheat
Most people think that shaving their pet will reduce the chance of their pets overheating, but that’s not the truth. It actually interferes with your dog’s cooling process by not allowing air to circulate through to the skin.
When the thick guard hairs are cut, the sun is able to easily penetrate the undercoat. The sun's rays are no longer bent around the dog, they are directly hitting your dog.
This stops the natural cooling process and contributes to overheating.
3. Clipper alopecia
All dogs coexist with Demodex mange mites, bacteria, and fungus (especially the yeast kind) on their skin. It may be gross to think about, but we have the same stuff going on with us if we live with dogs.
Lucky for us, we bathe a little more often, because every time we shave, tiny microscopic incisions from the blade open the skin (sometimes causing a little red gusher) and allows those microscopic critters inside our body.
It’s much more serious for dogs...
The worst thing that can happen to a dog’s beautiful coat is to disturb the hair follicles and invite these yeasty beasts to come inside and begin to multiply.
The end result is fur falling out, black specks appearing on the skin, skin turning black, and your dog being utterly miserable until he obtains relief with DERMagic.
Even for dogs lucky enough to have a bullet-proof immune system to fend off the microbes. It’s sunburn and heatstroke from losing their protective natural insulation from heat and sun.
4. Shaving may increase chance of skin cancer
You bring home your freshly shaved dog from the groomer and right away, you have exposed your pets to sunburn and heatstroke as a result of losing their natural insulation from the heat and sun. You have created the perfect opportunity to exacerbate the dog’s possibility of cancer and put them at high risk for a host of other problems.
The long guard hairs of your dog’s coat helps prevent the suns’ rays from penetrating to the skin, and since most double-coated dogs have sensitive, pinkish skin, it is especially easily damaged (hence the reason they have a double-coat in the first place). This is especially true for northern breeds.
If you have pale, pink skin and leave it exposed to the sun all day, you can imagine how miserable you would be. The same is true for dogs. The guard hairs and undercoat of a double-coated dog protect their skin from sun damage.
5. It can make your dog feel uncomfortable
While some people don't believe that pets have feelings, we happen to believe they do. We've seen some mighty uncomfortable dogs who were shaved too closely. The result was behavior issues, increased "negative" behavior, and what we think is a depressed dog.
There are times when shaving your dog is inevitable - they require surgery or other treatment, have gotten into something sticky or some other reason. At that time, you must follow your vet's suggestion. But, if you don't absolutely HAVE to shave your dog, please don't take it up on yourself or ask your groomer to do so.
Please don’t shave your dogs during summer. You may be creating a lifetime of problems with systemic yeast infections, the potential of skin cancer, and even more
Let your dog be a dog. After all, isn't that why we love them so much?