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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Pet Care Library > Articles > Your Dogs Coat To Shave Or Not To Shave

Your Dog's Coat: To Shave Or Not To Shave?

PetSmart Tracey Fisher / PetSmart Grooming Expert

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Dog fanciers all have their own opinions on shaving, but the decision to shave your pet's coat is your own.

Dog fanciers all have their own opinions on shaving, but the decision to shave your pet's coat is your own.

There are certainly benefits. Your dog may feel cooler or more comfortable without all that hair, but it will depend on your individual pet. But there are also some risks associated with shaving as well as important post-shaving maintenance routines you'll want to consider. One of the best ways to decide is to consult your professional PetStylist who can assess your dog's coat and provide you with customized information for your pet and situation to help you make the right decision.

Before you book a grooming appointment or pick up the clippers, here are some key points to consider:

Fur as sunblock

It is true that your dog's coat can actually act as an insulator from the sun and the heat if it is properly maintained. Regular grooming will keep the hair mat-free and remove the dead hair that can build up in the coat. This will create a breathable barrier that allows your dog to regulate his body temperature naturally. That outer coat blocks and prevents the hot rays of the sun from getting down to the skin, preventing warming and possible sunburn.

However, an exceptionally thick, packed or matted coat will prevent healthy air circulation needed for cooling and will make it difficult for your pet to stay comfortable in the heat. In this situation, if brushing out  the mats is not an option, shaving would be wise to consider. If you can see skin after shaving, use sun screen and prevent extended exposure to the sun or hot temperatures to avoid sunburn or heatstroke.

If the coat is in good condition but you want to remove weight, you can shorten the coat using a guard comb that will leave the hair longer, retaining that protective barrier from the sun. This is not a once-a-year job and will require a good, regular grooming routine.

Risks and post-shaving grooming
Dogs such as Labs, Shepherds, Huskies and Golden Retrievers have coats that always look the same because the hair grows to a certain length, stops and then eventually sheds out. Although this shedding is more pronounced in the spring and the fall, it is in fact a continual year-round process. Just think about that hair all over your furniture! This shedding is an important function of a healthy coat and skin and does not stop just because you shave the coat short. However when the coat is shaved short, the hair lacks the weight to fall out naturally making it even more important to brush and bath regularly to encourage dead hair removal. If this is not done, the hair follicles may become clogged and problems such as poor or no hair regrowth, color change, blocked follicles and skin problems can result. Weekly brushing with a shedding blade or hound glove and a monthly bathing can help prevent this.

Be aware that even with good post-shaving care, some dogs' coats do not grow back in the same way they did before shaving. There is no way to predict this, but stress factors such as health and age can have an impact.

Talk to your Pet Care professional, ask questions, let them evaluate your dog's skin and coat and together make the decision that is right for you and your pet.

Learn about trimming your dog's coat as an alternative to shaving. 

Visit us in store or on the Web for more information on PetSmart Grooming

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