Is it Okay to Shave a Long-Haired Dog?

When the weather gets hot, it can sometimes be difficult to know whether you should shave your dog or simply allow her to shed naturally. To make things even more complicated, you may not get the same answer from every person you ask regarding this particular subject. Some people are firm believers that nature should be allowed to take its course. In their opinion, you should not shave your dog at all. Others will tell you that it is nothing short of cruel to walk your dog in the middle of a heatwave without shaving her first. If you’re a concerned pet owner who is just trying to do the right thing, what should you do?

Should You Shave Your Long-Haired Dog?

In reality, the answer will depend on the particular breed of dog that you have. Long-haired dogs typically have an outer coat and an inner coat. Shaving a dog with a double coat causes the texture of the hair to change dramatically. As such, it can make the coat extremely coarse. This not only changes the appearance of your dog, but also makes the newly grown hair rather uncomfortable for your pet. It also allows burrs and other debris to stick to the coat far more easily. If you think that’s bad, imagine trying to get all of those burrs out without causing additional pain to your beloved pet.

Can Shaving Irritate the Skin?

In some cases, shaving can indeed irritate your dog’s skin. Again, it largely depends on the pet in question. Some dogs are simply more predisposed to skin conditions than others. For some, it’s because of a congenital condition and for others, it has a lot to do with improper diet. Either way, shaving can cause hot spots or can make existing skin conditions worse. If you have a dog that already has certain skin conditions, you may want to consider whether or not you want to have them shaved at all. There is a possibility that doing so could make the skin condition far worse than it already is.

Are There Breeds That Should Not be Shaved?

Remember, shaving a dog with a double coat can cause a whole host of problems. As it turns out, there are plenty of breeds of dogs that have double coats and none of them should be shaved. It probably goes without saying that Huskies and Malamutes have double coats and should not be shaved under any circumstances. It is okay to have their coats trimmed during the warmer months, but shaving the hair down to the skin is a different story entirely. By the same token, other breeds such as Bernese Mountain Dogs, Newfoundland dogs and Shelties fall into the same category. To round out the list, you should refrain from shaving Golden Retrievers, Border Collies and Aussies.

Can You Shave Your Dog Yourself?

Even if you have a dog that does not have a double coat and you have made the decision to shave it despite the risk of causing skin irritation, you still should refrain from doing it yourself. In fact, shaving your dog on your own is never recommended unless you are an experienced groomer. Instead, it’s something that should be done by a trained professional. These individuals spend the entire day handling pets like yours. They know how to shave a dog properly without causing issues that could be potentially painful. Unless you have plenty of prior experience doing exactly that, you should not shave your dog yourself in an attempt to save money. In addition, you should never use scissors or other sharp objects to trim your dog’s hair under any circumstances.

Potential Behavioral Issues Associated With Shaving

Are there certain behavioral issues that you should be aware of that could potentially be associated with shaving your dog? Some dogs don’t really seem to mind it and others are absolutely terrified of the shears. In fact, some dogs are terrified of the entire process from beginning to end. Obviously, this can cause both physical and behavioral issues for your pet. In a worst-case scenario, that fear could turn into possible aggression. Therefore, it’s best to make sure that your dog is well trained before taking that first trip to the groomer.

When it’s all said and done, you have to decide what is best for your pet. If you have one of the breeds that have been mentioned herein, you should never have them shaved. Even for other breeds that don’t have double coats, shaving down to the skin is not recommended. There is nothing wrong with a nice trim, but it should always be done by a professional. Last but certainly not least, be on the lookout for potential behavioral issues that may be associated with fear or aggression related to grooming.

Sources:
https://vsas.org/2017/07/why-shaving-your-double-coated-dog-is-not-your-best-idea/

https://www.aspca.org/news/heat-wave-approaching-should-you-shave-your-pet#:~:text=It%20is%20ok%20to%20give,the%20hair%20yourself%20with%20scissors.

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