How early should you shave your dog's coat for Spring?

It feels as though our winters run shorter and our summers run longer every year. This temperature change is even more prevalent for long-haired dogs, whose coats aren’t designed for the warmer weather and must be watched closely to avoid overheating. Some pet owners decide to take matters in their own hands by shaving off their dog’s coat before the heat wave reaches them. Is this the best solution for your dog? If so, when should you do it? Let’s see if we can find these answers below.

Accounting for Length

A general rule you should follow about dogs is that their coats should never be shorter than an inch long. For dogs with naturally short fur coats, they often have thicker coats to protect their skin from burning and to prevent easy access to bugs. Dogs have thinner skin than humans, so their skin burns much quicker in direct sunlight. 

The color of a dog’s hair does work the same as humans, in regards to the risk of burning. The lighter the hair color, the easier it is for them to burn.

Long Hair, Double Layer

Chances are that if your dog has a long fur coat, it is also a double layered coat. This means that they have a soft layer of fur that lies beneath their longer, rougher coat. These breeds of dogs should never be shaved and should only be groomed or trimmed. The reason being is that these double layer coats provide valuable insulation that will be lost as each layer grows at a different rate. The top layer will grow back significantly slower.

The lustrous top layer may never grow back fully, losing the beauty and fullness of your dog’s coat. The top coat is very beneficial for long haired dogs, as it provides an extra waterproof layer and deflector of foreign particles that would otherwise get stuck in the dog’s fur. So, don’t shave your dog’s thick coat off unless you want to deal with more allergies and more maintenance for keeping it clean.

Shaving out of Necessity

If, for whatever reason, your dog’s hair becomes too matted or becomes an obvious irritant to your dog during warmer weather (a time when fleas and ticks are at their worst), it might be the best choice to shave off and start off anew. If you’re going to shave them, it is best to leave the job to a professional and take them to a groomer to make sure it gets done evenly, safely, and quickly.

Your dog might rebel, at first, when attempting to trim their fur down to a short length, but after it is done, they will feel so much lighter, happier, and cooler. Remember, don’t go further than one inch of fur to prevent sun damage and insect bites. On the following days after their trim, take extra care of their hair and skin by brushing them with a soft bristle brush, as well as bathing them weekly to remove any dead hair and skin.

We hope this information sheds some light on when and if you should really shave your dog’s coat this Spring. Remember, all dogs are not the same! When in doubt, don’t – at least until you can consult a professional.