What happens if you shave a double coated dog?

Answered by Douglas Hiatt

Shaving a double coated dog can have several negative effects on their overall well-being. The double coat, consisting of a dense undercoat and a longer outer coat, serves as a natural insulator for the dog, providing protection against both cold and hot weather conditions.

Firstly, when the dog’s coat is shaved, they lose the insulation that the undercoat provides. This can be particularly problematic during colder months, as the dog is more susceptible to cold temperatures and may struggle to regulate their body temperature effectively. Without their natural protection, they may become more prone to hypothermia and discomfort in chilly environments.

Secondly, shaving a double coated dog exposes their skin to various external elements. The longer outer coat acts as a barrier against parasites, such as fleas and ticks, and also protects against irritants and allergens in the environment. When this protective layer is removed, the dog becomes more vulnerable to insect bites, skin irritations, and allergies.

Additionally, the undercoat of a double coated dog provides protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Shaving the coat leaves their skin exposed to direct sunlight, which can lead to sunburns, skin damage, and an increased risk of developing skin cancers. It’s important to note that even dogs with lighter-colored coats can be at risk of sunburn, as the pigment in their skin does not provide sufficient protection.

Furthermore, the double coat serves as a defense against wind and other environmental elements. Shaving the coat compromises this protection, making the dog more susceptible to windburn and other adverse effects of harsh weather conditions.

It is worth mentioning that shaving a double coated dog can also have long-term effects on the regrowth of their coat. The coat may grow back improperly, with patches of different textures or lengths, leading to an uneven and unkempt appearance. This can also disrupt the natural shedding process, potentially causing mats, tangles, and increased grooming needs.

In my personal experience as a dog owner, I once made the mistake of shaving my double coated dog during a particularly hot summer. While I initially believed it would help keep him cool, I soon realized the negative consequences. His skin became easily irritated, and he started to develop sunburns on his exposed areas. Additionally, his coat did not grow back properly, leading to an uneven appearance that took months to normalize.

Shaving a double coated dog can have detrimental effects on their overall well-being. It removes their natural insulation, leaving them vulnerable to temperature extremes, parasites, sun damage, and wind. Additionally, the regrowth of the coat may be compromised, leading to an uneven and unkempt appearance. It is important to consult with a professional groomer or veterinarian before considering shaving a double coated dog, as there are alternative grooming practices that can help manage their coat without compromising their health and protection.