With temperatures warming up, we see many dogs that come to our dog boarding in Chicago that are shaved. It’s natural to think that with tons of excess hair, the smart thing to do during the warm months is to shave your dog’s coat to help keep them cool. However, for dogs that have a double coat, or two layers of fur, shaving them actually has the opposite effect that you may think.
The First Layer
The undercoat is made from fine, fluffy hairs that are closest to the skin. You can think of this fur as the softer, lighter fur that sheds. This layer is great for trapping air in the winter and helping to keep your dog warm and insulated. On the same note, this layer is also useful in keeping your dog cool in the summer heat.
The second layer of fur is called the topcoat and it is made from “guard” hairs that help protect your pet. These hairs do not shed and they are helpful in protecting your dog from the sun’s rays as well as bug bites. Their outer layer is essential in protecting them from the heat, so shaving them is counter-productive. Evolution has provided your pup with the exact tools that he or she needs to survive.
Unlike humans, dogs do not cool themselves through their skin. Instead, they release heat by panting.
Be Mindful of Regrowth
The older your dog is, the less likely they are to regrow their top coat. Only having an undercoat may make them look patchy or scruffy and it will remove their natural ability to protect themselves.
The next time you are tempted to shave your dog’s coat (unless it is matted), think again!