Sorry, Shakespeare nerd here. But it truly is The Question! So many people ask us if they should shave their dog. Is it healthy, is it safe, and most common; "Doesn't their hair keep them cool?" So, here we go:
There are certainly pros and cons to shaving your dog's hair, but first let me state that by "shaving" we do not mean taking a Bic to your dog and making them bald. For those who have never seen the look we are describing, here is a lovely cocker spaniel (Hanna) who has been "completely shaved" (that means, ears, top of head, face - ALL).
Pros: short hair means better grooming management, better view of any pests, get to reveal any hidden skin issues, less hair in your home, and a much cooler dog.
Cons: now the mosquitos can get a better chance at that skin! Thin coated dogs should watch for sunburn for the first few weeks after grooming (as any short-haired breed dog should be monitored for sunburn), and lastly, you may not like the look.
Now to answer a few common questions:
YES, the hair will grow back, albeit at different speeds for different dogs.
YES, the hair will grow back with the same look. Sometimes older dogs who have been shaved multiple times per year over the course of their lives have strange growth patterns as the hair returns, but it's not common and most owners simply keep shaving them for comfort reasons.
Lastly, "doesn't the hair keep my dog cool". The answer is Yes AND No.
The full coat of hair is meant to keep a dog cool by way of a "fur insulator" which is meant to keep a pocket of cool air close to their skin. Keep in mind these are man made breeds, not wild animals. Wild animals with loads of hair don't tend to live in hot regions. If they do, they have options to hide in cool caves, swim in lakes, and migrate to cooler areas. Our pets are not migrating (one hopes) so it's up to us to keep them cool. This means the hair needs maintenance. If those pockets of cool air are filled with matted hair, dead hair, or any other sort of dirt and debris, there goes the "fur insulator". Yes, if you are vigilant you can brush your hairy partner to keep that coat in full function. If it's not a total mess, we can do that for you as well, but either way, it needs to be maintained throughout the hot, humid season. Unfortunately, we don't all have the time we wish we had. This is why many owners decide to shave. Shaving the dog will help get air to the skin when the fur has become too thick and even though dogs do not sweat through their skin, shaving a thick coat of unbreathable fur will certainly help!! ESPECIALLY, if the dog is matted. At that point not only do you risk an over heated dog, but sores and such from the matted skin. Brushing is no longer an option, so shaving is indeed your best bet.
The bottom line is time, and preference. Do you have time to do a percentage of the work at home? Keeping your dog fairly brushed and clean? If so, we can do something like this:
Now, for fear of turning into a full-length Shakespeare play, I'll end this humble blog post. I hope we answered your questions, but if you have more, by all means, post them in the comments or shoot us an email! Thanks for stopping by!