Le Pet Care Fact #4 – Warm Weather and Double Coated Breeds
It’s that time of the year where spring is around the corner and the weather starts to warm up. A lot of pooches are having their summer cuts and going short again, but what about our double coated dogs – to shave or not to shave? That is the question!
Double coated breeds like Huskies, German Shepherds and Newfoundland’s were blessed with a second coat through evolution to help them better deal with the climate surrounding them. This extra layer of undercoat acts as thermal regulator to slow down the process of heat absorption in warm weather while also insulating the body in cold weather.
The downside to this extra layer of fur is the dreaded shedding that these dogs go through. Shedding is the natural process of making the coat more suitable for heat protection instead of warmth, but leaves our homes with hair everywhere! So is the solution to shave them to stop the shedding from happening and in that way keep them cool as well?
Unfortunately, the answer is no, one should not shave a double coated dog. Dogs have sweat glands located on their nose and paw pads to help regulate heat as well as using panting to bring their body temperature down. When a double coated dog is shaved it exposes them to many dangers such as exposure for heat stroke, risk of getting sunburnt, the skin is now exposed to biting flies and mosquitoes that can cause skin irritations and disease.
The shave also affects the coat negatively as it may grow back in thicker, making thermal regulation harder, it can grow back unevenly which can result in matting of the undercoat if the undercoat grows back faster than the outer “guard” coat which creates a further need for another shave. The guard coat prevents matting from occurring. Shaving can also result in Alopecia, where the coat grows back uneven and bald spots occur, and can also result in the dog scratching excessively in result of the shave which can irritate the skin and create hot spots.
So we advise to not shave down the coat unless there is a medical reason which requires it. So what can one do for their double-coated furry friends? We recommend bringing your extra furry loved ones in on a regular basis (4-6 weeks) and especially after seasonal shifts ie winter to summer and vice versa for de-shedding. De-shedding involves the use of specialized brushes called Furminators, which are able to reach the undercoat and pull out the loose hairs from the coat. This results in all the hair which could have led to matting been removed and thins out the undercoat to allow better aeration so the coat can then better regulate the heat.
Le Pawtique offers de-shedding at an optional extra of R45 per 15 minutes spent brushing with a combination of a Furminator, undercoat rake and slicker brush. We do not recommend brushing out the undercoat for longer than 45minutes at a time as the skin can become sensitive and turn red which is then uncomfortable for the furry one. So do your double-coated loved ones a favor and bring them in for a pamper session and extra de-shed.