Should You Shave Your Dog for the Summer?

I live in Colorado, where we have, from time to time, experienced snow in July and 90-degree days in November. But if you can rely on one thing in Colorado, it’s that we’ll have a fairly hot summer. Many people shave their dogs during the summer, ostensibly to help them stay cool. However, depending upon your dog’s coat type, shaving might actually do more harm than good.  Should you shave your dog for the summer? That depends on the dog, the weather, and what you do with the dog.

When to Shave Your Dog

If you live in a hot climate or a hot and humid climate, and have a dog whose breed is normally shown clipped or hand-stripped, you might consider a close clip for the summer. If your dog is often outdoors and will spend the summer doing activities like hunting or tracking that expose it to burrs and mud, you may want to have its feathers and belly lightly trimmed to reduce its need for combing and baths after every outing.

If you’re not sure if your dog’s breed is normally shown clipped or hand-stripped, try looking at the American Kennel Club’s website. Look up your dog’s breed and see how the coat is shown in the illustration. That’s how it is shown in the ring. If the dog in the AKC illustration appears clipped, your dog probably has a single coat that can handle clipping. If not, the dog probably has a double coat and should not be shaved.

When Not to Shave a Dog

Don’t shave a dog with a double coat (top coat and undercoat). Northern breeds like the Husky and Malamute should absolutely never be shaved. The natural coloration and coat characteristics of Northern breeds reflect light and heat, allowing the thick coat to act as insulation in the winter and an air conditioner in the summer. Shaved Huskies and Malamutes are actually more likely to overheat than the same breeds with a full coat!

Any dog with an undercoat shouldn’t be shaved unless it is absolutely necessary. If you rescue a dog with terrible mats, that’s one thing, but for routine grooming, just break out the brush and comb. Dogs with double coats will develop bald patches if clipped repeatedly, and their coat will never grow back as good as new after even one clip. Instead, keep these dogs cool by providing trampoline-style beds and a wading pool during the summer.

If You Do Clip Your Dog

If you’re going to clip your dog for the summer, take it to a professional groomer. Look for someone with both formal schooling and work experience, who is willing to provide you with references. Does that seem like a lot of work just to pick someone to shave your dog? It’s a cakewalk compared to rushing your dog to the vet because an unskilled groomer cut off a chunk of their ear with clippers! Unless you are sure you know exactly how to do it and were taught by someone very experienced, don’t shave your own dog. There are too many risks, and most owners don’t have a grooming table, professional quality clippers, and enough experience to handle a wriggling dog and sharp clipper blades at the same time.

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9 Responses

  1. timethief
    | Reply

    My new dog is a Pomeranian with a double coat of hair. When I got him his coat was so badly matted I couldn’t groom him properly. The mats I was able to cut out were also full of sand and dirt that they caused skin abrasions. I consulted a vet and a professional groomer before I made the decision to have hm clipped. That was in September and his coat has grown back very quickly. I have the table and correct tools and he gets groomed every day now so there is no build up of mats.

  2. HART (1-800-HART)
    | Reply

    aww 🙁 poor doggie!

    Did you shave it all off? Here’s a YouTube with one Pom totally shaved, except the head … http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSb0dn6fV34 .. A friend of our inlaws had one get into the compost and smell heaps and have lots of tangles, so they just shaved it all off including the head, like this one.

    Usually, I think this is probably as much as you want to shave these dogs 😉 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSr5O98hA_k ..

    We brush our Papillons weekly but, never groom them professionally or cut their hair (They shed enough themselves). Although, we do take them to get their toenails clips once every 45 days or so .. it’s just easier. Sometimes I’ll just take my panasonic razor and use the extendable flip razor and shave off the hair on their paws and in between their pads and around their toenails.

  3. Adam
    | Reply

    If your dog has a double coat and you want him/her to stay cool in the summer time you should use an undercoat rake to thin the coat. Undercoat rakes remove the oftern warm undercoat without damaging the thinner over coat.

    This post will help you determine what kind of coat your dog has.

  4. Whanz
    | Reply

    Shaving the hair of an dog is also great. As the hair will going too long. You will notice that the hair of your dog are really great.

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