Shaving Your Dog? Think Again

It’s been really hot and humid and we hate to see our furry friends look so pitiful walking around wearing their fur coats. It is natural to want to help them. I speak from first hand experience; I owned a Keeshound named Harry. Harry was a beautiful, majestic little guy. But he had a bad habit of running off and getting into things like briars, burrs and skunks.

In the summer, I was sympathetic to him being hot but I was also weary of him running through briars and then having to spend hours untangling his fur from the burrs.

So I had him shaved.

Seemed like a good idea. But I didn’t think about several things when I did this on multiple occasions.

I didn’t think about sunburn. Taking both the undercoat and topcoat away from dear Harry robbed him of the ability to protect his soft pink skin.  When I realized what I had done, I dressed Harry in a t-shirt to protect him. I could tell he was totally humiliated. He walked around the yard and house with his head hanging down for days.

I also didn’t think about how his coat not only kept him warm during the winter, but also regulated his body temperature during the summer.   Now all he could do to keep cool was pant and sweat from the pads on his feet. And on really hot days, that was not enough; Harry quickly became an inside dog.

He shedded a lot. Everywhere. I always joked that I could have knitted myself a sweater from the hair I brushed out of him and found around the house. Dogs like Harry who have double coats actually have those two coats for a reason. From their originating regions of the world, Huskies, Keeshounds and other double-coated furry canines dogs had those thick double coats to insulate them from the winter cold.

The really fluffy undercoat is actually the one of the two coats that sheds. Why do they have this undercoat? To insulate the pup and trap air. Think of a down coat you wear in the wintertime. It is fluffy and billowy and traps the air within the feathers and keeps you warm. This undercoat not only warms them in winter, it also cools them in summer.

The top coat doesn’t shed. It is there to protect your little buddy from summer pests and UV rays which are strongest during the summer months. So it does serve a purpose. Funny thing about nature….she provides most of the creatures on Earth with what they need and we humans are always messing around changing stuff. Sometimes it is better to leave well enough alone.

Harry was just so cute when we had him shaved; he looked just like a little lamb. Another thing I didn’t realize is that there was a pretty good possibility that his hair wouldn’t grow back. It always did but had I known that there was a pretty strong chance it wouldn’t, I might not have been so quick to make it easier for me by having him shaved.

Cindy Dunston Quirk is the Chief Dog Lover at Scout & Zoe’s Natural Antler Dog Chews. Scout & Zoe’s chews are allergy-free and a green, organic, renewable resource created only from 100% naturally shed elk antlers.

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