Should you shave your dog?Shaving despite advice

Most grooming experts recommend against shaving your dog, but in some cases, shaving may be the best option for the health and well-being of some older dogs.

Shaving is discouraged

Most veterinarians and organizations such as the American Kennel Club warn that double-coated dogs (i.e., dogs with an insulating undercoat) should never be shaved, noting that shaving can lead to overheating, discomfort, sunburn, and shears. , skin problems, damaged hair follicles, and a tattered, patchy, unkempt coat that doesn’t allow for proper combing.

Grooming experts recommend regular grooming during hot weather to improve air circulation and frequent bathing to help your dog stay cool, rather than shaving.

exceptions to the rule

However, when an older dog struggles with the summer heat, shaving may be just what the doctor ordered.

“I would not recommend shaving Labradors and other double-coated breeds while they are still young and their skin and shedding systems are functioning well,” says Lorrie Boldrick, DVM, owner of Barefoot Veterinary Clinic in Orange, California. “I reserve this surgery for older people.”

According to Dr. Boderick, the aging process and hormonal changes can prevent some dogs from losing their undercoat. “If a dog’s undercoat remains in place on a hot day, the dog’s chef,” she says. “The undercoat continues to play a role in insulating the dog by retaining heat under the fur close to the dog’s skin.”

Dr. Boldrick learned to shave when a client’s dog was 13 years old and the dog was lethargic, depressed, and suffering from constant pain and discomfort. Dr. Bodrick did a comprehensive blood test, but the results were normal, ruling out an obvious condition that could be corrected with medication. After the owner resigned, an euthanasia appointment was scheduled.

Thankfully, the owner called and canceled before the appointment came. “They took the dog to the groomer and shaved him very short,” Dr. Bodrick said. Within a few days, “he became a happy dog, willing to do all the normal old dog activities and acting like himself again. He shaved off his beard for two more summers, and he and his family all Didn’t mind the rude comments they got about his shaving job.”

Another elderly patient of Dr. Boldrick’s that has benefited from summer shaving is Dusty, a yellow Labrador retriever who lives in Silverado, California, where summer temperatures often exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Dusty’s owner, Chris Kakuuchi, said Dusty had struggled with the hot weather as he got older. . “She would gasp for breath day and night,” Kakuuchi said. “Getting her wet helps, but it’s only temporary.”

At the age of 14, Dusty received her first body clip from Dr. Boldrick, which had immediate results. “She’s so happy!” Kakuuchi exclaimed. “She slept better and longer. As soon as her jacket was put in, the panting started again – and when she got another body clamp, the panting stopped.” Dusty survives 16 years old and every trim makes her more active and comfortable.

“Shaving is not suitable for all double-coated dogs,” says Dr. Boderick, “but it changes the lives of many older dogs and is worth considering when heat and undercoat interfere with easy breathing and daily activities.”