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Shaving double coated dogs....?

Discussion in 'Veterinary' started by gjsmize88, Oct 12, 2017.

  1. gjsmize88


    Nov 30, 2016
    Akron, OH
    I'm sure everyone has seen the argument by now that if you shave a double coated dog in the summer, it will actually make them hotter. The thought is that their coat provides insulation and actually works to keep them cool when it's hot, as well as warm when it's cold. My problem with this argument is that I haven't seen any real research that proves this concept, and the only "proof" I have seen is a thermal image of a shaved versus an unshaved dog. It's always like "look at how the shaved dog is red and the unshaved dog is blue so that means that the shaved dog is really hot" which obviously, is not how those images work. If you put a down jacket on a human, it would show up blue but that does not mean the human is cold when it puts the coat on. It just means the coat is preventing the body heat of the human from escaping and being detected. I understand that dogs have different cooling mechanisms than humans, but we don't rush to put down jackets on pit bulls or dalmatians when the temperatures rise above 80 so that they may have the same insulation as a husky. So my question is, is there any validity to the argument that shaving a double coated dog in the summer is bad for the dog?
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  3. LetItSnow

    LetItSnow Skipping the light fandango Veterinarian 7+ Year Member

    Jan 13, 2011
    Plymouth, MN, USA
    Well, I'm not aware of any research either. So whether there's validity to the argument ... I dunno.

    Personally, as someone (i.e. an ER doctor) who treats heat stroke depressingly frequently my opinion is that if your dog is close enough to significant heat stress that you think shaving it will help ... it's too close to heat stress and you should be removing it from the heat, not "shaving it" to help it tolerate a 95F day better. I doubt shaving helps (look at human clothing in excessively hot climates - many cultures tend to have layered clothing), and even if it helps a little ... you really should be taking better measures to protect your animal.

    And it's not just about heat - their coat provides protection from other things: dirt, parasites, abrasion to the skin from minor environmental contact, etc. It's not, to me, as simple as "hot" vs "cool." You take that coat away, you're removing protection from other things, as well.

    So in general I'm not a fan.

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