Many dog owners feel that in the hot summer months, clipping their dogs will make them feel cooler and will help eliminate shedding.
While single-coated breeds such as Poodles, Kerry Blue Terriers, Portuguese Water Dogs and Bichon Frises can be repeatedly clipped short because the shaving process does not change the texture of their hair, it is not the same for double-coated breeds. Breeds such as retrievers, Siberian Huskies, Samoyeds and Pomeranians are double-coated. While many feel that shaving their double-coated breed will help keep them cool, it can actually pose risks.
The American Kennel Club advises dog owners to think twice before taking out the clippers this summer and shares these tips to help keep your dog cool and comfortable.
- Temperature regulation. A double coat is made up of two layers: a soft undercoat and an outer layer, or "guard hair." The undercoat acts as insulation, keeping the dog warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The outer layer allows cool air to circulate near the dog's skin after he sheds his undercoat.
- Sun protection. Many double-coated dogs have pale pink skin and are therefore more susceptible to sunburn. The guard hairs in a double coat reflect the sun's rays, protecting the skin against the sun, which can pose risks such as overheating, sunburn and possibly even skin cancer.
- Color and texture changes. Shaving a double-coated breed down will change the texture and color of your dog's coat over time.
- Matted coats. Keeping your dog well-groomed and free of large mats is the best way to manage your dog's coat any time of the year, but especially in the summer. Never use scissors to cut out a mat, as you may cause an unintentional gash on your dog's skin. The best way to deal with a mat is to try to gently break it down using your fingers or a special tool. Run a wide-tooth comb through it followed by a fine-tooth comb. When you can finally run a fine-tooth comb throughout, you have cleared the mat.
- Trimming paw pads. Dogs sweat primarily from the bottom of the paws, so keeping the hair trimmed in between the pads will be more effective in keeping your dog cool in the heat.
- Keeping your dog safe in the heat. Whenever your dog will be in the heat, think about sun protection, dehydration and duration of the time spent outside. Keeping your dog out of the sun during excessive heat is much safer than letting him outside. Never leave any dog unattended in a closed area, (especially vehicles) in heat over 60 degrees.
For more tips on dog ownership, visit the AKC at www.akc.org.(c)2020 American Kennel Club, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.