Double coated dogs might look like they need a good shave come summer but doing this not only upsets their natural temperature regulation it will also permanently damage their fur.
Breeds like the Husky, Chow Chow, Pomeranian and German Shepherd (there are many others) should never be shaved: this makes the dog very uncomfortable and even puts them at risk in both hot and cold weather.
Double coated is two layered
Essentially, a double coat is made up of a soft, dense undercoat and a tougher top coat and is common in breeds that originated in cold climates. The short dense coat provides insulation, not only for colder seasons and templates, but it also helps to regulate a dog’s body heat in summer, when the weather is warm. The primary coat is the coat you see; it’s the layer that consists of a dog’s unique colour or a wide variety of markings.
Since a dog’s only sweat glands are on its paw pads, the only other way body heat can escape is through the fur’s insulation system.
Aside from growing in multiple layers, a double coat has a shedding cycle. This cycle maintains the appropriate level of warmth or insulation the animal needs. Shaving a double coat prevents it from doing its job correctly as removing or cutting a double coat can disrupt the entire multi-pronged shedding process.
Cutting a dog’s double coat could affect their temperature and ability to fight the cold or heat. Cutting or trimming the double coats of your dog in summer may affect the way it grows back too, especially in older dogs where the hair may grow back patchy and frizzy.
Grooming at home
When it comes to grooming a dog with a double coat, many people mistakenly focus on brushing out the top coat, forgetting that it’s the undercoat that needs our attention.
The key to grooming a dog with a double coat is to regularly remove the loose hair of the undercoat. Your EberVet Vetshop has a selection of grooming tools for the job. Ask our team for advice on the right brush for your dog’s coat.
• Brush your double coated dog a few times a week, getting right into the under coat with a special ‘rake’ designed to remove the undercoat to allow the air to circulate and the skin to breath.
• Divide the dog’s fur into sections and brush out each section from the skin outwards, a detangler spray can help remove knots.
• Remember to rake or run a comb over their whole body from their head, neck, legs, tail and everything in between.
• The key to grooming a dog with a double coat is to make sure you wash them with a quality shampoo and dry them properly with a hair dryer so they don’t retain water which could cause problems for their skin. ALWAYS brush out the hair and knots before wetting them. Always wash out the salt after an ocean swim.
For a coat that is already badly tangled, have your dog professionally groomed but make sure the grooming parlour knows how to handle double coated dogs. Our Country Pet Spa, located next door to Country Animal Clinic in Scholtz Road, Somerset West, is professionally trained to handle double coated dogs.