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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Anderson - K9 Hydrotherapist

Why not to shave your dog!

We're often asked "should I shave my dog?" and the simple answer is no. Unless there is a medical reason given by an experienced vet, for example a fungal infection, severe hair matts (clumps of knotted hair causing pain to the dog), injury or other legitimate reason there is no reason to shave a dog.

In today's society appearances and the evolution of social media particularly to post a pretty and perfect looking dog are overwhelming. No thought is given to the dog and why they were born and look the way they do. Evolution of all dog breeds including cross breeds too have evolved to look the way they do to make them live comfortably and to allow their fur to help them keep either cool or warm depending on the environment they are in and protect them from other elements. Shaving a dog because it looks neater or sheds less hair is not a reason to shave a dog. With a good home grooming routine (brushing long haired dogs every day, trimming out small clumps when leaves or twigs get stuck in long hair after a dog walk) as examples can ensure your dog will look great. If a dog shed loads of hair in the home then just increase your cleaning routine more by getting the vacuum cleaner out more 😁 or don't get a dog that sheds a lot more which means do your research first on dog breeds before you get a dog particularly if you are overly house proud!

Another reason is that a dog lives in a hot climate and inexperienced groomers and vets just make a blanket decision and tell their client to shave their dog to make it feel cooler. This is wrong advice and just a money-making effort to get a client to part with their hard earned cash. The correct advice would be to educate the owner on daily brushing to get rid of dead hair, to walk their dog at sunrise and sunset, do shorter walks in the summer months and find engaging fun exercises in the home to do to engage and help their dog cope with outside heat.

A dog's fur serves as insulation from both heat and cold. Shaving can disrupt their natural temperature regulation and expose them to various weather-related issues.

Shaving a dog's fur, especially for double-coated breeds, can potentially damage the coat's natural insulation and texture. It may also affect the way the fur grows back making the fur less efficient at doing the job it was designed to do and that is protect the dog. Improper shaving techniques or using the wrong tools can lead to skin irritation, razor burn , or other issues. Inexperienced groomers or vets can potentially damage your dog's hair causing a bigger problem for the future health of your dog.

Another reason often overlooked is the dog's thoughts and responses to having their hair shaved. Imagine if you had all your hair shaved off against your will. It would no doubt affect your confidence and the way you interact with other people. The same goes with dogs, their identity and appearance can have a big impact on other dogs. A big fluffy un-shaved Husky will get a different response from other dogs than that of a shaved (much smaller looking) Husky. Although dogs use their noses and hearing more to interact with other dogs, appearances and body language play a huge part also in their socialization skills and behaviour responses.

So do take time to consider the above before being talked into shaving your dog.

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