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Things to Consider Before Summer Grooming: Types of Coats & Breeds of Dogs

Things To Consider Before Summer Grooming: Types of Coats & Breeds of Dogs

With summer just around the corner, your first instinct might be to send your dog straight to the groomer. But coat length is as varied as dog breeds themselves, and what's best for one dog could leave another panting for help. Take a look at our tips below to better understand your dog's needs during the warm summer months.

Initial factors:

Coat types
Most dog breeds are double-coated and their coat is there for a reason. Whether they are bred to handle colder climates, be in the water for long periods of time or run through fields, their coat is there to protect them from these elements. Even though your pet may not serve the way they were bred to their coat should never be significantly altered.

Double-coated breeds have a longer outer coat (guard hairs) and a shorter, thicker and fuzzier coat (undercoat). Seasonally, these breeds will release their undercoat to help protect them during the hotter summer months.

Fighting temptation
Shaving down your dog's coat on a whim may not only leave your dog uncomfortable, it can also leave them looking unkempt down the road. Dogs have a natural beauty to their coat and depending on the breed, shaving can cause their coats to grow back improperly. By leaving summertime cuts to the professionals, you can rest assured that your dog is groomed to feel their best without compromising their natural beauty.

Time is of the essence
Neglecting grooming in the summer can result in mat formation and their shedding coat not being removed. Once your dog's coat becomes matted they become much more susceptible to parasites, mold and other skin problems along with having a harder time regulating their body temperature and keeping cool. While grooming may seem like a purely cosmetic procedure, it is actually the first line of defense against many other skin issues.

Another factor to consider when shaving your dog's coat in the summer is how it can affect the skin. Just like humans, your dog can sunburn in the summer months, and if their coat is cut too short, they're especially at risk. Apply sunblock often to sensitive spots on your dog, such as their ears and underside, and make sure to have them groomed to a length that protects them from the summer elements. If your dog is an outdoor pet, make sure to provide them shelter, such as a dog house, and make sure they always have plenty of fresh water to keep them hydrated.

Breed Considerations

Long-coated and winter breeds
In the summer, these breeds might look as miserable as a woolly mammoth at the beach, but they were bred to benefit from a longer coat. Often, these types of coats have a mix of both coarse guard hairs and fuzzy undercoat hairs. This balance of hair type allows these breeds to cool themselves naturally by reflecting light and heat. While it may seem like your dog is melting in the sun, they are often more comfortable than you think. Panting is a normal process for dogs to regulate their body temperature.

Shaving this type of coat on your own is especially risky because of how the hair grows back. If you accidentally shave the coat too short, the undercoat will grow faster than the guard hairs do. If that happens, hair follicles can become clogged and can cause secondary skin problems like blocked follicles and other types of skin ailments. It can also slow down the growth of the protective topcoat and disrupt the natural balance on your pet's coat and how it functions. Hiring a professional to properly groom long-haired breeds will not only keep your pooch comfy now, it will help them stay happily fluffy in the future.

Small dogs with long coats
Like with larger breeds, small dogs with longer coats don't benefit from shaving because it disrupts the natural balance and cooling function of their coat. Always consult with a professional groomer before deciding to try out a shorter haircut on your dog because every dog has the coat they do for a reason.

Wire-coated dogs
In contrast to long-haired dogs, wire-haired dogs can be shaved as long as proper precautions are taken. Wire-haired coats require carding or stripping before shaving to remove dead hair from the dog's coat and allow new hair to grow in their place. Neglecting to card or strip out the dead coat prior to shaving can result in the coat losing color and becoming dull and may also cause the hair to get stuck beneath the surface of the skin and cause skin problems. Many groomers believe that carding or stripping coats keeps the dog's skin healthier. It can be time-consuming and expensive, but it's in the best interest of these breeds of dogs.

If a wire-haired dog has been carded or stripped before a shaving and their coat doesn't grow back properly, this could signal a larger issue. Thyroid problems can hinder the regrowth of hair in this type of dog, and if you see this happening with your pooch, it's important that you take them to the veterinarian to be screened for such conditions.

Summer Dog Grooming Infographic