Summer! The sun is out, the days are longer and all you can notice is the blanket of hair covering your coaches, carpets and scattered along your tiled floors.
Your first thought is the dog needs to be clipped short. Not only for the sake of your house but also to help keep your dog cool for the long summer. But what if I was to tell you that not only will you have the same amount of hair floating around the house ( just shorter) but you are also hindering your dogs ability to cool itself down and in fact make him hotter.
What breeds are we talking about? These breeds include Border collies, Alaskan malamute, huskies, Pomeranians, golden retrievers, Japanese spits and many more.
The function of the coat
Your dog has two type of hair
1. The guard hairs- This is the top layer of the dogs coat. Its function is to protect your pet from external elements. It protects the skin from being sunburnt and helps reflect the suns raise, reduces bites from insects and mosqitos and reduces the amount of plants and debris penetrating the coat.
2. The under coat- this is the thick fluffy layer underneath the guard hairs and usually the cause of hair floating like tumble weeds around your house. Its function is to regulate your dogs body temperature. In the winter a thicker undercoat builds up to keep your dog warm by trapping heat to the skin and in summer the thicker layer sheds and a thinner layer replaces it and helps keep cool air close to the skin.
So what happens when we clip this type of coat?
When we clip the coat the first thing we are doing is removing the Guard hairs, taking away the dogs protection from the outside elements. Secondly we are cutting the undercoat layer short which can cause several problems. Firstly because the undercoat is not removed your dog will continue to shed around the house. Secondly clipping the undercoat can disrupt the natural cycle of the undercoat which may cause problems such as Post Clipping Alopecia (balding or patches of coat which no longer grow back). Thickening of the coat, the disruption confuses the coat and when the coat is meant to be dropping, it instead can build up increasing your dogs body temperature.
So what are the alternatives?
· The best option for your dog is to have a de-shed and a good coat conditioning. This is the removal of loose undercoat. This will reduce the amount of hair in your home while also assisting the coat in temperature regulation and still leaving behind the protective top coat.
· There is also the air conditioning strip. Clipping the underbelly and underchest can help a thick-coated dog cool off without damaging the coat, the dog can cool off by laying on a cool surface. We can also lightly trim the rear end and chest area to help assist in air floor
· If clipping your dogs coat is a must for you, a de-shed should still be performed before clipping to help keep the coat cycle as regular as possible
Bianca is the owner and groomer at Funky Fur dog grooming and always looking for ways to help you care for your pet.