Should You Have Your Dog Shaved?

There has been some controversy over whether it’s beneficial to shave dogs in the summer. Sandy Burke, Lead Groomer at Bonnie’s Barkery, says “that would depend on what the definition of shave is.”

According to Sandy, who has been grooming dogs and cats of all breeds for over 30 years, shave means to take the coat to one millimeter or less. This is usually the length that a matted dog ends up being and in that case, there really is no choice about what length they are left.

Not all dogs that come to Sandy are matted to that degree and have many choices when it comes to the length of the coat.

One quarter to one half inch of hair is enough to protect the skin from the sun and any pollutants lurking about.

For long-haired dogs, that means she can take more than half their length off, lightening their load considerably, and still keep them properly protected from sun and pollutants.

Some groomers will recommend de-shedding (which they charge extra for) instead of shaving. It is important to know that de-shedding needs to be done whether a dog is shaved or not and for Sandy, that’s just part of the grooming experience. Sandy says “any grooming of a double coated dog, shaved or not, should include a thorough de-shed. The customer, in my opinion, should not have to pay an extra charge for a proper grooming job.

We asked Dr. Tom Leininger, Vet On Wheels, for his professional opinion and this is what he says.

“To some people this means all the way to bare skin, and to others it means just much shorter hair — more what I would describe as a buzz cut. I do not believe that cutting the hair short does anything to jeopardize the health of an animal. Yes, with light skinned dogs, one has to be careful of too much skin exposure due to sunburn and with dark colored dogs one has to be careful because of the heat effects to the body (sun stroke). In my professional opinion, I have not seen any harmful effects of what is typically called a shave down, as long as it is not all the way to bare skin.”

If you decide that shaving is not for you, then be sure your groomer does a good de-shedding as part of the grooming job.

For more information, contact Sandy Burke at 480-502-7973.

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