A Q&A with a groomer on summer haircuts for dogs…
Summer means high temperatures, which can be very uncomfortable for anyone with a lot of hair, including dogs. There seems to be a constant debate going on between pet owners and groomers about whether all dogs need, or should, get a summer haircut. From a trim to a full on shave, I spoke with Katie Soistman, a professional dog groomer and the owner of Summer Meadows Pet Spa in Hampstead, Maryland, who shared her outlook on summer haircuts for all breeds of dogs:
There appears to be a general consensus to not shave any dog that sheds, particularly double-coated dog breeds. How do you feel about that rule as a groomer?
This is a huge controversy in the grooming world and the pet world in general. Some groomers refuse to clip down double-coated breeds, while others are willing to do so at the customer’s request after informing the client about any potential changes or risks to the pet.
Do you believe shaving a double-coated dog could do irreparable damage to their coat’s texture when it grows back?
Absolutely! Post-clipping alopecia can be a direct result of clipping down a double-coated breed. Sometimes it grows back completely normal; other times it can grow back splotchy and irregular looking. I inform clients to possibly beprepared to shave their pet regularly for the remainder of itslife or to deal with an unsightly coat once they make the decision to go short.
How do you feel about shaving a dog during summer and the risk of sunburns?
Dogs can definitely get sunburned if clipped too short and their hair is no longer able to protect them from the sun’s harmful rays, just the way that people are susceptible to sunburn if not protected with sunscreen. This is mainly a concern for dogs that live outside.
I have also read that it is fine to give summer cuts to long-haired dogs, but that you do not want to shave down to the skin. Is there a certain length that you believe is good for long-haired dogs for a “summer cut”?
Generally, when I am asked to trim a double-coated dogs all over (to one length, or what groomers consider a full haircut), I suggest a long-guard comb over the clipper blade to take length off, but not get down to the undercoat which can affect hair growth in the coming months after a cut.
With all the debate out there, what do you tell your clients about your position on summer haircuts for dogs whether it be to help with shedding or cool them down?
My clients know that I will do whatever they request as long as it is humane to the pet. For shedding alone, I offer an amazing “Shedless Treatment,” which reduces shedding significantly for up to 4 weeks. Also, even though a pet is shaved down, they still shed the same amount as before; it’s just less noticeable in the home because they are shedding shorter hairs.
The hot topic of shaving certain hair types in the summer is exactly what you mentioned above: Does it cool them down or not? Quite honestly, this is an unknown. Some people believe that their pets’ hair insulates them from the hot and cold temperatures. Others swear that their pets are cooler when they are shaved. That being said, who am I to tell my clients that they are wrong when they notice a big difference in their pet’s behavior, whether they are shaved or have their thick coats. After warning clients about alopecia and sunburn (all of my clients are indoor dogs only and go outside to use the bathroom and come right back in), I will clip a dog to their owners’ specifications.
To help fur regrowth and to promote a healthy skin and coat, look for products with kelp, biotin, and omega fatty acids, such as the following products for dogs…