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[Updated July 2019]
Summer is here, and perhaps your long-haired Golden Retriever is suffering from all this heat. Before you decide to head to your local groomer you may want to read on to find out what not to do when grooming a Golden Retriever in the summer.
Golden Retrievers have a lot of hair, and your first thought might be to shave it all off to help your dog keep cool in this heat. After all, that is what most of us do in the summer when we are too hot, we end up getting our hair cut shorter.
Well, let me tell you that shaving your Golden Retriever is a big mistake! I will tell you the reasons why below.
But first, let’s talk about the beautiful coat of a Golden Retriever!
When properly maintained it is striking to look at. Golden’s have a double coat that serves a purpose.
Your Golden Retriever Has A Double-Coat For Protection
The thick water-repellent double coat of a Golden Retriever requires a lot of care to keep it looking its best. The coat consists of a dense undercoat of short hairs that are woolly in texture, and an outer coat of long hairs called guard hairs.
You can blame your dog’s undercoat for all of that heavy shedding! It sheds heavily twice a year, in the spring and fall. The rest of the year you will notice moderate shedding or hair turn-over.
The undercoat and outer coat grow at different speeds and lengths from each other. The undercoat is shorter and grows faster whereas the outer coat is longer and grows slower.
In extreme temperatures, the undercoat works as an insulator keeping your dog warm in cold, wet weather and cool in hot, and humid weather.
The long guard hairs that make up the outer coat work to repel water and catch dirt and debris. The outer coat also protects your dog from the harmful UV rays.
In the summer the undercoat is much thinner because of the shedding, and the outer coat will protect your Golden from sun and heat.
Reasons Why You Should Never Shave Your Golden Retriever
So many people believe that shaving a Golden Retriever will keep them cool in the summer, this is absolutely false!
Shaving any dog with a double coat is never a good idea. The only time shaving should be done is when necessary.
Necessary times for shaving are:
- If your dog’s coat has been neglected and has severe matting, and brushing or trimming is not an option.
- If your dog requires surgery or suffers from hot spots. Then the affected area needs to be shaved.
Let’s look at why you should never shave your Golden Retriever, or any other double-coated breed:
The Double-Coat Is Protection
Your dog has a double-coat for a reason, it offers protection. The undercoat keeps your dog warm in the winter, and cool in the summer. The outer coat with the long guard hairs protects your dog from harmful UV rays.
To Prevent Overheating
A shaved dog will be at risk for overheating. Your dog will not have the protection of his hair to keep him cool.
Reduce The Risk Of Skin Irritation
Dogs with double-coats have sensitive skin. Shaving irritates the skin and may cause itching and makes the skin worse.
Reduce The Risk Of Sunburn And Skin Cancer
If you shave your dog you are exposing your dog to the harmful sun. Your dog will be at a greater risk for sunburn, and skin cancer. Dogs need at least one inch of hair to protect them from the sun.
Protection From Bug Bites
The thick hair offers protection from bug bites and anything else that your dog encounters while walking or playing outside.
Shaving Will Not Stop Your Dog From Shedding
Shaving a double-coated dog does not make them shed less. Many people are under the impression that shaving a dog will stop the shedding, it does not.
Double-coated dogs shed twice a year and that is the undercoat. The rest of the time the shedding is normal hair turn over, which happens in all animals with hair.
Shaving only makes the hair pieces smaller, but they will still shed.
Shaving Damages The Coat
Your dog’s coat will be permanently damaged after a shave. It will never grow back the same. The coat will grow back less sleek, and fuzzier, and will not lay flat as it did before being shaved.
Shaving Increases Allergens
Shaving will increase the number of allergens on your dog’s skin. Some people believe that shaving their double-coated dog will help with their allergies, but that is not true.
The dander is what people are allergic to and having it exposed on the surface will not help the allergy issues.
Keep Your Dog Beautiful
A shaved dog looks ugly. Golden Retrievers with their full beautiful coat look much more attractive than a Golden Retriever that has been shaved.
Shaving Your Golden Retriever Is A Mistake, What Can You Do Instead?
Daily brushing is recommended especially during the shedding seasons to help get rid of the dead loose hair.
Regular brushing will help to get any tangles out of the fur and to keep dirt and debris out.
Brushing is the easiest way to keep your dog’s coat clean and shiny, and it allows you to check your dog for any medical issues. It is also a great bonding experience.
Find out my recommendation for the best brush for your Golden Retriever.
Bathing your dog should also be part of the grooming experience. Bathing your dog will help to loosen any dead hair and help to reduce some of the shedding.
Make sure to use a gentle shampoo that is specifically made for dogs, as their skin is more sensitive than human skin.
A shampoo that is made for humans will have the wrong Ph balance and harsh chemicals that can irritate your dog’s skin and strip away the protective oils from the coat and skin.
Ear cleaning, nail trimming, and brushing your dog’s teeth should also be a part of the regular grooming.
What About A Golden Retriever Puppy Cut?
Many people go to their groomer and ask for a “puppy cut” or a “summer cut”. What exactly is a puppy cut?
A puppy cut or summer cut is an all over haircut usually done with clippers to leave the hair evenly trimmed. Puppy cuts aren’t just for puppies, any dog can get a puppy cut.
A puppy cut is an option to help keep your dog cooler, and will basically make your Golden Retriever look the way he did when he was a puppy.
The hair is trimmed short, but not shaved. Usually, the hair is trimmed to about one or two inches in length, and some feathering is left on your dog’s legs and the tail is trimmed but left long.
When you ask for a puppy cut make sure your groomer knows exactly what that is, and how short you want your dog’s coat. The groomer should leave at least one inch of hair, and should not go past the undercoat.
Keep Your Golden Neatly Trimmed
Puppy cuts can be a bit severe for some people because basically, their Golden Retriever will look like a Lab, except for the tail.
If you choose not to do a puppy cut, you should still keep your golden looking neat and tidy by keeping some areas trimmed.
Areas that need trimming are between the feet and paw pads, the hair in the ears, the feathering on the legs, bum area, and the tail can be trimmed to look neat and sculpted.
Trimming your dog will help keep him looking his best, as well as help keep him a bit cooler in the summer.
Other Ways To Keep Your Dog Cool In The Summer
You’ve learned that shaving your double-coated Golden Retriever is a bad idea, so what else can you do to help keep your dog cool?
- Keep your dog hydrated, always have fresh cool water available for your dog to drink.
- Keep your dog walks short, or walk earlier in the morning and later at night when it is not so hot out.
- Find a shady spot for your dog to rest. Be careful though because temperatures can soar even in the shade. Limit the time spent in the hot outdoors.
- Let your dog go swimming, get a kiddie pool for your backyard.
- Avoid walking on hot asphalt, try keeping your dog on the grass when walking, or invest in some dog boots.
Find out my recommendation for the best dog boots.
- Invest in a cooling dog bed. A cooling bed is a great option for your dog instead of laying on the cool hard floor because it will offer some cushioning and support. Good for dogs with joint issues.
Find out what the best cooling dog beds are.
Final Thoughts On Grooming A Golden Retriever In The Summer
I hope this article has made you think twice before shaving your double-coated dog.
No matter how hot the temperature gets you should not shave your Golden Retriever. Their double-coat is actually helping them stay cool. After all, their long flowing coat is one of their many beautiful attributes.
Remember to keep your dog’s coat groomed with regular brushing, and bathing to keep it looking its best, and to help the coat do its job to protect your dog from extreme temperatures.
What About You?
How do you keep your Golden Retriever cool in the summer? Have you ever given your Golden Retriever a puppy cut?
Leave your thoughts and comments below, I would love to hear from you.