We can all agree that the heat in Houston is BRUTAL! A simple walk to the mailbox has our noses’ beading with sweat and our skin left feeling sticky from the 1000% humidity. Looking down at our dogs with their tongues hanging out of the side of their mouths we think, “You must be miserable with all that fur!”. So, our next step is to call the groomer and make Fluffy a grooming appointment to rid them of their fur but, are we really doing our Wet Nose Family Member a favor? Let’s discuss the difference in coats and decide if shaving Fluffy will be beneficial or, the right choice to keep Fluffy cool.
First, we need to determine what type of coat your Wet Nose Family Member has, which can be broken into 2 categories: Single and Double coats. Single coats grow similar to human hair, while double coats only grow to one length and do not grow any longer after that (think of a Labrador Retriever’s coat).
A dog that has a single coat (Poodle, Yorkie, Maltese, Shih Tzu Etc.) will have hair that will continue to grow once it is cut, and there won’t be a soft undercoat. For the majority of single coated dogs, there is no negative consequences with shaving their hair.
A dog that has a double coat (Shepherd, Husky, Corgie, Golden Retriever, Collies, Etc.) will have 2 layers of fur. The outer layer is referred to as “guard hairs” because they help protect against snow, ice, and also help shed water and protect against the sun. The inner layer is referred to as the “undercoat” and this is what you normally see rolling around your home like tumble weed. It is soft and fluffy feeling and helps keep the dog warm and dry.
As the summer months heat things up, dogs with double coats have the guard hairs to prevent the sun from damaging the skin, and the undercoat will begin to shed allowing cool air to circulate through the guard hairs to cool the skin. If we shave our Wet Nose Family Members that have double coats (leaving less than 1-inch of hair on the body) it starts to change their coat in a negative way. Both layers will grow at the same rate, but the guard hairs will come back feeling coarse or similar to Velcro. If your Wet Nose Family Member is shaved down to what most people in Houston refer to as a “summer cut” (leaving 1/4-inch or less on the body) the hair may grow back patchy, and you may notice in-grown hairs. The causes of this is a damaged hair follicle and once damaged it won’t ever look the same.
Now, keep in mind that the guard hairs purpose is to protect against the sun and allow cool air to circulate through to the skin; but when they are the same length as the undercoat, it does not allow that to happen so your Wet Nose Family Member will become hotter with the absence of the air reaching the skin. You will even notice that when they go outside they collect more sticks, thorns and plant life in their fur, again it is because the guard hairs are not able to protect against this. This is why you should avoid shaving your dog.
With this being said, it is still okay to groom your double-coated dog, but you should never leave less than 1-inch of hair on the body. Routine grooming maintenance is healthy for your Wet Nose Family Member as long as it is done correctly. The best way to help your Wet Nose Family Member keep cool during our summer months is by doing a “De-Shedding” treatment. Some groomers might talk you out of this because it is easier for them to just shave the hair off (a De-Shedding treatment done correctly will take about 45 minutes to an hour to complete, not including bathing time).
The “De-Shedding” treatment completed at Wet Nose Lodge & Spa will provide you with a night and day difference look of your Wet Nose Family Member. Our 6-step bathing process will remove the bulk of the undercoat, but the most tedious part of the process is the blow dry completed by hand and the brush out. This is where our staff will emerge from our bathing room looking like a fluffy werewolf because of all the undercoat clinging to us. It is a long process, but it is the best way to help keep your Wet Nose Family Member cool in the summer months.
If you shave down your single coated dog (1-inch or less) please remember that their hair is designed to help protect them from the elements, so they are going to be more susceptible to getting sun burnt when going outside. A sun blocking conditioner is strongly recommended to help prevent burning of the skin.
Grooming is an important part to maintain the health of Fluffy’s coat and skin. When you go outside, and it feels brutally hot out, remember that the way you stay cool and the way your Wet Nose Family Member stays cool are different. Check out what type of coat they have and decide if a De-Shedding treatment or a shave will be in their best interest. You can make your Spa reservation with us by clicking here or calling us 281-446-9083. See you soon!
Check out our Facebook Page to see photos of the dogs who visited our Spa