Should Golden Retrievers Be Shaved?
The Golden Retriever is a smart, faithful, and beautiful, loving dog that makes a great pet for families and is one of the most frequently kept varieties of companion dogs, especially in Western countries. These dogs are continually making their place in the list of top ten dog breeds according to the numbers of registrations in the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, and Canada. They are known and loved for their gorgeous and thick golden coat.
Like every dog parent, you are in love with your Golden Retriever, and when the scorching temperatures of summer arrive, you want him to feel comfortable. You may be wondering how he can stay cool in the heat with such a thick, heavy coat, and naturally, you may consider that shaving your canine friend can aid in keeping them cool. The question now is, “should Golden Retrievers be Shaved?” or “Is shaving really helping them to get cool.” Let’s attempt to get the answers to these questions.
Golden Retrievers should not be shaved. Their double coat helps them protect themselves from harsh weather conditions. Their coat helps them with cooling and heating.
Should Golden Retrievers Be Shaved? More Details
No you should not shave your Golden Retriever. It is really a bad idea to shave your Golden Retriever since it is not going to assist in cooling his body. Rather, it will make him more uncomfortable. Shaving the fur completely may be good for some dogs, but Golden Retrievers should not be shaved at all.
Why Golden Retrievers Shouldn’t Be Shaved: 8 Things You Should Know
Now you know that you should not shave your Golden Retriever. Still, you may be wondering, it is hot weather and why I should not shave the thick fur of my dog. Here are 8 things that you need to know, and then you will be able to comprehend why it is not recommended to shave Golden Retrievers.
1. Have Double Coat
The Golden Retrievers are double-coated dogs. Double coated means the coat is made up of two layers. The lower layer or undercoat lies close to the skin and is composed of woolly fur that acts as an insulator and aid in keeping the body cool in the summer months and warm during the winter. The outer layer or overcoat is the long and smooth hair (also called guard hairs) on the upper part of the dog’s body that helps keep your dog’s undercoat dry. It protects the dog’s body from extremes of all-weather and external parasites.
Just before summer, the dog experience a period of heavy shedding, during which the bulk of their undercoat will be shed; this will reduce the overall thickness of the coat, making it comfortable during the summer days.
Just keep in mind that it is not advised by experts to shave dogs with double coats (like Golden Retrievers, Pomeranians, Chows, Labradors, German Shepherds, and Huskies). This is because shaving the coats of double-coated dogs will not help them stay cool. Instead, you will aggravate the situation.
2. No Sweating ( Or Cooling Affect ) From Skin
Unlike humans, dogs do not maintain their body temperature by sweating through the skin. Instead, they regulate the temperature of their bodies by panting and sweating through their pads and feet. So shaving the fur will remove the natural insulator from the body, and your dog will heat up faster.
3. Protect From Sun Burn And Over Heating
The guard hairs act as an insulator (help keep the body cool); it also protects the skin from the harmful effects of direct sunlight, which can be more harmful than the heat itself. If your dog is shaved, the skin will be exposed to sunlight directly, which can cause sunburn or can lead to skin cancer. In addition, a shaved dog is more prone to overheating and will find it difficult to keep itself cool.
4. Shield Against External Parasites
The thick hair shields your dog from the bites of many external parasites (ticks, fleas, and other insects) and anything else he may come across while walking or playing outside. However, shaving their fur exposes them to a variety of bug bites, and there are more chances for the development of hot spots anywhere on the body.
5. Shedding Does Not Stop
Generally, it is said that Golden Retrievers shed too much, and shaving will reduce the shedding; it is not true. Golden Retrievers (or other double-coated dogs) sheds heavily only for a few days just before the summer to shed their undercoat. After that, the shedding is quite normal during the rest of the days, just like other animals. In fact, shaving will make the condition more frustrating, as your pet will shed small but prickly hairs instead of long, smooth and silky hairs. That can be irritating for both you and your canine friend.
6. Shaving Help Allergies ( A famous Myth)
Many people believe that shaving the fur of their dogs will reduce the onset of their allergies. This is not the case. First, they need to understand the actual cause of allergies. Humans are actually allergic to Dander, and most of the dander particles keep entangled in the undercoat. When the fur is intact, you come in contact with only a few dander particles. Shaving the hair means you will come in contact directly with a lot of dander particles. As a result, your allergies may worsen significantly.
So we can say that shaving is not only harmful to your dog; it is harmful to the owner too.
7. Permanent Damage To Coat
Shaving the fur of a double-coated dog will disturb the natural molting pattern, and there is no surety that the fur will grow in the same way or at the same pattern (especially in the senior dogs, the overcoat may not grow at all). You will also observe that the texture of the new fur is not as smooth as before; rather, it is a bit rough.
Remember, single-coated dogs (like Maltese, poodle, greyhound, etc.) don’t face such issues. Their fur will regrow after shaving as good as before.
8. Trimming Is Allowed
Trimming the hairs or shaving them are two different things. It is prohibited to shave double-coated dogs like your Golden Retriever, but you can surely give them a haircut to give them a beautiful look. However, make sure that the length of guard hairs should not be less than three inches.
8 Alternative Options To Cool Golden Retriever
1. Keep Them Hydrated
Provide fresh, clean, and cool water all the time, and make sure your canine friend is drinking an adequate amount of water. If going outside, keep a dog water bottle with you and make him drink water after regular intervals.
2. Adjust Feeding Schedule
It is important to adjust the feeding schedule in summer, and feed them early morning and in the evening (when the temperature is relatively on the lower side). And don’t feed your dog just before going outside or immediately after returning from an outside walk.
Regular brushing is crucial (especially during the days of heavy shedding); it will not only remove the dead hairs but also increase the blood flow to the skin (which helps in heat loss).
Regular bathing during the summer days is important to keep your dog cool and clean. Make sure to use shampoos specifically made for dogs because human shampoos can cause irritation in dogs.
5. Outside Timing And Duration
Take your dog for an outside walk during the morning hours or in the evening when the temperature is comparatively lower and also minimize the time that your dog spends outside.
6. Frequent Rest Intervals
When going outside for a longer duration, provide breaks to rest at some cool shady area after regular intervals.
7. Paw And Leg Trimming
Dogs cool their body by sweating from feet or pads, so regularly trim the excess fur from the paws to help the heat loss. Experts also recommend that the fur from the legs and lower side of the abdomen should also be trimmed to maximize cooling.
Provide them regular opportunities to go and play in the water. For this purpose, you can purchase a kiddie pool for them or take them to a river, pond, or lake. Playing and swimming in water will provide them exercise (which they are lacking due to hot weather) without being overheated.
Shaving the fur of Golden Retriever is strictly prohibited by the experts. It is proven that fur in double-coated dogs is actually helping to keep the body cool. Yes, you can trim his hair and make him look cute by giving him a haircut. There are many other ways by which you can help them to feel comfortable during summer, but shaving is definitely not on the list.
About The Author
I'm a content writer and researcher. But bottom line, I loveee animals. I had my first animal which was a guinea pig at age 8. Later had a bunny, dog and a lot, a lot of fish. Writing about what I know about pets will allow me to share my knowledge and love for them with everyone else. Dealing with dogs my entire life, I know a lot.