Home » Education » Grooming » Grooming Double-Coated Dogs

Grooming Double-Coated Dogs

BloomingPaws Grooming Salon share why it’s important to maintain a healthy skin and coat after pets leave our salon.

Double-coated dogs have two layers of fur:

A harsh topcoat and a soft undercoat. These two coats grow independently of one another and to different lengths. The soft undercoat is shorter and grows much faster than the topcoat. The undercoat sheds and is released twice a year. The topcoat is longer, and tends to grow slower than the undercoat. We advise against shaving any breeds that have a double coat.

Double-Coated Breeds Include:

  • Golden and Labrador Retrievers
  • German and Australian Shepherds
  • Pomeranians
  • Siberian Huskies
  • Great Pyrenees
  • Chows
  • Border Collies
  • Newfoundlands
  • Corgis
  • Cavalier King Charles

Reasons you should NOT shave double-coated dogs:

  • It creates possible skin problems. Your dog could develop razor burn, hot spots, and/or irritated skin due to excessive licking and scratching following their groom.
  • It does not make dogs shed less. Double-coated dogs shed their undercoat twice a year and the rest of the shedding is normal hair turn over, seen in all animals with hair, including ourselves. Shaving can seem to help shedding but it is a temporary fix, and the dog still sheds they are just shorter hairs.
  • It damages the condition of the topcoat and the cycle of the hair, making the shedding times unpredictable and in some cases, never ending. The topcoat can take up to two years to fully grow back. Severe cases lead to alopecia, which means that the topcoat may not grow back to normal length or it may not grow back at all in some spots, causing patches. This can also require that you continue shaving your dog for the rest of its life.
  • It alters their metabolism. The undercoat provides warmth in the winter and cools them in the summer. If your dog has a well groomed coat, with no dead/loose undercoat, the coat keeps your dog warm in the winter by providing insulation and keeps the dog’s skin dry. In the summer, it provides a sort of air conditioning system. Removing loose undercoat allows air to get to the skin making them much cooler, while keeping the top coat prevents heat/sun from reaching the skin.
    • If your dog lives outdoors, you may shave a strip on their belly. This allows them to lay on cool surfaces to receive maximum coolness.
  • Your dog becomes susceptible to sunburn and skin cancer. Shaved skin is exposed to sun rays and too much sun exposure can be very harmful. Precautions such as clothing and/or sunscreen must be taken to protect their skin.

If your dog isn’t shaved or severely matted, his/her coat will regulate temperature.

Shed-less Treatments are an effective alternative.

  • Our Shed-less Treatment works best on double-coated breeds. This treatment will provide your pet with the best hair/skin care and also help reduce your pets shedding up to 90%, if used regularly over time.
  • Professional grooming on a regular basis will remove the dead/loose undercoat and reduce the amount of shedding. For the average double-coated dog, we recommend daily brushing and monthly baths. The best type of grooming is a vigorous undercoat raking with special tools offered at your groomer.

Exceptions for when you should shave a double-coated dog:

  • Your dog is a swimmer.
  • Too matted to brush. The most humane way to remove matting is to shave the coat, and start over.
  • Too old or sick to tolerate thorough and/or regular brushing. If your dog is not healthy enough for the necessary grooming, it may be the best and least stressful way to remove the coat.
  • Fleas and ticks are easier to spot. If your furry friend loves to spend time outside, it can make removing fleas and ticks much easier. Shaving will make their skin susceptible to injury; however, the alternative can be worse.
  • Your dog is prone to hot spots, fungal or bacterial conditions. Allowing the skin to fully breath can help prevent these issues, as well as aiding in the healing of any already existing infections.
  • Aid with your allergies. If you are allergic to your pet’s dander, shaving close to the skin can help baths be more successful at removing the dander, rather than it being trapped in the fur. This will not reduce the amount of dander produced, so regular grooming is needed to be successful.
  • Owner lifestyle. If you do not have the time or means for the proper grooming, then a shave will be better then matting.

It is important to weigh all relevant factors before shaving a double-coated dog. If in doubt, ask your veterinarian to discuss whether shaving is a good option for your pet.