I often get asked, “Don’t you shave them for the summer?” “Aren’t they hot with all that fur?”
Answer: No, I never shave them (excluding between their paw pads and a trim around private areas for the sake of cleanliness). Yes, they do get hot just like many other living creatures do when it’s hot out and yes some dogs, just like some humans, don’t tolerate the heat as well as others. But shaving them will do them more harm than good, being the double coated breed that they are. Their coat actually protects them from the sun and even the occasional hitch-hiking insect. Their coat not only keeps them warm in the winter, but it keeps them cool in the summer.
Some people argue with it, but I stand by it. I would never shave Lassie or Petal unless a medical reason demanded it. If it’s too hot for them and all their fur, we stay inside and entertain ourselves until it’s cool enough to play a game of fetch outside or go for a walk in the shade. I wouldn’t shave my head because it’s hot outside like Pedro did.*
Their coats protect them from getting sunburned and being easily bitten by bugs. That’s not to say they can’t get sunburned or bitten by bugs; Petal’s nose gets sunburned if she’s out in the sun for a prolonged amount of time with no sunscreen on her nose and determined bugs have forged their way through their coats a few times, but the majority of the time, I find the bug and remove it before it can make it to their skin.
I worry it wouldn’t grow back properly if I shaved it. I am also 99% sure that they would be extremely uncomfortable without their fur. They would also look ridiculous and would probably never forgive me. I had a lady once tell me, as she ran her fingers through Lassie’s coat, that she would shave her Rough Collie every summer and he would hide under the bed for days afterward. Lassie told her off with some barking.
They’ll put up with me putting ridiculous things on their heads, but shaving off their gorgeous coat? I would be in the dog house.
There are many other ways to help keep your dog cool during these hot summer days.
The Uncommon Dog has provided this cute infographic with tips for keeping your dog cool and recognizing early warning signs that your dog is overheating.
Some of the tips (like getting a dog house) probably aren’t necessary unless your dog lives or spends a lot of time outside. I don’t recommend them living outside, but a lot of the dogs where we live do live outside, all year round. But luckily I have yet to see a dog who did not have a dog house and/or shade and water.
I’ve been thinking about buying a kiddie pool. Think my Collies would be willing to get their feet wet?
*Don’t worry, I do know there is a huge difference between my head of hair and my Collies’ bodies of fur. 😉