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Should I Shave My Golden Retriever and How To Do It?

With the onset of the summer season, retriever dog owners have this question that is my dog also feeling the heat and should I shave his coat or not. From the outside, one can easily say that the hair on his body is making it difficult for air to cool down his body. But when we look at the specifics of how the Golden retriever body works, we have different outcomes.

Thus what looks on the surface to be true is not actually true. I will discuss all the details about shaving in this article.

Should you shave your Golden Retrievers in summer? No. Shaving the Golden Retriever should not be done. This makes the skin exposed to other skin allergy-related problems and also the hair acts as an insulation from heat.

Dog owners who don’t know the above fact and the results of it do shave their Golden retriever during hot days but this article will go into details about the issues and help owners make an informed decision.

The shaving of Golden Retrievers should be done when the dog is suffering from a health condition. In these cases too, the shaving should be done after consulting the vet.

Golden Retrievers Have Double Coats

Golden Retrievers do have a double coat. A double coat is a type of fur consisting of two layers. A thick undercoat of short hairs that keep the dog warm and an outer jacket with longer hairs usually referred to as the guard coat. Both the undercoat and guard coat grow to different lengths and independently from one another.

Golden retrievers, unlike other breeds, do not shed their puppy fur. Instead, the puppy fur is pushed aside by the extensive mature hair growing in and ultimately becomes the undercoat. The undercoat tends to be shorter and grows faster than the guard coat. The golden retriever’s double layer takes anywhere from three to six months to develop fully.

The thickness of your dog’s double coat depends on its environment. Dogs that spend all their time indoors will have a thinner fur than those that spend most of their time outside. Double coated dogs like the Golden Retriever shed their undercoats twice a year, in the spring and during fall.

Golden Retriever Coat

We recommend brushing it regularly with a good bristle brush. Brushing your golden retriever on a regular will not only make the dogs coat beautiful and healthy, but will also reduce the amount of hair the dog sheds throughout the house.

The double coat helps keep your golden retriever cool in hot weather and warm in cold weather. The fur also helps the dog swim and protect them from debris and dirt.

Coat Helps in Avoiding Sunburns

Double-coated dogs have pale, sensitive skin, which only has ten layers; this makes them highly susceptible to sunburn. A dog’s double coat keeps them fresh in the summer and protects in the winter.

During hot summer times, the double fur supplies the golden retriever with its very own air conditioning system, helping the dog avoid sunburns and keeping it fresh. The undercoat of the dog tends to be thinner during hot weather conditions.

The thinness and the naturally porous nature of the undercoat allow it to trap layers of fresh air. The cold air moves around and through the coat while close to the skin. This protects the dog against overheating and sunburn.

Without the coating, fresh air courses above the dog’s skin and the harsh sun rays penetrate through the thin layer of hair left causing sunburn.

Not regularly brushing your golden retrievers’ fur may cause the coat to be matted, limiting fresh airflow. This can cause your dog to overheat and get sunburns.

Gives Protection from Sore Spots

Sore spots usually appear on your dog’s skin as moist, localized, reddish sores. Sore spots bring overwhelming discomfort to your dog, making it scratch, rub and lick the inflamed area. Sore spots in dogs are usually caused by parasites, allergies, injuries, or heavy friction.

The double coat of your golden retriever not only protects it against sunburns but also reduces friction in sensitive areas of the dog’s body.

An example of this is how the long, soft coat under the legs of the golden retriever reduces friction when the dog is running through fields. The thick double layers of golden retrievers also help protect them from injuries, which may cause sore spots.

Entangled coats tend to trap pus, parasites, and moisture, creating an ideal environment for sore spots. Regularly grooming your golden retriever prevents the coat from entangling, keeping the skin well ventilated and clear of parasites.

Is shaving Golden Retrievers Really Necessary?

No. Shaving your Golden retriever is not necessary. We do not recommend it. Shaving down a golden retriever may cause more problems. For example;

  1. Golden retrievers have susceptible skin. This means that if cut, your dog may develop razor burns, irritated skin, and will be more likely to catch sunburn.
  2. Shaving the Golden retrievers’ coat may cause permanent damage to it. When you shave a dog, only the undercoat remains. Since the undercoat grows faster than the outer jacket, the outer coat takes a long period to catch up leaving your dog’s fur sparse and dull.
  3. Shaving your golden retrievers’ coat will damage the cycle of the fur, making shedding unpredictable.
  4. Shaving your dog’s coat puts the dander of the dog on the surface of the skin, increasing the amount of allergens on the dog. This is bad for people with allergies.
  5. Shaving your dogs’ fur also means that you have reduced its protection against insects that bite dogs.
  6. The double coat of the golden retriever acts as a built-in air conditioning system. The fur keeps the dog warm during winter and cools during summer. Shaving the coat will leave your dog unprotected from harsh weather conditions.
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Instead of shaving your dog’s coat, we recommend regular grooming. This can be done by brushing and removing loose and dead hair from your dog’s fur. Frequent brushing also helps avoid mats and tangles.

The only time you can shave your dogs’ coat is when the dog requires surgery. When the fur coating has severe matting, or when your golden retriever is suffering from sore spots.

Is shaving Golden Retrievers Really Necessary

Tips to Keep Golden Retriever Cool During Summer Season

Unlike humans, golden retrievers do not secrete heat through their skin. Instead, they use panting as a means of regulating their body temperatures.

The double coat of the golden retriever acts as a built-in air conditioning system and therefore shaving it is a terrible idea. The dog will get even hotter once you shave him.

Below are some tips on how to keep your golden retriever cool during the summer.

  1. During the hot summer season, you should keep your walks with your dog short. You can also decide to be walking the dog during cooler times of the day, for example, early morning or at night.
  2. Create a beautiful shade for your dog to rest. Temperatures tend to sore even in shady spots, so we recommend limiting the periods spent outdoors.
  3. Choose a cooler walking surface like grass when walking your dog. Tarmacs, cement, and even sand tends to get very hot and may burn your dog’s paw.
  4. Grooming your dog regularly keeps the fur untangled and airflow in its skin optimum, reducing the chances of overheating.
  5. You can use sunscreen made for dogs. The sunscreen will protect your dog against overheating and sunburns. Remember to apply plenty of sunscreen on your dog for thorough coverage.

#1 Use a swimming pool

Golden retrievers tend to like swimming in hot summer days nearly as much as we humans do. You can opt to take your dog out to a park with a lake and let it swim for a while. You also have the option of purchasing a wading pool just for your golden retriever.

Since dogs cannot sweat, the water helps lower your dog’s external temperatures keeping it fresh.  Before diving into it, there are some safety concerns that need to be adhered to.

  1. You should never leave your golden retriever in the pool unsupervised.
  2. It is advisable to let your dog use a life jacket because even the best swimmer dogs drown sometimes.
  3. Keep a lot of fresh water nearby for the dog to drink will help prevent heatstroke and dehydration.
  4. Train your dog not to drink a lot of chlorine water as the water may cause your dog to bloat.
  5. Safely train your dog on how to get in and out of the swimming pool.
  6. Thoroughly wash hose down your dog after swimming and dab their ears with a towel. This helps rinse away the chemicals and prevent infections.

#2 Keep Your Golden Hydrated

For Golden retrievers, freshwater is vital all year round, but during the hot summer period, it is a matter of life and death. Water plays an essential role in your dog’s body.

Water aids every metabolic process occurring in your dogs’ body, from absorption of nutrients to digestion. Freshwater helps removes toxins in your dog. Dogs also tend to use water to regulate their body temperature.

Freshwater tends to keep the golden retriever’s nose moist, aiding in the sniffing abilities of the dog. It is crucial to ensure that your dog stays hydrated by providing a continual supply of fresh, clean water, whether in the field or at home.

Dehydration in dogs can cause a heatstroke, which can lead to the death of your golden retriever.  Common symptoms of dehydration include.

  1. Loss of elasticity in the skin
  2. Reduced energy levels
  3. Sunken eyes
  4. Dry gums

Spotting these symptoms early will help to hydrate your golden retriever before things get out of hand.

Golden drinking water

Do’s and Don’ts in the summer season

Do’s

  1. Regularly groom and wash your golden retriever.
  2. Keep your golden retriever hydrated at all times.
  3. Keep the walks with your dog short and preferably during early mornings or at night.
  4. Let your dog swim in your backyard pool, lake or beach. This will help cool its body temperature.
  5. Invest in products like a cooling bed which makes your dog more comfortable during the summer season.
  6. Walk your golden retriever on cold surfaces like grass to avoid their paws getting burnt.
  7. Thoroughly hose your dog with fresh water after a swim.

Don’ts

  1. Do not shave your golden retrievers’ coat during the summer.
  2. Do not leave your dog unattended in the pool area.
  3. Do not leave your golden inside the car
  4. Do not overfeed your golden retriever
  5. Do not walk your golden on the sand, tarmac, or hot asphalt.
  6. Do not let your golden drink too much chlorine or saltwater; this causes it to bloat.

Conclusion on How to Shave Golden Retriever

I have contacted grooming centers and vets regarding this before writing this article. Not a single one of them recommended me to shave the Golden to make him feel cool during summer. All of them said that shaving the Golden is going to create more issues than benefits.

They referred to skin issues like heat stroke and skin cancer (medically known as Solar-induced Squamous Cell Carcinomas and Dermal Hemangiosarcomas)

References

  1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1748-5827.2001.tb02460.x
  2. http://journals.usamvcluj.ro/index.php/zootehnie/article/download/12041/9870

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