I have done some research online about whether or not you should shave an Australian Shepherd in the summer. Some people say the undercoat insulates them against the heat and also say that if you shave an Aussie, the hair won't grow back right. Well I have also read some success stories about how happy some dogs were once they were shaved and not so hot... What are your experiences?
Also, I think shaving them might help for flea control. The farm I live on has around 225 horses so you can imagine the amount of hay and shavings we have to store and this is where the fleas love to live. My dogs are on Comfortis, but we also give them Frontline (Oked with the vet first) as extra protection.
Opinions please! I live in GA and I can barely convince my dogs to leave the AC in my apartment to go outside!
Where am I and what am I doing in this handbasket?
I can't speak for aussies, but I sure can speak from the fluffy corgi side of the road (same double coat). It grows back and it makes a huge difference in his ability to cope with the heat. Actually I shave him year 'round (in GA too) - I just let it go about 12-16 weeks between clips at the coldest part of the year. I think maybe he wears his blanket maybe 12 times a year, it's too hot for him even clipped (it's a sure sign when your 12 year old corgi will lay down and sleep in the 30's with the coat on and you take it off and he's bouncing around like a puppy).
I'm not sure it helps with flea control, I just know I'm more likely to bathe Casey when he is clipped, and the bathing with the sulfur shampoo helps with the itchies He's one of those super super super flea sensitive dogs who would have been a raw oozing mass in the pre-frontline type days. Last year I had to do comfortis and frontline a few times, but mostly the comfortis worked. This year I am trying Advantage before I have comfortis sticker shock again (you'd think you could get a break with a corgi, but when he's 42lbs and slim and fit, you end up with all the large dog prices).
Our Aussie crosses with thick coats get hair cuts for summer. They all love playing in the dog pool and it would be impossible for them to dry otherwise. Their winter coats collect sticks, seeds, and other objects. They are brushed frequently but still get matts buried in their bushy hair. I have also heard that the hair won't grow back right but ours have grown nice winter coats every fall. We live in Iowa so ours grow a very thick coat for winter I can't imagine leaving it on for summer on the farm.
I have shaved mine down to short the last 3 summers and I have not noticed a difference in the coat that grows back. Of course I don't show mine, so his coat doesn't ever need to be in perfect shape. He is much happier and has a lot more energy once he is shaved. He also looks a lot smaller. I shave him myself and just use the horse clippers, I just have to make sure they don't get too hot going through all that coat.
There is always the chance that the hair won't grow back. It doesn't happen often, but it does happen, and when it happens it is incredibly ugly.
And you can shave a dog a few times a year for years without problems and then suddenly, it doesn't come back right.
I will shave down double-coated dogs if clients insist, but they have to listen to my spiel first. Once one older lab came in for his first shave ever, and the owner was quite rude, cutting me off and saying her friend had shaved her lab for years and it always came back fine. She strongly implied I was an idiot and lazy and just didn't want to do the job. Guess whose dog didn't get it's coat back? I chalked that one up to karmic justice.
That aside, I shave my pom every summer. Full coat = heatstroke. Every year without fail. Once I started shaving him he had no problems.
They way I see it is this:
Coats insulate very well, but the dogs body is a heat source. So it's keeping that heat in while the sun bakes the dog from the outside as well.
And second, people royally suck at keeping their dogs in good condition. A matted coat thick with trapped undercoat is a crappy insulator, can make the dog overheat even on mild days and traps moisture next to the skin causing sores and skin conditions. In that case the dog is much better off shaved.
Any dog with a double coat should not be shaved. Think about it: dogs don't sweat through the skin like humans do, so shaving them is not analogous to what removing a heavy sweater would be for a human. The outercoat of breeds like Huskies and GSD's insulates them from the sun and prevents them from overheating. I can't speak for Aussie's as I've never had one, but I try and say this every time the discussion comes up: do some breed research before shaving!
I have 2 aussies, my coach has 3, and her niece has 1. The niece shaved her aussie the last couple summers and of all 6 her's was the most uncomfortable.
Mine like the air conditioning in the summer (so do I!), but they will go out on the deck and relax in the sun, play in the little pool I keep out there for them, or just chill in the shade. Her's wasn't comfortable inside or out. The house seemed too cold (she was cuddling in the blankets all the time, and outside she just wasn't relaxed).
I had been thinking about but I've just kept up with good grooming practices instead.
IMO it doesn't help much, and I know a light skinned dog that got sunburned after getting clipped. Maybe have the groomer take out her undercoat? My neighbor's husky goes to the groomer every spring to get his undercoat out and he is SO much happier afterwards
I have never shaved any of my double coated dogs....I spend A LOT of time with a rake and shedding brush and I get all the shed out undercoat off as quickly as I can. My B/C cross will lay in the grass and take a nap while I shed out one side....then I grab her legs and flip her over and do the other side. She's in heaven with all the attention. I end up with a large bucket of hair when I'm done. I then do a sanitary trim and trim up their "butt fluff". I will also scissor around and trim up their guard hairs and when I'm done they will look well groomed and comfortable. Not like they've been in fight with a mad clipper. I really hate the look of a shaved dog, if that breed is not designed to be shaved.
"My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."
I shaved my Aussie for many years after we finished showing. After winter and a soggy Spring, it was easier on both of us to shave off some of the old stuff so at least he shed shorter hairs in the Spring! I took a 7F blade and did his neck and back. Did his belly and sanitary areas with a 10. Scissored his underside, legs, and ruff.
I think he was cooler. It was certainly easier for me to let him get wet! And it was cleaner and easier to manage for fleas and ticks.
We have had several Aussies and shave them every summer. They seem to stay cooler once their clipped, and they're much lower maintenance. We take ours on lots of hikes, swims, etc, so having short hair certainly makes that easier too.
We've never had an issue with their hair not growing back correctly. By mid fall they're pretty much back to full length just in time for winter!
Cascadia- OTTB mare. 04/04-05/10
If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever
The last 3-4 years of my Aussie's life I cut her coat(partially trimming with scissors and partly using clippers). She always had a long thick coat and she was a blue merle with most of her body being black in color. The heat seemed to bother her more as she got older so I decided to give it a try. I didn't shave her real short, and her coat would be fully grown back by September.(clipped in late April). She was much more comfortable after coat was reduced.