It is not always easy to keep a long- or thick-coated dog comfortable when the summer heat and humidity make man and beast wilt.
A dog’s coat – if well maintained -- actually serves as insulation against the heat, keeping a layer of cool air close to the skin. (Think of how the desert-dwelling Bedouin people dress in long robes and head coverings as protection against the sun and heat.)
For that natural air insulation to work, however, the dog’s coat must be kept free of dead shed fur, mats and tangles.
That means regular – sometimes, daily – brushing.
When a coat becomes badly matted, however, it is no longer helps keep the dog cool; the only humane option for the dog’s comfort and well-being is to take a clipper blade under the matting and remove it.
Some owners always have the hair clipped very close. They are fine with the way it looks and love to see the dog gamboling about, relieved of the weight. Others are appalled when the groomer returns a “naked” dog. Sometimes the pet seems traumatized by a drastically short groom. This reaction is usually connected to the human’s attitude than actual discomfort.
There can be a downside to short clipping. Sunburn is a risk and the dog also is more susceptible to insect. Re-growth on some hair types can come as a surprise: some breeds grow back super soft and fuzzy; some have a noticeable color change.
While there is no single right answer for everyone, a sensible compromise is usually the best. Having the coat lightened by thinning and trimming can retain the cuddly or shaggy look, but be more comfortable for your pet. A professional grooming also can make regular maintenance grooming at home easier.
It’s important to have a conversation with your groomer about your pet’s needs and your family’s lifestyle. Does your dog spend a lot of time outdoors? Does he go swimming with the family? Is someone in the household will to keep up with keep up regular brushing?
Your groomer will be happy to work with you to at a styling that suits you, your pocket book and most importantly… your pet!