How to Shave a Double Coated Dog

Hard
30 - 60 Minutes
6 Months

Introduction

First and foremost, you should not shave a double-coated dog unless your vet recommends it. Doing so will rob Howie of the only protection his skin has from the cold and from the heat of the sun. Once you shave him down, it can lead to numerous skin issues such as dry skin, eczema, and sunburn. It can also result in his coat not growing back properly, leaving him with a patchy mess. Keep in mind too that having a double coat helps to keep Howie cool in the summer just as much as it keeps him warm in the winter. Shaving him in the summer will have the opposite effect by making him hotter rather than cooler. However, some veterinarians recommend shaving certain areas of the body or the whole body if there are injuries, infections, or skin conditions that require shaving in order to receive proper treatment. 

Dog's Perspective

Howie loves his coat. It keeps him nice and cool all summer long and warm during the cold winter months. He sees no reason for you to shave him down skin level. In fact, doing so is liable to land you in the doghouse for a very long time. Don't do this just to make yourself feel better for 'helping him' to stay cool, as it won't work. Be sure to shave a double coat only if recommended to by a veterinarian. 

The Leave Some Behind Method

Effective
0 Votes
Scissors
Pin Brush
Clipper
Step
1
Brush out first
Start by going over Howie with a pin brush to remove tangles, small mats, dirt, debris, and anything else hiding in it. Take your time, as brushing a double coated dog can take a little bit longer to properly get things out of it.
Step
2
Set up your clippers
Start by lubricating your clippers and installing a sharp blade. This will help keep the clippers cool and ensure they cut Howie's hair rather than snagging it and ripping any hair out of his skin.
Step
3
Start with a longer cut
Start with a cutting guide that will shave his hair down to the level of his guard coat. This is the shorter, denser coat that is designed to protect his skin. Be careful not to cut any areas that you don't need to cut.
Step
4
The next level
Once you have shaved Howie all the way down to his guard coat, you have to decide whether you want to go any further. By leaving the guard coat intact, Howie will have at least some protection from the elements. However, some things like injuries, infection, and illness may require shaving of the guard coat and it may come in handy knowing how to do it.
Step
5
Keep going
If you make the decision to keep going, change the guide on your clippers, blow out the hair, and lubricate the blade. The guide you choose can be short enough to take his coat down to skin level and make it easy for you to treat a skin condition or you can simply trim the length of the guard coat. When you are all done, be sure to give Howie a bath to wash off any leftover hair and then give him a treat.
Recommend grooming method?

The Naked Dog Method

Effective
0 Votes
Shampoo
Scissors
Pin Brush
Clipper
Step
1
Bathe your dog
This is not something most double-coated dogs like, so take your time and work the shampoo thoroughly into his coat using your fingers. Rinse thoroughly again using your fingers to help remove shampoo and anything else you might find in his coat. Let him dry thoroughly before attempting to shave him.
Step
2
Brush him out
Using a pin brush, go over Howie's entire coat, removing any tangles you find. If you find any mats, leave them until you are ready to shave him, then you can use the clippers to remove them.
Step
3
Work in layers
Since Howie's coat is double-layered, it only stands to reason that you should shave it in layers. Depending on the length of his overcoat, you may be able to shave it off in a single pass or you may need to work through it two or three times until you reach the level of his undercoat. During this time, keep checking that the clippers are clear of extra hair to make sure they are not getting hot.
Step
4
At the undercoat
Once you reach the undercoat, you need to change to a 'skin' level guide or the shortest one in the kit (Hint: it will have the largest number) and applying light pressure, shave his undercoat off to skin level. You may need to gently pull his skin tight to get a close shave without cutting his skin.
Step
5
At the end
Once you have shaved Howie and removed all traces of hair from the area, give him a quick bath to rinse off any hair and apply a skin conditioner or canine sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 50 to protect his skin from sunburn. Give him a treat and let him know he was a good boy.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • You should only shave a double-coated dog if his hair is so matted you cannot groom them out or if he has a medical condition for which his vet says he needs to be shaved. Never shave a double-coated dog for aesthetic purposes, as this can cause irreparable harm. 
  • Be sure you buy good quality heavy duty clippers and use a sharp blade for shaving, as the coat can be thick and difficult to get through otherwise. 
  • You may need to use several different guides in order to get all the way down to his skin. Don't be afraid to switch guides out as appropriate.
  • Use shears to cut around sensitive areas. Clippers may cause injury in areas that are not meant for them.
  • You may need to shave any areas that grow faster than the rest if you want him to have an even coat while it grows out.
  • His coat will grow at different speeds, but by the time it has fully grown back in, it will look just as good as it did before you shaved it, if not better. 
  • Remember to only shave a double-coated dog if absolutely necessary. 

Conclusion

As you can see, you really shouldn't shave a double-coated dog. However, there are times when it is the only choice. Take your time, work in layers, and stop to take frequent breaks. By the time you are done, your dog will probably not be very happy with you, but give him a few treats and let him know what at "good boy" he has been and he will likely forgive you!  

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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