When the weather becomes hotter, you may think shaving your Golden Retriever will help them stay cool. In fact, it does not, it actually does the opposite. The double coat protects them from overheating on those hot, summer days. In this article we will explain why shaving is not the best option and what you can do to keep them cool.
Should You Shave Your Golden Retriever?
Shaving your Golden Retriever is not recommended. The double coat of a Golden Retriever protects their skin from sun, heat, cold, and moisture. Their fur acts as an insulator against both the heat and cold.
Does Shaving a Golden Retriever Ruin Their Coat?
Shaving a Golden Retriever can permanently damage their coat. The double coat of a Golden Retriever protects their skin from weather conditions, parasites, and sunspots that can cause cancer.
There is no guarantee that the coat would grow in naturally if shaved. Often times, the hair grows in unevenly. The undercoat hair grows first, and the top guard hairs grow in later which looks very unnatural.
You will also notice the texture of the new double coat does not feel the same as before. It will feel sticky and Velcro-like. This causes more things from the outdoors to stick to their coat such as grass, twigs, and seeds.
If you do notice your Golden’s hair getting longer than you would like, another option would be to get them trimmed.
How Short Can You Cut a Golden Retriever’s Coat?
If you decide to have your Golden Retriever’s fur trimmed, the shortest recommended length it should be trimmed to is 1 inch. The best way to get them trimmed is by going to a groomer every 4-6 weeks. They will have the proper equipment to keep your Golden’s coat looking its best. Be sure to be specific with the groomer that you only want a trim and not a shave.
A groomer will be able to bathe and blow out the undercoat with a high-powered dryer. Using a high-powered blower will eliminate extra hair and take care of damp spots. Most groomers will also have a tool like a rake that will help remove the coat of extra hair.
For more on taking care of your Golden Retrievers coat, check out our article Golden Retriever Coat Care.
Does Shaving a Golden Retriever Keep Them Cool?
You might think shaving your Golden Retriever would keep them cool, but actually it does the opposite. Shaving them exposes them to sunburn, overheating and even skin cancer.
In the summer, the undercoat sheds leaving the overcoat guard hairs to provide insulation and allowing cool air to circulate near the skin. The guard hairs protect their skin from sunburn and reflect the sun’s rays.
Other Ways to Keep Your Golden Retriever Cool
There are some things you can do to help your Golden Retriever beat the heat in those hot summer months.
Make sure your Golden is staying hydrated by providing plenty of breaks for drinks of water. If you are outdoors for a longer period of time, you may want to bring along a dog water bottle or portable water bowl.
You can determine your dog is thirsty by noticing if they are panting or not. If they are panting, this means they are keeping their body temperature down and are hydrated. However, if you notice they are not panting and it is hot, then they are thirsty.
Goldens are known for being playful. Sometimes they will continue to play and not realize they are getting too hot or need to rest their body.
Signs for needing a break:
- Excessive panting– If they are panting at a more rapid rate than normal it means they are exhausted. You may notice their tongue is hanging out of their mouth with an abundant amount of saliva dripping out.
- Slow activity– If you notice they are much slower than usual, be sure to give them that much needed rest.
- Reluctance– If they are reluctant to play or to continue walking, they are showing signs of fatigue and need to rest.
Playing in Water
Golden Retrievers are water dogs. They love to be in the water splashing and jumping around. You can buy a kiddie pool to help them cool off or take them to a natural environment such as a river, creek, pond, or lake. They will get wet and filthy, but they will enjoy this activity for hours without their body overheating.
Staying cool indoors is always a good option especially if it is extremely hot outside. Having air conditioning and/or fans will help them be able to rest comfortably and restore their bodies. Often times they will prefer to lie on tile flooring or on an air conditioning vent instead of a rug or bed in warm weather.
You can also purchase a cooling pad for that added extra comfort. They come water filled or gel filled. The gel filled are lighter compared to the water filled. If you get the gel filled, just be careful if you have a chewer as you do not want them to swallow it.
Keeping your Golden Retriever groomed will help them have their best experiences in the warmer weather.
- Brushing their hair regularly allows for better circulation in the coat, prevents matting, and eliminates dead hair.
- Cooling glands are located in their feet, therefore, keeping the paws trimmed from excess fur can help sweat evaporate and cool them off.
- Groomers suggest keeping their legs and stomach trimmed of exceptionally long hair to enhance cooling.
- Give them regular cool baths to keep them clean and free of pests.
Keeping your Golden Retriever cool will help them feel happy and comfortable during those hot times of the year.
Should I Use Sunscreen on My Golden Retriever?
Dogs can get sunburn. If your Golden Retriever is outside a lot you may want to have some added protection from the sun. Dog sunscreen is an option. Be sure to use sunscreen that is intended for dogs.
The sunscreen should not contain zinc oxide or para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) as these ingredients are toxic to dogs if ingested. It is also a good idea to use an unscented sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 and waterproof.
You should apply the sunscreen about 20 minutes before your dog goes out and reapply every four to six hours or after they have gone swimming.
While shaving your Golden Retriever is not the best option for keeping them cool, there are many other things you can do to make life comfortable for them in the heat. Keeping them groomed, hydrated, and protected from the sun will help enhance the way their body cools itself.
A Golden Retriever’s body has natural ways to keep it cool. They will feel more comfortable if you allow their body to cool itself in a healthy way.
Golden Retrievers love to get wet and play in water. This is a great way for your dog to get exercise and stay cool. Provide plenty of opportunities for your Golden to do this. It will not only make them happy and cool, but you will also get to enjoy seeing them having fun in the sun!