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Why are we talking about shaving a dog and a bald man in the same blog post? I would have wondered the same thing 10 years ago when I had a full head of hair, but around that time I noticed my hair line receding, a bald patch forming on the top of my head, and thinning throughout. I was becoming a modern day Friar Tuck 🙁 So 10 years ago I decided to shave my head. I slowly progressed from the clippers with the #2 attachment to the #1 attachment and today I go straight to the scalp with no attachment.
While all you folks out there with a full head of hair have not idea what it’s like being bald I can tell you I never thought about some of these things until I was without hair. I’m not really sure why the baldness gene was passed on from generation to generation. You’d think natural selection would have extinguished this trait from the human race since there is no real benefit to not having hair (at least none that I can see).
So now I equate these drawbacks of being bald to the drawbacks of shaving your dog and while these findings are in no way scientific I do believe they are relevant and good reasons why you shouldn’t shave your dog.
Why You Shouldn’t Shave Your Dog
Humans – When I first shaved my head I soon realized how much insulation hair provided my head. In the summer time when the sun was beating down on my bald head I was actually hotter not cooler sans hair. In the winter time I could feel all the heat in my body escaping through the top of my head. Needless to say I wear a lot of hats these days. In the summer you will almost always see me with a baseball cap and in the winter you’ll likely see me styling in a beanie.
Canines – I’m not a dog so I don’t know for sure how much a full coat vs a shaved coat insulates a dog, but I’m willing to wager that a shaved coat provides less insulation in both the summer and winter just like I experience with my bald head. So next summer when your trying to decide whether or not you should shave your dog remember shaving him may actually make him hotter in the summer not cooler. The ASPCA website made another good analogy:
“A dog’s coat is kind of like insulation for your house,” explains Dr. Louise Murray, Vice President of the ASPCA Animal Hospital. “Insulation stops your home from getting too cold in winter, but it also keeps it from overheating in summer—and your dog’s coat does the same thing.”
Humans – This one is not even seasonal. When I’m outside my bald head is always susceptible to sunburn. The top of my head has never been the tannest part of my body and burns much easier then any other part of my body. The lesson here is if you shave your head always wear a hat or sunscreen to protect the skin on the top of your head. From the skincancer.org website: “Sustaining five or more sunburns in youth increases lifetime melanoma risk by 80 percent.”
Canines – Your dog’s skin can burn too and I’m sure it’s no more comfortable then when you have a sunburn. I’ve noticed that my black Labrador Retriever has very light colored skin. The lighter the skin the more susceptible to burning. Oh, and by the way dogs can get skin cancer too.
- GENERAL PROTECTION
Humans – Have you ever had a mosquito bite on the top of your head? Probably not, and do you know why? Your hair provides you with a layer of general protection not only from the sun, but other elements as well. I’ve even had some wind burn on the top of my head. It’s not quite a helmet, but it is another thin layer of protection between you and any object that might hit you (okay now we might be stretching it a bit). However, the mosquito and bug thing is definitely relevant.
Canines – Your dog has a fairly thick layer of fur which offers him an additional layer of protection against the same elements such as mosquitos, bugs, and any other object that may cause harm to the skin.
If you have been thinking about shaving your dog I’d recommend against it for the reasons mentioned above. While I, as a bald man have the option of putting on a hat to insulate and protect myself most dogs will not have the same kind of protection after they are shaved especially if they are outside for long periods of time.
So what do I recommend? I think you should do the same thing with your dog that most people with a full head of hair do like getting regular haircuts, brushing your hair, and washing it regularly. Regular trimming, grooming and brushing will help keep your dog cool as well as reduce the amount of fur you find in your house from shedding.
That’s it my friends. Now it’s back to you. What do you think about shaving a dog? Tell us about your thoughts and experiences in the comment section below.