Shaving a labrador is becoming a popular trend among many dog owners these days.
After all, isn't it a lot easier to keep your dog clean and tidy by simply giving him a shave every now and then? However, while many owners choose to shave their dogs, others are still reluctant to do so.
They fear that shaving might make their dogs uncomfortable, or that they might have to shave more often if they do shave.
Nevertheless, the decision of whether or not to shave your dog is a personal one, and we encourage you to make it with careful consideration of the facts.
In the past, there were very few labradors that sported a smooth, shiny coat. Although shaving a labrador used to be a rarity, today, it is quite common.
Labradors that are shaved have a unique and fun look that many owners enjoy, although there are certainly some drawbacks to shaving your labrador.
Although many people believe that shaving removes loose hair that can cause matting and other problems, this is not the case.
It is actually far more hygienic for you, less time-consuming, and easier for your dog to be groomed when a labrador is shaved, and it is also a great way to help with hot spots.
Can you shave a Lab?
“Can i shave my Lab?” I hear this common question from many people whenever summer approaches.
We usually get our hair trimmed short to escape the summer heat and sweat. Similarly, when we notice our dog panting and feeling hot, we think of shaving our dog too to make him feel cool and comfortable.
Or else whenever we notice excessive shedding in our Labrador, we think of shaving him to minimize the shedding issue.
Firstly it is very important to remember that the hair on your body and the hair on your dog’s body is not the same. Nature has given the dog’s coat specific purposes and the coat has its job to do.
It is important to have a little understanding of the Labrador coat before talking about shaving and trimming the dog’s coat so that you can understand the topic clearly.
Labrador double coat
The Labrador coat type is a bit special and it is called a double coat. What is this double coat actually?
All dogs are not the same, there exist differences in their coat type. One of the major differentiation between dogs is whether they are single coated or double-coated.
A double-coated dog breed like Labrador retriever has two layers of fur. Yes, you can feel this when you move your fingers slowly through its coat.
The top layer is called the guard coat or outer coat, and the coat underneath is called the undercoat. The outer coat is made up of longer guard hair which tends to be abrasive, whereas the undercoat is made up of denser coarse hair which is softer to touch.
The Labrador’s coat, whether it may be the undercoat or the outer one, it is not simply for aesthetics. Nature has designed its role for specific purposes.
The purpose of a double coat
A Labrador has its genetics closely related to cold temperatures and waters. Hence nature has provided its coat in such a way to protect itself from the external environment.
The outer coat repels water, ice and even dirt. Hence it acts as a natural barrier to the dog’s skin.
Whereas the undercoat which is thick and dense plays a very important role in protecting your Lab from rapid temperature changes. It keeps him warmer when the climate is too cold and it keeps him cooler when the climate is too hot.
The coat functions as a natural body temperature regulator. Thus the double coat, which is the double-layered fur offers protection from extreme weather, water, ice, dust, and other environmental factors.
Why you don’t need to shave your Lab?
It is not necessary to shave or trim your Labrador’s fur to keep him cool during the summer. Because your dog sheds the undercoat automatically into a thinner version in order to prepare itself for the summer heat.
Even though our Labs shed all around the year, there is something called the Labrador shedding season. This is the season during which the Labrador sheds its coat in greater quantities. This is called Coat blow.
Have you observed this
Hence whenever summer approaches, your dog blows its coat and makes the transition from winter to summer. Similarly, this coat blow occurs again when there is a necessity of transition from summer to winter, to protect itself.
Nature designed the dog’s body to adapt itself to the changing climates. Hence shaving your Lab is nothing but interfering and disturbing its natural process of coat change. There might be a reason dogs don’t shed themselves completely bald, that is how nature wanted it.
5 Reason why you should not shave your Labrador
If you are thinking of shaving your Labrador, your dog is likely to suffer from these side effects.
- The texture of the regrown coat changes
If you shave your Lab, trust me, the regrown coat will never be the same.
Whenever you shave your dog’s coat, the undercoat starts growing immediately whereas the outer coat takes time to grow. I’d say that the time it takes for the undercoat to grow back is double quicker when the coat is shaved.
In summers, a dog naturally sheds the undercoat and makes it thinner to cope up with the heat. Interfering and shaving the coat causes the regrown coat to be thick, unruly, and coarse which prevents the air from reaching the skin. This makes the dog feel too hot in summer.
The newly grown coat tends to be rough and sticky which will attract all the dirt and dust on your dog’s coat.
- Makes your Lab feel hotter
Do you think that you can make your dog feel cool and comfortable by shaving him? No, it does not serve the purpose and instead, the reverse happens.
Shaving your Lab causes the growth of a thick unruly coat which prevents the air from reaching his skin. Because of this, your Lab will feel hotter during summer days.
- Causes sunburn to your Labrador
Dogs' skin is far more sensitive than human skin. So if you are at risk of sunburn in summers, What about your dog?
Shaving your Labrador removes the guard hairs that act as a barrier between the skin and the sun rays. The guard hairs usually reflect the sun's rays and protect your dog’s skin.
Hence it not only causes sunburns, but there is also a greater risk of skin cancer by shaving your Lab which removes the protective guard hairs.
- Can cause horrible skin problems
Shaving your dog’s coat can make him prone to more allergies more skin problems and hot spots. I won’t say that this happens to every dog. But i have seen many dogs suffering from horrible skin problems after getting completely shaved.
Hot spots occur on the skin which takes more time to get healed. By shaving your Labrador, you are just removing its protective fur and exposing its pale sensitive skin to the harsh outer environment.
- Causes more allergies to you
Some people are allergic to dogs. They assume that they are allergic to dog’s fur, but actually, it is the pet dander that causes allergic reactions in them. Pet dander is nothing but tiny and microscopic flecks of skin shed by dogs.
Shaving the dog can increase the allergies as you are in more contact with dog dander directly. And the dander flows in the air more easily and you will more be affected by allergies. Hence shaving will not improve problems for anyone allergic to dogs, and can even make those problems worse.
Should I Shave My Lab?
A Labrador, or Pomeranian may be comical because their long coats can be styled into fluffy shapes, but few things will spark outrage from knowledgeable pet owners like the topic of shaving your pets.
The president of the California Professional Pet Groomers Association agrees that these stylistic shaves can be cute and funny. However, she also warns prospective pet owners: it’s better to avoid shaving your dogs if they have “double coats.”
Owners of Labradors imagine that their pets actually enjoy the freedom from fur in the heat of the summer. They also believe that shaving stops their frequent shedding. Neither is true. The fur that makes up Lab coats is not the same as a human hair — its function is different, and the fur follicles don’t grow back properly.
This is a failure of pet owners to understand the science behind their pet’s coats. Shaving your Labrador’s fur could cause irreversible change to the quality of their fur. It could also make them uncomfortable. So, the only way to truly curb shedding is frequent grooming.