Do you trim the fur on your long haired dog?

sammy zone 7 TulsaJuly 27, 2008

I have been trimming the fur on one of my Goldens, and I think he is much more comfortable, but looks funny. The temps here have been hovering around 100 and will do so for another 5 or 6 weeks.

Does anyone have any advice on how to trim dog fur or where it needs to be trimmed? We cannot walk our dogs far since they cannot take the heat well. I would like to make this dog as comfortable as possible since he is 9, and hovers around the A/C vent at home.

Do you know if it is true that dogs only sweat through their paws?


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carla17(Z7 NC)

Maybe this page should be renamed the desert. Dead dead dead.
It used to be so nice here, sigh. Somehow poisoned.


    Bookmark   July 28, 2008 at 10:02AM
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AnneCecilia z5 MI

Sammy, to answer your question, yes - I have trimmed long haired dogs. Right now we have a Giant Schnauzer and she is meant to be shaved quite tightly on most of her body. I think she is cooler - and much cleaner! Certainly you can tell when she's just had a fresh haircut because she looks for her warm wool blankie to curl up in on chilly nights, so I don't know if that makes her hair cut good or bad! When her hair is long in warm weather, she flops out on the floor and refuses to lay in her bed, as if it's just too hot that way to sleep. Long ago, we had a pair of Bouvier des Flandres that we shaved in summer. They were quite active dogs and after the female scared us by collapsing during a hot spell one summer my DH started shaving them and they *seemed* to be much more comfortable. All that is only anecdotal however. I have read recently that a dog's coat serves to insulate it *from* heat as well as from cold. Makes sense, I suppose. And yes, dogs vent excess body heat through the pads on their feet and by panting. They don't sweat through their skin like we do.

(Carla, I thought it was just that no one had anything left that was interesting to say or ask. I don't think it is poisoned here as much as well, deserted.) ;-)

    Bookmark   July 28, 2008 at 6:14PM
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My neighbor has two Wheaton terriers and she gives them a haircut in the summer.

Sammy---we always had Goldens (aren't they just the best dogs in the world?) but as far as I can remember we never gave them a haircut-----

Our home has AC so they were comfortable.

When I lived in my other house they would lay on the nice cool brick in front of the fireplace


    Bookmark   July 29, 2008 at 7:02PM
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I think haircuts make them much more comfortable, as long as you don't shave them so that they get sunburn or razorburn.

My Samantha is a Malamute mix, & her coat has at least 3 layers, a long silky outer coat, a denser undercoat, & a solid wool mat, like a sheep next to her skin!

Late every spring, I cut her hair.

It takes at least 3 sessions, it's hard on both of us, & it looks funny.

but it makes her so happy.

(This is the dog that was ecstatic one winter when the weather was so cold that her plastic pool froze solid.
She lay there for hours, smiling & wagging her tail & acting deaf when I called her inside!)

I use electric clippers, & start by shearing off the top coat & the "silkies", the long tufts along her belly & legs.

Then I go back & shear the heavy middle layer, since that's as much as the clippers can handle at once.

The 3rd session I try to shear off the wool & even up her haircut.

Her haircut never gets evened up, but she's happier.

I keep the plastic pool full of clean water, & Samantha stays inside as she pleases, & she often sleeps on the cool tile in the shower.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2008 at 7:20PM
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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

Sylvia, you are an inspriation. We bought some clippers, and clipped away. It was a little difficult for me to get the hang of using them at first, and not much fur comes off at one time. But already his legs look so much cooler. He is in the habit of licking them, and I think he may feel better now.

The other part of his fur that is almost like a sheep is under his neck. I have to go real easy there, and have done quite a bit with scissors, but as he is 9 years old, I want to be positive that I do not cut any loose skin.

I hope these clippers don't fall apart soon. They were only $15.00.

Thanks for the suggestion.


    Bookmark   July 31, 2008 at 1:19PM
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No-but I had 2 male golden retrievers (litter mates). They played so hard either chasing each oher or running after balls. Every once in a while they wouldn't be able to climb the stairs to get in the house. They would fall down the stairs backwards. My vet told me they needed AC or their own pool. We bought a kiddy pool. What a perfect solution. They always knew when they needed a DUNK. We never had to worry about faint dogs again. Or thirsty dogs. They would jump in, lie down and lap it up. All we did was keep the plastic pool clean and filled.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2008 at 9:51PM
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Sammy I have to post these for you. I rarely visit the Conversations side so this will be my first photo posted. We don't have dogs but three cats. I presume that what is good for them could be good for you dog people also.

We have my husbands insane cat shaved every spring. Despite my efforts her coat gets so dredlocked every year that is the only solution. Plus I'm sure it is very hot. Anyway you get the idea. Her name is Hannah. We love her but really she is a crazy little kitty.

Before: A portrait of madness

After the deed:)

Ha! We love our mental little kitty. She certainly seems to feel good when this is done. She runs around the house like her little feet barely touch the ground.


    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 12:53PM
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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

Thanks Dabardi. I am afraid that the pool for us became a huge muddy mess. To keep it clean we had to empty is often, and we just did not handle it well.

Kate, I love the pictures. I thought my dog looked naked, but your kitty wins the prize. What an expression. I bet she feels great.


    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 7:04PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

I shaved Teddy back to about 1/2" when he could no longer walk. He was much happier and of course it was much easier to keep him clean and cool. He didn't mind it a bit.

Kate that is 1 interesting cat, both shaved and unshaved!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 7:14PM
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Sammy and Hoov:

Glad you enjoyed the pictures. It is funny getting her summer hairdo every year. She does feel better when its done. She literally bounces off the walls without that heavy fur coat to drag around.

What makes me laugh is when we bring her home from the groomers my cats seem to laugh at her! I mean they know its her because of the scent I presume but they run around the house and tap her in the bottom with their paws and act like kittens chasing her. They all get a great aerobic workout the first week or so after her grooming because my two cats find her new appearance so amusing they chase her everywhere. Kitties are fun what can I say.


    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 9:17PM
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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

I did purchase the clippers, and cut Ricky's fur. The house is much cleaner. It is amazing how much dirt, dander and dust is in the fur of a long haired dog. We may keep him this way.


    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 9:42PM
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I was going to ask about trimming our long-haired dog. She is part terrier/ part Chow and has really thick hair. Last year we had a groomer shave it off, but my brother insists that it insulates her and keeps her cool. After reading this, I've decided to try to at least get all of the mats and tangles out and trim it up a bit, might try the kiddy pool too. Her sister isn't long haired at all, more the "typical terrier" type dog.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2009 at 4:00PM
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Terry Crawford

Kate, I wish I had a pic of my long-haired black cat, Stormy. who passed away in January when she was 18. Every summer, my friend Jill who is a professional groomer, would give her a "lion's cut". She literally looked like a small black lion with a mane and a tufted tail. Of course she despised the process, but afterwards she strutted around and was much cooler since she had a heavy coat of thick black hair. I miss my baby so much.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2009 at 9:42AM
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jody(7b - NC)

Yes. Felco has bulldog skin and birddog fur - not a happy match, so he sheds a lot. He also has grinch feet which track in unbelievable amounts of dirt, grass, leaves, etc. Add in the heat factor.

After paying for the trim repeatedly and having him cut repeatedly, we bought a trimmer ourselves. He is perfectly happy to have us trim him and we are perfectly happy with the result. We leave his coat a little longer in the winter.

I can't tell you what a difference it makes in the amount of ambient dog fur in the house!

    Bookmark   August 18, 2009 at 3:42PM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

Shaving some dogs down may make them cooler, but there are breeds for whom it does the opposite.

Poodles are one -- their skin actually stays cooler if the coat is longer. It is insulating.
The answer, then, is probably different for every breed -- so the person to ask would probably be an experienced breeder.

Another factor is color.
Very dark dogs (we have had black Afghan Hounds and a apricot one) feel the heat more than light colored dogs.


    Bookmark   September 7, 2009 at 2:38PM
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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

Hi Jeri,

We have continued to trim his fur. He is 10 1/2 now, and the fur on his legs is very long. We trimmed that fur, his sides, chest, and abdomen. He is much cooler now when he hovers the vent. A couple of months ago I got a furminator, and started using it. Someone at my dog club said it was bad to use because it would signal the body to make more fur.

There is never one good answer, I guess.
I need to look up afghan hounds.


    Bookmark   September 7, 2009 at 5:54PM
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I have a tri color Aussie, we live in Hawaii he gets trimmed on his chest back stomach upper legs and the top of his tail. His head and mane are left completely alone as are the tufts on his middle legs and the long hanging down portion of his tail. We use a #4 clipper attachment. Once we shaved all of him and he looked too wierd.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2011 at 10:24PM
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