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My dog Koby is an American Eskimo and his coat is still extremely thick and fluffy at this time. Even if it's a pretty normal 55 degree day, he still appears to be exhausted and too hot after his walks. I've been told that I'm not suppose to shave these double coated Northern breeds, so what can I do to make him more comfortable?
 

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Do not shave him. You can get him groomed, it will help get out all the dead hair and help his fur act like a it should to help cool him. Also, when you groom you can get get him trimmed neat & tidy. Here are two pics of our Chloe from last October, just home from groomer. Since we live in the country, trees, pine needles, bugs..., we keep her feathers fairly short. They grow super fast. She is groomed about every 8-10weeks. I happen to have these pics simply because I request no bows & every so often (usually holidays) they stick them in because she is so cute. I was laughing so hard taking the pics, she was so confused.

Btw..you can't tell from these pics but her mane is full & fluffy & never trimmed, just along her sides, feathers, tail & butt.




 

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Shaving to the skin is a no because it will not grow back the same but you can trim it short.
I use to get my old eskie trimmed so her fur was ~ 1-2inches long every summer for 13 years and it always grew back for winter, this only works if your dog has no other underlying health problem though.

it's actually a fallacy that thick fur cools dogs. the dog produces body heat which gets trapped in the insulation of the fur and then over heats the dog. Think of it like wearing a winter coat in summer. If the dog did not produce body heat then it would keep the dog cool, but then I'd also want to see pictures of a cold blooded reptile dog because that would be awesome.
 

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it's actually a fallacy that thick fur cools dogs. the dog produces body heat which gets trapped in the insulation of the fur and then over heats the dog. Think of it like wearing a winter coat in summer. If the dog did not produce body heat then it would keep the dog cool, but then I'd also want to see pictures of a cold blooded reptile dog because that would be awesome.
Do you have a source for this? Everything I've read from the pros says otherwise.

I like these two pages:

http://groomblog.blogspot.ca/2012/03/shaving-dogs-for-summer-consider-this.html
http://scottsdalegrooming.com/2011/03/a-close-shave-do-summer-cuts-help-or-hurt-scottsdale-dog-grooming/
 

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laws of thermo dynamics

and the not so scientific stories of many people both on and off this forum.

I'll look up a source for the thermo dynamics part though, just give me a minute.

http://teacher.pas.rochester.edu/phy121/lecturenotes/Chapter17/Chapter17.html



shoot people over the house, I'll post better links in the morning
 

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Also could have been your groomer. From that second page I linked:

The reason why shaving must be done correctly– and is probably best handled by and experienced professional groomer–is because of the way dog hair typically grows. Humans have a single hair follicle per hair. Dogs have one hair follicle containing anywhere from 7 to 25 hairs. On a double-coated dog, in that mix of hairs, you have certain percentage of the coarse, glossy guard hairs and certain percentage of the soft, fuzzy undercoat hairs. Because the undercoat grows faster that the guards hairs, if the coat is shaved too close, the undercoat will grow out first and then the guard hairs can’t get out. The follicle opening gets clogged or occluded by those fuzzy undercoat hairs, and it can sometimes take years for the guard hairs to grow back properly. But, if the coat is shaved so that the guard hairs remain comfortably above the follicle surface, all hairs–guard and undercoat–will continue to grow as nature intended. The coat texture and color will remain intact. Basically, you don’t want to damage the hair follicle, and a good groomer will know how to clip a double coat to prevent that damage.
 

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Carding is something that groomers can do to a clipped double coat to help keep the undercoat at bay while growing back. I have been involved in this argument a million times, with groomers and other pet professionals. I know how this natural cooling is supposed to work, however, I shave and clip down double coats ALL the time per owners requests, and every single owner says their dog is cooler. That they dont pant as much, dont seek out cool tile and do better on walks and exercising. These are dogs that are not packed with undercoat, but dogs that are properly groomed, regularly. And I have never heard of a dog dying because its coat was cut. Common sense is, when its hot outside, you dont put the dog out in the sun. Clipped or not. Its up to you as to whether you want to have your dog clipped shorter or not. But if you decide to go shorter, be prepared to continue regular grooming and proper brushing as its growing back. :)
 

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Carding is something that groomers can do to a clipped double coat to help keep the undercoat at bay while growing back. I have been involved in this argument a million times, with groomers and other pet professionals. I know how this natural cooling is supposed to work, however, I shave and clip down double coats ALL the time per owners requests, and every single owner says their dog is cooler. That they dont pant as much, dont seek out cool tile and do better on walks and exercising. These are dogs that are not packed with undercoat, but dogs that are properly groomed, regularly. And I have never heard of a dog dying because its coat was cut. Common sense is, when its hot outside, you dont put the dog out in the sun. Clipped or not. Its up to you as to whether you want to have your dog clipped shorter or not. But if you decide to go shorter, be prepared to continue regular grooming and proper brushing as its growing back. :)
Yeah, seriously. I see this all the time, in real life.

I mean I believe it damages coat and might make the dog look weird, puts them at risk of sunburn or whatever. I'll even grant if the outside temperature is higher than your dog's body temperature coat could have a cooling effect, by keeping the outside temperature out. But thermodynamics are what they are, and I don't believe for one second that they don't apply as much to dogs as thermoses. Science is science, you know? There's no reason the thing that keeps a dog warm in winter by keeping body heat in, is not also going to keep body heat in when it's hot outside. It's just insulation. House, dog, whatever. Insulating in the summer wouldn't do you much good if you kept the heat on. You'd want to open the windows. Same thing.
 

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I think that making sure to brush out the shed undercoat helps A LOT. I know that in the summer, when I'm walking single-coated Crystal and double-coated Casper, Crystal is usually the one who seems hotter, walking along panting when Cas is not. His coat is really not that thick after he blows it for the summer and I go over him with a shedding rake and slicker. The longer guard hairs also protect him from the sun.

(My last dog, a malamute/collie mix, was the same. He'd be very hot and uncomfortable until I'd brushed out all the old undercoat, and then he was fine for the summer.)
 

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I think that making sure to brush out the shed undercoat helps A LOT. I know that in the summer, when I'm walking single-coated Crystal and double-coated Casper, Crystal is usually the one who seems hotter, walking along panting when Cas is not. His coat is really not that thick after he blows it for the summer and I go over him with a shedding rake and slicker. The longer guard hairs also protect him from the sun.

(My last dog, a malamute/collie mix, was the same. He'd be very hot and uncomfortable until I'd brushed out all the old undercoat, and then he was fine for the summer.)
Sun protection is a thing. So is <i>reflected</i> heat, which can be much hotter than the air temperature, so walking on asphalt or cement can, in fact, result in temperatures higher than the dog bouncing onto them.

I agree getting out undercoat can mostly resolve the issue, and is probably more effective than clipping guard hairs, but that's... removing the most effective insulation, you know?
 

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I am glad to see others having similar doubts about the argument that the double coat serves as an insulator in the heat. I always felt rather alone in my doubts and was quite disheartened by all the debates I was invariably dragged into because I shaved my Keeshond EVERY summer. I was careful to leave it long enough to protect him from the sun and so that it would grow back normally...which it always did.

The thing that always got me about this idea is that if the double coat really did effectively shield a dog from high temperatures wouldn't dogs (and wild canids) that live in arid/hot climates be equipped with this coat? Dingoes, African Wild Dogs, Mexican Wolves all have significantly shorter coats (often single coated) then their cousins/relatives that live in places like Siberia, Alaska, Montana, Canada etc. Plus, man-made dog breeds that were created to live and work in these climates display the shorter single coats.

I'm not saying it might not be effective in warm temperatures that the Nordic breeds were typically exposed to, but when you are getting temps above 100 degrees for over a month the coat simply can't cope. I know Keedo's tolerance for the heat drastically improved when he was shaved and I've seen many other double coated dogs have the same reaction.

I'd like to see some data on the argument either way, but the truth is there isn't any for either side. There are certainly a lot of resources saying the coat insulates, but the thing is all those resources are opinions of breeders, groomers and fanciers not the result of any sort of scientific measurement.
 

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I don't have an eskie but I do have a fluffy northern spitzy thing.
I do not shave her with my main reason being that I find shaved dogs (the ones that are supposed to be fluffy, like Ruthie) to be really ugly. It's just not attractive. Also, in my experience from dogs I"ve worked with (in TX) the shaved dogs are suffering no less than their non-shaved counterparts during the summer months.

How do I deal with it? Ruthie only goes out for very short increments during the day (5 min here and there to potty) and then the rest of her time outside is during the cooler hours. I have a baby pool (cheap from toys-r-us or walmart) that I keep filled with water and she gets a whole lot of ice treats. I don't feel like she's suffering any extra because I refuse to shave/trim her.
 

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I do not shave her with my main reason being that I find shaved dogs (the ones that are supposed to be fluffy, like Ruthie) to be really ugly. It's just not attractive.
That's part of my reason, too -- I think dogs with double coats look hideous shaved. But mostly, I don't think they need it. All of the shed undercoat bushed out so that air can get to the skin, yes. Clipped, sure -- make the coat less heavy if you want to without damaging the guard hairs. But completely shaved? I don't see the point. Coyotes and coywolves here have a similar coat to Casper's and they are fine in summer once they shed out all their undercoat. Foxes and rabbits and raccoons and all of the other animals in temperate/continental climates do quite well in their summer fur.
 

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That's part of my reason, too -- I think dogs with double coats look hideous shaved. But mostly, I don't think they need it. All of the shed undercoat bushed out so that air can get to the skin, yes. Clipped, sure -- make the coat less heavy if you want to without damaging the guard hairs. But completely shaved? I don't see the point. Coyotes and coywolves here have a similar coat to Casper's and they are fine in summer once they shed out all their undercoat. Foxes and rabbits and raccoons and all of the other animals in temperate/continental climates do quite well in their summer fur.
Oh yes, that too. I make sure to brush my girl's coat out a few times a week to make sure that all the shedding hair is gone.
 

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I've had two Eskies. Both of them got hot at times. I would put cold packs/bags of ice whatever was handy under a thin blanket and they would snuggle down in there for a nap. I wouldn't want to nap on ice but they seemed to love it.
 
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