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Hello DogForums Friends!

I keep coming back here because of all the great advice we keep getting. We live up in WA and the summer heat is slowly starting to begin. I know, I know, it doesn't get THAT hot up here (we're from sunny CA and AZ so we know heat) BUT still, it's starting to get warm.

Question: What are you thoughts on hair cuts for Golden Retrievers? I've read a few articles that say their longer hair actually keeps them cooler. Anyone care to weigh in their experiences? I run with my puppy outside and he loves it, I plan to continue to do this as the summer months hit and want him to be comfortable (don't worry, I don't push him when he doesn't want to run).

Our Pup: Our lil' boy (Thor) is 5 months now. He's a "toy" golden, about 70% golden, 30% cocker so he's a small guy. He's got the body and hair of a golden and his ears remind me of the cocker. He'll grow to about 30lbs (or so they say).

He hasn't gotten any haircuts yet, his first grooming appointment is this weekend and I was thinking I would only do the following:
  • Comb through
  • Nail trim
  • Very light trim on some of his whispy hair
Should I do more? He likes water but is still a baby and doesn't swim per say. We take him to the beach nearby and he's exploring the idea :)

Thanks community - looking forward to hearing what you think. Any more info you need from me please ask!
 

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I would not cut him down, but I would have them shave a strip on his belly. I do this for Kabota. There's really no risk of sunburn on his belly, and the shaved strip allows him to get a little more out of cool floor tiles and the like. ETA: Have it done now, though, so it grows back before winter. Dog fur grows pretty slowly.
 

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You can also have his undercoat raked/blown out. By a groomer or learn to do it yourself. That really helps them stay a lot cooler, IME.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the advice everyone.

We took him in and we just got his paws and ears trimmed up, they cleaned him up and he looks amazing. I understand a bit more about their coats and why you don't mess with them :)
 

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The physics of the matter is simple. At ~101F, most of the time your dog is warmer than the air temperature. Hair keeps the heat in and helps keep the warm blooded critter warm. As air temperature approaches body temperature, being warm turns into hot, and the dog gets uncomfortable. Reducing the amount of hair allows better exchange with the outside air and cools the dog. It is accurate to think of this as your dog wearing a thick sweater. Trimming amounts to going from a thick sweater to a thinner sweater.
It is unclear whether raking out the undercoat or trimming the guard hair does this most effectively. It may be that the undercoat, like polar fleece, does a super effective job of heat retention, and breaking up the matt of the undercoat provides relief. The physics, in this case, gets into some complicated questions of turbulent flow etc. that require rocket science or testing in a flow chamber. Bottom line is both thinning the undercoat and trimming the guard hairs help. I disagree with other posters. I think clipping is fine . . . so long as you have no interest in showing. It will tend to make a goldie look more like a Labrador and some people don't like that. But sure, start with an undercoat rake.

The other really effective way to deal with summer temps are 1) let your dog dig a hole in a shaded moist place and lie in it. The dog will get dirty. But conductive exchange with cooler earth does a good job cooling. 2) Give the dog a kiddie pool or other wet place to cool off in. Now . . . if dog goes in kiddie pool and then does some lying in dirt and then decides to come indoors and snuggle up in the bed, you may have to do some extra cleaning. ;) Personaly, I have to sweep sand out of my bed from time to time. Nobody ever said owning a dog is convenient.
 

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Our last dog was long haired and we used to have it cut it where she looked like a lab. We did it a few times a year and it grew back within 4 to 6 months. She looked like an entirely different dog when she was all trimmed.
 

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I thought sunburn was one of the major reasons you're told not to shave your dog?

Could someone explain please. (Like I've heard "damages the coat" but does it do real harm or is it all looks?)
 

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Damaged coat is all appearance.

Sunburn is a risk, but not if you don't SHAVE your dog. If the dog has skin visible, yes, it can get burned. Leave a half inch of hair, and not so much.
 

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Some owners with goldens will do what they call a sanitary clip. This involves clipping the hair around the private parts and some of the feathering in the back of the legs to prevent poop from sticking to the hair. Clipping the hair around the ears and feet also is another option. I have read that you did this and so this is good. As the dog gets older some owners will elect to shave down the dog, Owners who do this claim that the dog appears to be cooler and the owners like it because for a short time the hair tumbleweeds disappear. Some dogs hair will grow back while others will not grow back. For you that breed really tends to get some wicked matting behind the ears. daily brushing will help prevent this. There are some dogs beds out on the market to keep a dog cooler.

At 5 months, I would worry about future joint damage about the running part. Even if you do not think you are pushing him. This is especially if the running is taking place on pavement or a hard surface. Also, I would run him in the morning compared to afternoon or evening. this will tend to be the coolest part of the day. I have seen dog's paw pads so raw from running on a pavement in the early evening hours. Owners are unaware how hot asphalt and concrete can get and retain that heat. Just some info to know about.


The water idea is great.
 

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I thought sunburn was one of the major reasons you're told not to shave your dog?

Could someone explain please. (Like I've heard "damages the coat" but does it do real harm or is it all looks?)
shave and clip are very different. Shave leaves bare skin exposed and can result in sunburn for a few weeks at least. Clip takes off the longer hairs.
I don't think there's any evidence that either shaving or clipping damages the coat in the longer term. Either, but especially shaving, can result in disasters from a showing perspective. Showies have strong attitudes about coat . . . these may not be relevant to the pet dog.
 
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