Can You Shave a Flat-Coated Retriever?

by Matt Bostic

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With the summer months right around the corner, you need to consider some of the best ways to keep your flat-coated retriever cool and safe. 

They have a long and sometimes thick coat and many pet owners wonder whether they are able to shave this dog or not. 

Can You Shave a Flat-Coated Retriever?

You should not shave your flat-coated retriever. Shaving the coat too short can make it hard for them to insulate during the summer and they will not keep cool. It can also cause them to be more likely to deal with bugs and sunburn when it gets hot. 

While a little trim of the fur is fine, shaving all the way down to the skin is dangerous and can cause a lot more issues down the road for the dog as well. 

Let’s take a look at some of the things that you should consider when you want to know whether it is safe to shave the rare flat-coated retriever or not. 

Can You Shave a Flat-Coated Retriever?

When you have a flat-coated retriever, it is best to not shave off all the hair. 

Many pet owners assume that this is the best way to keep their dog cool and prevent them from overheating in the summer. 

But this can actually make it harder for the dog to keep cool in the summer. 

Unless there is a medical reason for cutting the hair shorter, it is best to never cut it less than one inch on your flat-coated retriever. 

You can also consider having a groomer do this for you to avoid some of the problems that can happen otherwise.

Keeping the fur longer, even in the summer, can help protect the dog from bug bites and sunburn and it helps to keep the dog cool by trapping air near the skin. 

This dog could have a double coat or a single coat based on what they get from their parents. 

The double-coated dogs are going to have a soft inner coat that goes close to their skin and performs as a type of insulating layer. 

This layer is going to keep the dog cool when the weather gets hot and warm when it gets cold outside. 

When the summer comes, the dog is going to be able to shed much of the under layer. 

The amount that is left will help capture air between the skin and the fur, helping them to stay cool. 

When you shave the double coat too much, it is going to reduce the amount of shedding that the dog is able to do. 

This takes away some of the insulation that they need during the summer and can make it hard for them to keep cool. 

The dog may also be more at risk for follicle damage, sunburns, and developing skin cancer to name a few issues. 

Shaving this kind of coat has the potential to cause some long-term damage to the dog as well. 

When the owner decides to shave them all the way down to the skin, the undercoat hair is the one that will grow back at the fastest rate. 

This may end up crowding out some of the slower-growing guard hairs and will change up the color and the texture of the hair. 

In some cases, the flat-coated retriever will have a single coat instead. 

These dogs are going to sometimes have hair that is long and other times it is short. 

The hair can be curly, smooth, or wiry depending on the dog. 

But the hair will all be even without the soft undercoat is present. 

There is less chance of damage when the dog has a single coat, but you should still not shave them all the way down to the skin. 

Having a professional groomer take a look at the coat and check out how much to shave down to keep them cool is the best. 

They still need to have some length to the coat to help protect against sunburn and bug bites and provide them with a bit of insulation in the summer. 

Whether the flat-coated retriever has a double coat or the single coat, it is best to not shave them all the way down to the skin. 

In both cases, the fur of the dog is there to provide them with some protection from the elements, even in the summer. 

Unless there is some medical reason to do it, it is best to not shave the dog down. 

Why Is It Bad to Shave My Flat-Coated Retriever?

There are several problems that can show up when you decide to shave your flat-coated retriever. First, if they have a double coat it can end up harming the coat. 

It will struggle to grow back in evenly and it will not look as nice as before.

There can also be some issues with ingrown hairs and more that can be hard to take care of as well. 

Whether the dog has a single coat or a double coat, it is not a good idea to shave the hair off of your flat-coated retriever. 

This can be uncomfortable for them and takes away some of the cooling that they naturally get when they are working through the summer. 

When there is no hair there, the air will not stay close to the fur at all and they will struggle to stay cool more than if you just left the hair there. 

Without the hair in place, the dog may have to deal with some other issues during the summer as well.

Sunburn is possible when the hair is that short and they can also worry more about bugs and more. 

It is best to just leave the hair alone rather than shaving them off. 

A little trim to your dog is not a big deal and can help take care of the hair more than just letting it grow like crazy. 

But you do not want to shave all the way down to the skin. 

It is a good idea to find a professional groomer to help when it is time to take care of cutting the hair of your flat-coated retriever. 

What Can I do Instead of Shaving My Dog?

Dogs are going to have different systems in place to help them cool down compared to what we can do. 

Shaving is not going to have the big impact on cooling the dog down that you would like. 

Dogs are going to rely more on panting to regulate their temperature. 

They can also rely on a process known as vasodilation, or blood vessel expansion, to help control the temperature. 

Because of these different ways of handling their heat rather than shaving, there are different steps that the pet owner will be able to use to help give their dog the best grooming possible, without causing any damage. 

Some of the steps that the pet owner can use to help them keep their dog comfortable in hot weather include:

  1. Brush the fur often. This is going to eliminate some of the dead hair from getting in the way, prevents issues with matting, and allows for better air circulation throughout the coat of the dog. 
  2. Let the dog take a cool bath, either in the home or in a pool. This can help them stay clean and keeps the pests away. 
  3. Since the cooling glands in the dog are near their feet, you should consider keeping the paws trimmed of the extra fur so that the sweat is better able to evaporate and cool the dog off. 
  4. Groomers suggest that you get the stomach and legs of the dog trimmed of the longest hair to enhance cooling. This is something that you can save for the groomers if you are nervous. 
  5. When the dog is outside, make sure that you give them access to shade and cool water all the time. When you take the flat-coated retriever out for walks and exercise, try to do it in the coolest part of the day. 

These methods will ensure that your flat-coated retriever is able to stay nice and cool, even when it is the middle of the summer, and you will not have to worry about causing damage or other issues by shaving their fur off. 

Keeping Your Flat-Coated Retriever Cool in the Summer

Many pet owners have their hearts in the right place when they want to shave their flat-coated retriever. 

They know that the hot months are coming and they want to make sure that their pet is nice and cool all the time. Shaving the dog down all the way can have the opposite effect and can make it harder for the pet to stay cool in the hot weather. 

If you are concerned about how hot the dog will get, consider some of the tips above to make things easier. 

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