Friday, June 22, 2007

Taking the Heat

Hello doggies! Tank here to tell you how much I loooooove being trimmed down in the summer. My dad has done it twice this year to keep me cooler. You should see my happy dance when it's done. I feel soooo much better. Princess and I are much more frisky. My dad wants to clear up one misconception a lot of people have so I'm going to turn things over to him. He's really boring when he gets a bee in his bonnet like this so skip past it if you don't care :)

Dad here. Summer haircuts on thick coated dogs are controversial. To shave or not to shave is a personal decision. By “shave” I mean a close trim. No skin should be visible. I use a #7 blade and leave about ½ inch of hair. The main reason I wanted to discuss this is to lay to rest a popular myth. When people talk about a summer trim and someone says “the coat insulates in the heat as well as the cold” that betrays a lack of understanding of the heat balance of mammals, people and dogs included. Mammals create heat. Mammals must lose some of that heat or they die. In cold weather that's easy. In hot weather mammals have to have a way to cool off to survive. Dogs cool primarily by panting and by sweating on their pads. Even though they don't sweat on the the skin of their bodies, there's still heat lost through their skin. Insulation slows heat loss. In cold environments that's great. In hot environments, that can be deadly. A big, thick coat will slow heat loss and thus the animal has to pant more and move less to maintain a reasonable temperature. Your thick coated dog will not be as comfortable as one with a thinner coat on hot days. But guess what? Your newf will still want to be in the air conditioning in hot weather! So shave or not, it's totally up to you, but know the truth so you make the best decisions possible.

If your dog is overheated, letting it drink is good, running cool water over it is good (this will be more effective with a short coat than a long one), but rubbing alcohol may not be the best choice. In people they've stopped using alcohol to cool because it cools so fast that it can cause seizures. There's no reason to think it's any different in dogs.

OK, Tank, back to you!

1 comment:

Opy - the Original GruffPuppy said...

Hey gang,

Welcome to - it is great to meet you, and I am sure you will make lots of new friends here :)