Many dog owners believe that shaved Australian Shepherds will feel cooler in warmer weather. Some of them even think shaving can reduce their dog’s shedding. But is there any solid proof to back up these claims?
Many vets do not recommend shaving the coats of healthy Australian Shepherds down to their skin. Shaving all the fur will not help them stay cool in hot seasons and won’t stop them from shedding. However, there are exceptional circumstances where shaving an Aussie is acceptable.
Stay put as we unravel more things about shaving Australian Shepherds. Additionally, in this guide, we’re going to clarify some incorrect notions about coat shaving, ultimately helping you make an informed decision for your dog.
Why Shouldn’t You Shave Your Australian Shepherd?
Many dog breeds, including Australian Shepherds or Aussies, pant a lot and rest in shaded places during the summer to stay cool. In an effort to help them, some pet parents shave the coats of their dogs down to their skin.
Some people even assume that this practice is beneficial, particularly for dogs with long and dark-colored coats. These coats are thought to absorb and trap more heat, which may not be ideal in the summer.
However, regardless of whether your Aussie is black, tri-color, red merle, blue merle, or has short or long hair, shaving its entire coat does more harm than good. To know why, check out the detailed explanations listed below:
1. Full shaving exposes their skin to harmful ultraviolet rays
Fur naturally acts as a protection for Australian Shepherds against sunburn. When you fully shave their coats, you expose their skin to the ultraviolet (UV) rays of sunlight.
Unfortunately, UV rays can cause painful sunburns in dogs, which, with repeated overexposure, can progress to skin cancer. If you have a shaved Aussie, you may use a dog sunscreen to protect its skin from UV rays.
2. Shaved Australian Shepherds are more prone to skin injuries, infections, and bug bites
When you fully shave your Australian Shepherd, its skin will be more susceptible to skin injuries such as abrasions and wounds. Sadly, these injuries are the perfect breeding ground for some infectious microbes.
Staphylococcal pyoderma and yeast dermatitis are among the most common skin infections in dogs. In addition, full shaving also predisposes the Aussies to bug bite, which, again, may lead to a skin infection if not properly treated.
3. Shaved Australian Shepherds will have a hard time regulating their body temperatures
The thick double coat of Australian Shepherds is well-adapted to changing seasons. Their outer coats, called guard hairs, act as their skin insulation, which keeps them warm during winter and cool during summer.
Meanwhile, their inner coats naturally shed during spring and fall to prepare for the incoming summer and winter. Shaved Aussies are less able to control their body temperature, increasing their risk of hypothermia and heat stroke.
4. The new coat after shaving will have poor quality
After shaving their coats, some Aussies grow thinner guard hairs which are less effective at performing their tasks. Also, keep in mind that guard hairs grow much slower than the undercoat.
Guard hairs typically give dogs their distinctive colors and are supposed to be longer than the undercoat. If you shave your Aussie’s coat, its new coat could have a different hue or pattern and will appear uneven and unappealing.
What Should You Do Instead of Shaving?
As established, pet owners shave their Australian Shepherd to keep them cool during humid weather. But this was proven to be inaccurate in the first part of this blog.
Instead of shaving, there are other more effective methods that have been proven to help Aussies in controlling their body temperatures during summer.
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), brushing your dog’s fur regularly can improve the air circulation in its coat as it removes the dead hair and prevents matting. Both dead hair and matted fur can obstruct good airflow to the skin.
Along with access to cool water and a cool area to rest, you can also give your Aussie regular cool baths to keep it clean and refreshed.
In the summer, you may still take your dog for a walk, but be sure to time it for when it’s the coolest.
Additionally, trimming the fur on your Australian Shepherd’s legs, stomach, and paws can help it stay cooler when the weather is warm. However, make sure not to overdo it and shave these parts all the way down to their skin.
Which Parts of the Australian Shepherd Should Really Be Shaved?
There are some parts of Australian Shepherds that are acceptable to be trimmed or shaved, primarily due to hygienic reasons. Among these are their paws, groin, underarms, stomach, and around their bottom or anuses.
In addition, trimming or carefully shaving some of the said areas, such as their stomach, paws, and underarms, may aid the Aussie in cooling off. For instance, removing the extra fur in its paws allows its sweat to evaporate more quickly.
Still, most professional dog groomers would not advise these parts to be fully shaved. As much as possible, these parts must still have a decent amount of fur to shield them from insect bites, direct skin injuries, and infections.
Also, keep in mind that all these parts are among the most delicate areas in any dog breed. A full shave might only irritate these areas and may result in redness and abrasion.
For your dog’s safety, it is strongly suggested that you leave the shaving to the professionals if you have no idea how to trim or shave the Aussie’s fur.
When Is It Okay to Shave Your Australian Shepherd?
Although it is not generally recommended to shave the fur of Australian Shepherds or any other double-coated dog breed, there will always be exceptions to the rule. Some conditions can justify coat shaving in Aussies.
However, keep in mind that if your dog has any of these conditions, coat shaving will typically be the last option. Vets do not immediately resort to coat shaving if there are alternative solutions to the conditions listed below.
1. You can shave an Aussie with a severe case of matting
Many double-coated dogs, including the Australian Shepherds, who are neglected by their owners, often experience severe matting. Typically, proper shampoo, detangler spray, and brush may help in fixing mild cases of matting.
However, for dogs with severely matted fur, professional dog groomers often just shave their fur to grow a new coat.
Although their new coats won’t be as appealing as the previous ones, this is far better than having severely matted fur.
2. You can shave an Aussie with severe cases of skin infection or infestation
Skin infections and infestations are among the most common conditions that affect many dog breeds. If they are not properly treated, they may cause other issues, including irritating crusty scabs.
Sometimes, vets opt to shave a part or the whole body fur of an Australian Shepherd due to severe skin infection and infestation.
This is because topical medications or creams can penetrate more easily if the dog has trimmed or shaved fur.
Aside from that, longer coats may trap some moisture underneath, which may worsen the infection. Hence, trimming and shaving the dog’s coat may assist in controlling the build-up of moisture in the affected area.
3. Shaving can be done for some senior dogs with extreme orthopedic issues
Many Aussies experience various orthopedic and joint diseases as they age. As a result, senior Aussies become less active and can barely stand long grooming sessions.
Since the Australian Shepherd is a large, long-haired breed, grooming would take one to two hours. If this long grooming session is already painful for your Aussie, some expert dog groomers and vets recommend just shaving its coat.
In the video below, you’ll see a professional dog groomer shaving down the Australian Shepherd of her client:
How to Reduce Shedding in Your Australian Shepherd
Australian Shepherds shed heavily all throughout the year, and as discussed in the previous section, Aussies shed more during spring and fall. Bear in mind that moderate to heavy shedding is typical for many double-coated dogs.
Some pet parents think that shaving the coats of Australian Shepherds can reduce the amount of fur that they normally shed, but in reality, it won’t do anything. In fact, there is no way to reduce normal shedding in all dogs.
What you can reduce instead is the amount of fur from your Aussie that gets strewn over your house once it sheds.
To do this, you may brush its coat daily and bathe it once every three to four months to catch and remove its shedded fur.
If you think your Australian Shepherd sheds abnormally and excessively, you must immediately consult your trusted veterinarian. Sometimes, abnormal and excessive shedding in dogs can be caused by skin infection or infestation.
Moreover, you must check your Aussie’s diet and make sure that you are not feeding any food that may cause allergies.
You may also give your pooch omega-3 fatty acids as they’ve been shown to enhance the overall coat health of dogs.
Note that dull coats and excessive shedding are among the symptoms of omega-3 deficiency in dogs.
How to Groom Your Australian Shepherd
Being a long-haired breed, the Australian Shepherd requires regular coat brushing. Not only does it catch the shedded fur in your dog, but it also keeps the Aussie’s coat from tangling and matting.
Aussies also need bathing every three to four months to keep its coat clean and away from infestations like fleas, ticks, and mites. However, this may still vary depending on your dog’s activity and lifestyle.
Usually, Aussies who always stay outdoors may need more bathing sessions than indoor ones. It is also advisable to clean your dog’s ears once a month and brush its teeth twice a day to prevent ear infections and tooth decay.
Sometimes, you may see some dried dead ticks and other parasites in your dog’s fur. However, you should not overlook these and remove them right away, as they could irritate your dog’s skin and induce an allergy.
Another essential aspect of an Australian Shepherd’s grooming needs is nail trimming. Nail trimming lowers the risk of your dog’s nail breaking and detaching from its quick, as well as preventing nail infections.
Watch the video below to see how you should groom an Australian Shepherd:
Frequently Asked Questions
Should You Shave Your Australian Shepherd in the Summer?
No, you shouldn’t. Although there are some pet parents who shave their Australian Shepherds in the summer and see their dogs enjoying it, many vets and professional dog groomers would not recommend doing such.
Not all dogs have the same tolerance for this matter. Shaving down the coat of your Aussie only decreases its ability to control its body temperature and increases its risk of getting heat stroke during the summer.
How Short Should You Cut an Australian Shepherd’s Hair?
According to the AKC, if you’re going to trim your Australian Shepherd’s coat, it is highly advised to leave at least one inch of its fur. “Summer cut” helps your dog stay cool during the summer without losing its protective coat.
In addition, always be extra cautious and only use the tip of your trimming scissors while clipping the fur on your dog’s face, feet, and tail. By doing this, you can prevent accidentally nicking these delicate areas.
Will Your Australian Shepherd’s Hair Grow Back If Shaved?
Yes, it will. However, the texture of its new coat will not be as excellent as it was before. Also, since the Aussie’s undercoat has a faster growth rate than its outer coat, you could expect that the new coat would have a patched look.
Australian Shepherds typically grow a good amount of hair three months after shaving. Yet, some Aussies may experience post-clipping alopecia, causing portions of their fur to stop growing.
If your Aussie happens to experience post-clipping alopecia, do not hesitate to call your trusted vet and ask for help.
Does Shaving Your Australian Shepherd Reduce Shedding?
No, it doesn’t. Shaving cannot reduce the normal shedding of Australian Shepherd or any other dog breeds.
A dog’s normal shedding rate is influenced by its breed and genetics, both of which are uncontrollable factors.
Meanwhile, abnormally excessive shedding in Aussies may be induced by an underlying health issue, food item, allergy, or poor care and hygiene. All of these factors have nothing to do with coat shaving.
Can You Shave a Mini Australian Shepherd?
True to standard and toy Aussies, you can’t just shave a miniature Australian Shepherd to stay cool in hot weather. Shaved mini Aussies are more prone to sunburn, skin infections, bug bites, hypothermia, and heat stroke.
Despite these, severe matting, skin infections and infestations, and extreme bone and joint diseases may justify shaving in mini Aussies. Yet, in cases like these, it’s still crucial to speak with your trusted vet before taking any action.
Shaving down an Australian Shepherd is among the things that are not recommended by many veterinarians.
In fact, shaving exposes the Aussie’s skin to injuries and harmful elements, making it more detrimental than beneficial.
Amid this, some Aussies with extreme health, skin, and coat-related issues may benefit from coat shaving. However, bear in mind that vets will always use this as a last resort, especially if there isn’t any other option to solve the issue.
After reading this guide, what do you think about shaving the coats of Australian Shepherds? Tell us your thoughts about shaved Aussies in the comments below!