A properly groomed Golden retriever always looks beautiful. Beyond aesthetics, though, some believe there is another reason to keep your hound properly trimmed – summer heat. If you live in a hot climate, you might be thinking about giving your Golden a nice summer cut. There are a few things to keep in mind while doing this, though. In this article, we will look at these considerations so that you can safely give your Golden retriever a stylish summer do.
Giving Your Golden Retriever a Summer Cut
First thing’s first, before you begin stylizing, there are a few things to keep in mind. Foremost on the list is your climate. It’s easy to want to treat your retriever’s coat just like our human hair, but their fur also serves additional purposes, such as insulation. This is a crucial point to remember when grooming.
Moderation is the Key
There is constant debate about what’s proper when it comes to proper shaving of a Golden retriever. On one side of the fence, there are those who say that the coat of a Golden retriever should never be cut, while others say that it’s okay to trim them in certain conditions and certain ways.
While everyone is entitled to their own opinion, the research suggests that a moderate trimming during hotter summer months is perfectly fine. The keyword here is moderate. A Golden retriever should never be completely shaved, but only moderately groomed and trimmed at the most. The reason for this is because a Golden retriever doesn’t have hair in the same way that some other breeds of dogs do. Instead, they have two coats of fur – an outer-coat and an under-coat. These coats of fur actually serve necessary purposes and aid in the dog’s health. If the coats are shaved off or cut down significantly, it can actually cause some health issues. So care should be taken when introducing a razor to your retriever.
Why Shaving For Summer is “Not So Hot”
As mentioned, the two fur coats of a Golden retriever serve vital functions and help to protect the dog, like a natural barrier. When these two coats are shaved off or reduced, so too is that protection. This can make your retriever susceptible to everything from painful sunburn, insect bites, and even skin cancer.
Furthermore, there is a known condition among double-coated dogs (Goldens included) called Clipper Alopecia. This is a condition where once their fur is trimmed or shaved, it will not grow back, and the dog will be permanently bald.
But What About Hot Weather?
Some think that during the summer, it’s a good idea to shave their Golden retriever down to keep them cool. While this is a popular opinion, unfortunately, the opposite is actually true. This is again because of the double coat of fur.
You see, a Golden retriever’s coat also acts as a rather sophisticated insulator for them. The two coats can keep your precious pup warm in the winter months and cooler during summer. Your dog will already shed any unneeded fur in the coat on their own.
By artificially shaving the dog’s coat, you can unintentionally remove their natural insulation against the weather. Rather than shaving the coat, it is recommended to brush the fur instead, removing tangled clumps of fur, especially around the under-leg and hind area. It is important to brush gently when doing this. Just the same as tugging on human hair can hurt a person, dog’s are even more sensitive to this.
The Best Kind of Summer Cut is a Simple One
Now that we know a shave is not a good idea, what are some ways to safely stylize a Golden for summer? Fear not, there are plenty of options to pep-up your puppy with some pizzazz!
Brush-up on the basics
This may seem obvious, but start with the basic grooming mentioned earlier. Just as we can feel and look a lot better after combing and brushing our hair, the same is true for a Golden retriever. Once the tangled fur and clumps are removed, you may be surprised how much better the dog will look (and feel).
Always brush in the direction of the fur, and brush gently. If there as a lot of matted and knotted fur, it may hurt, and so you should use as little force as required to get the job done. This should always be the first step in grooming.
You can also use this time to check the dog for any injuries, insect bites, or “pain points”. Often clumps of fur can hide things such as patches of irritated skin, ticks, or pretty much anything else. This is just an extra reason to go slow and gentle when brushing or combing your retriever’s fur.
Once you’re done, you will likely be amazed at the immediate difference. Golden retrievers have a natural outer coat that is quite beautiful – resembling a golden fleece – which is where they get their name from. When properly groomed, the innate brilliance of the coat will shine through for all to see.
Trim the extra feathering
While it is true that Golden retrievers do not have a coat of hair like some other breeds, they do have spots of hair in certain places, called “feathering”. These spots may include the legs, between feet pads, the tail, and the ears.
It should go without saying that these spots are extremely sensitive! Great care should be taken when trimming the hair from these areas, as it is very easy to injure your dog. The most gentle of scissor snips should be used, and still only a light trim. The goal is not to remove all the hair from these areas, just to trim it a bit. The hair around these areas acts as a protective guard, much like human hair around sensitive areas.
How about a nice shampoo?
Nothing makes hair (or fur!) look its best after a trim like a nice shampoo wash, and Golden retrievers are no different. There are a variety of specially formulated dog shampoos designed to keep fur looking its best. While details are a bit outside this topic’s scope, it’s a great way to add a bit of an extra luster to any style. Just make sure that you use a dog shampoo that is specially formulated for their fur coat. Human grade shampoo can remove vital minerals and oils from their coat. If in doubt, ask your veterinarian which shampoo they would recommend.
Spruce Up With Style, Not Scissors
Rather than getting overly rambunctious with a razor, you can stylize the hair that’s already there. Through proper brushing, grooming, washing, and a little snipping, you can still give your dog a unique and stylish look without jeopardizing their well-being. With these basic steps, your Golden will be looking golden all year-round, and will still have all of their natural protection from the changing weather conditions.
As you can see, stylizing your furry friend does not need to be a complicated procedure, nor do you need a bunch of expensive tools. Just a small amount of time, a few doggy treats as a reward, and soon your pooch will be ready for summer fun in the sun!