Although it is never recommended to shave a Golden retriever, there are a few instances where you may find yourself responsible for the care of a Goldie affected by shaving. Shaving can have detrimental effects on any dog, and Golden retrievers are no less susceptible.
Many risks emerge with shaving a dog, and many of them can even be threats to the dog’s health, leaving them vulnerable to infection. As a result, it’s essential to know what to expect and how to provide the specialized care necessary to help your furry buddy recover as soon as possible.
Caring For a Shaved Golden Retriever
Generally speaking, there is rarely ever a good or justified reason to shave a Golden retriever. The only exception is if your Goldie requires shaving for a medical procedure or due to a severe case of mange that requires shaving for the sake of the dog’s health. Outside of either circumstance, shaving should not occur. If you’re caring for a shaved Golden retriever, there’s a good chance it’s a dog you have rescued from a shelter or perhaps a local stray.
Perhaps one of the most common misconceptions that leads to shaving Goldies is the belief that doing so will help cool down the dog during the summer or even minimize shedding. However, shaving prevents temperature regulation and should never be used as a replacement for grooming in any dog.
Shaving a dog with a double coat such as a Golden retriever can often cause irreversible damage and prevent the coat from growing back normally in the future. Even worse, it can often lead to permanent issues that affect both the skin and the fur, if not already having a severe impact on the behavioral health of the dog.
Keeping that in mind, a shaved Golden retriever requires unique care because of what they’ve experienced. This dog may not behave normally in comparison to other Golden retrievers and may have developed anxiety, fear, or behavioral issues resulting from being shaved. It may take a long time for the dog to learn how to trust you, and likewise, an even longer time for you to help them physically recover from the damage caused by the ill-advised haircut.
Types of Damage Caused by Shaving a Golden Retriever
Unfortunately, many issues can affect your Goldie once they get a shave. Some of these issues can include post clipping alopecia, coat funk, and sebaceous adenitis – just to name a few. Post clipping alopecia is common among many shaved dogs. It may present with several symptoms including hair loss, patchy coats, thinner hair or fur, sunburns, and coats growing in with different colors and textures. It is the only type of alopecia that occurs after a dog has been shaved and often results in permanent hair loss.
Another common type of damage is coat funk, which causes hair to become brittle to the point of breaking. Once the hair breaks off, it either never grows back or may only grows in with a coarse texture. Coat funk is known by different names depending on the breed of dog you have, but can affect all breeds and is more common among dogs with double coats. Some types of coat funk are so severe that they cause the dog’s exposed skin to turn black.
The damage caused by shaving is not always limited to the coat area and can easily become psychological. A shaved Golden retrieve may become less obedient, more aggressive, or may even become destructive. Some can become very cautious around humans and fearful of being harmed, while others may develop depression and anxiety. Sometimes the psychological damage caused by shaving is so severe, only a professional dog therapist can help.
Does Golden Retriever Hair Grow Back?
It isn’t easy to provide a definitive answer to this question because although fur and hair can grow back, it doesn’t always happen. When it does, it’s less likely to be the healthy quality that it was before the shaving experience because the dog has likely been negatively impacted by one of the health concerns mentioned above. Regrowth is often a very slow process and can take four to six months, at least.
There is no guarantee that regrowth will occur, and even if it does, it may not occur evenly. Areas that have been affected by alopecia or other issues that have prevented growth may result in bald patches that never completely disappear. Likewise, other skin issues can continue to develop as regrowth occurs.
Encouraging Coat Regrowth in Your Golden Retriever
A shaved Golden retriever will require extra support in many ways as you work toward recovery together. This is especially true if you have any plans to try to grow the dog’s coat back over a gradual period. Regrowth can be a very long process and requires a lot of patience. Even though the expectation is that the fur can regrow in four to six months, sometimes there may be areas on your Goldie’s body that never fully recover from the damage of shaving.
There are actions you can take to increase your Goldie’s likelihood of recovery, however. The first option is to reconsider your approach to nutrition. Although you might already be feeding your four-legged companion a high-quality dog food, it may not be enough to provide support for skin health and coat regrowth.
Ideally, you should choose a dog food that is high in omega fatty acids. If you don’t want to change dog foods, you can incorporate more omega fatty acids through supplements added during mealtime and snacks. Omega fatty acids are essential because they encourage the development of a healthy coat while reducing inflammation in the skin and throughout the body.
The next important action you can take is to spend more time grooming and brushing your dog. This is important for two reasons. First, you need to teach your dog to trust the experience of grooming again. Secondly, brushing will remove any dead hair remaining in the coat and stimulate skin cell production, which will also aid in eventual hair growth over time.
Bath time will require additional consideration as you work to minimize skin issues and disorders while supporting healthy skin and coat development. Your Golden retriever may not be able to use the shampoos and conditioners that you favored in the past because they may irritate due to the amount of exposed skin.
To ensure that bath time is comfortable and soothing to your Goldie’s skin, you should opt for an oatmeal shampoo and conditioner. These are proven to be significantly more gentle on the skin and will help remove any bacteria that may be preventing hair growth.
Although shaving your Golden retriever might take an hour or less, the damage that it can cause may last for years or even forever. Your dog will require extra care and attention for an extended period as you work toward recovery and healing.
If you don’t notice any improvement even after months of effort, it may be helpful to contact your dog’s veterinarian for further guidance regarding other actions you can take to stimulate the growth of a healthy coat. Above all, remember to be patient with your Goldie and give them plenty of love and affection — they need you more than ever during this vulnerable time.