Clipping your dog doesn't keep him cool!
It's Spring, the sun is out and I know what you're thinking! Your dog still has their winter coat, they're probably shedding, it looks dull and untidy - your thinking of giving him or her a short clip ready for the summer weather .... if this is you, and you have a double coated breed of dog, please read on!
Golden Retrievers, Collies, German Shepherds, Labradors, Pomeranians, Samoyeds, Chow Chows....
...these are all examples of dogs who have a double coat of thick, soft undercoat and a longer, coarse upper coat made up of ‘guard hairs’. If clipped closely or shaved, it can alter and ultimately ruin the structure of the coat and your dog’s ability to keep themselves cool.
In winter, the longer outer guard hairs protect against snow or ice and can repel water. The soft undercoat keeps your dog warm and dry.
In summer, most of the soft undercoat is shed, leaving the guard hairs. The job of the guard hairs in warm weather is to protect your dog from sunburn and insulate them against the heat. With less undercoat, air can circulate through the guard hairs, cooling the skin. This is why it's so important to regularly brush your thick coated dog to help rid them of the dead undercoat - if you don't have time, the inclination or don't want the mess in your house, get a groomer to do it!
When a closely clipped coat begins to grow back, the undercoat grows first and the slower growing guard hairs grow back mixed in with the fluffy undercoat, instead of laying above it. The texture is more Velcro-like and actually makes your dog hotter as air can no longer circulate effectively.
In the summer, it's normal for your dog to seek shade, lie down and pant. Unless they're very overweight, have underlying health conditions or are a breed susceptible to overheating, don't worry! Regular baths and brush outs will help keep your dog’s double coat in tip-top condition so it can regulate temperature effectively.
There are a few double coated exceptions such as Westies, Mini Schnauzers, Cocker Spaniels and some other terriers who owners do have clipped as they clip out nicely unlike many thicker coated breeds. But once it's been done, there's no going back, you'll have to keep having them clipped.