Summer may seem a miserable time for your little papillon, with his long coat and big butterfly ears. Wearing a fur coat as the temperature soars may have you thinking a date with the hair clippers is in order. But your pap may not be as uncomfortable as you think.
The Furry Butterfly
Not all dog coats are created equal, as some breeds sport the equivalent of a thick wool overcoat while others carry a light windbreaker. Your pap's coat is deceptive; despite its length and fluffy nature, it's actually only a single coat with a soft, silky texture. Although it's not thick, his coat still works the same way as the heavy double-coats on other breeds. The hair works as an insulator and keeps him warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Cutting or shaving his coat isn't necessary to keep him cool and comfortable as the dog days of summer approach.
Hair, Hair Everywhere
Just because his coat is designed to keep him cool in the summer doesn't mean he needs every single strand of hair to do it. Your pap doesn't need the thick coat of winter during the heat of summer, so Mother Nature programmed your pooch with a self-regulating method to keep just the right amount of hair for the season. As temperatures climb and the days get longer, your pap sheds the excess hair of winter to thin out his coat. This lightened load makes for better airflow and keeps him cooler. Regular brushing with a pin brush helps remove this dead hair before it tangles and turns into tough mats.
Just A Little Off the Top
Although haircuts are not necessary during the summer, you can have your pap trimmed or shaved down to ease in grooming. Shorter coats offer easier brushing and bathing, and lowers or eliminates the possibility of mats. Always trust a professional groomer to handle the hair cut to prevent accidental injury to your pup. A sharp pair of scissors or clippers can do a surprising amount of damage should he decide to zig as you zag.
Tips Before the Snip
Your pap's long hair doesn't just make him look like a little flowy butterfly, it also keeps him cool and protects his skin from sun damage. Before deciding to trim him down to a short, sporty hair cut, keep in mind you'll need to compensate for that protection he's losing. Offer him plenty of shade and cool spots to spend his days, preferably in front of a fan or air conditioner vent. Never let him play in the sun for long periods, especially if he's got a white or light-colored coat, as he could develop sunburn. Walk him in the evening when the sun's lower in the sky, and offer him a little sweater or warm place to snuggle up if the nights get cool.
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