If your dog has been shaved for whatever reason or if you are thinking of doing so, you may be concerned about your dog’s future coat.
Will it grow back the way it used to, or will you be left with a whole new dog?
Sometimes there’s just no way around it and if your dog requires surgery, shaving is most likely a part of it.
In general, dog hair grows back after shaving, but what if nothing happens for a few months or your dog has a double coat?
Cutting your dog’s hair shouldn’t be a problem, but when it comes to shaving, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Does dog hair grow back after shaving?
Dog hair grows back after shaving in most cases, whether a dog has been completely shaved or received a new haircut. However, conditions such as post-cut alopecia can lead to poor hair growth.
Most dogs will never face shaving (as grooming) at any point in their lives.
Whether your dog was shaved over the summer, due to a grooming accident, or in preparation for surgery (more on that below), it’s totally understandable to worry about his coat regrowth.
You may have even come across horror stories on the internet that reported horrifying coat changes that occurred after shaving.
As a disclaimer, I don’t recommend completely shaving your dog, as there’s no real need for it, other than surgeries, matting, or other health issues.
So don’t grab a clipper after reading this article and start shaving your dog, this post is simply to help you understand what happens to a dog’s coat after shaving and that it’s not the end of the world.
If you’re thinking of shaving your dog during the summer, there are better ways to keep him cool, and trimming is much less damaging than a full shave.
When it comes to coats, dogs have two different types, namely single coats and double coats.
Double coats consist of two coats that grow independently of each other with the much shorter undercoat growing faster than the longer, smooth topcoat.
Single-coated dogs, such as Dachshunds, Poodles, and Dalmatians, should have less trouble growing their coat back.
Dogs with dense double coats may look different after shaving, as the undercoat often grows faster than the protective topcoat.
This could result in patchy or damaged fur that doesn’t grow back evenly.
Shaving a dog with a double coat also does not reduce shedding, although you may see a temporary difference, the amount of hair shed remains the same and the individual hairs are shorter.
How long does it take for dog hair to grow back after shaving?
Dog hair can take 2-4 months to fully regrow after shaving and the specific length of time depends on the length, type, season, age and health of the coat.
To get a more accurate prediction, we first need to understand how dogs’ hair cycles work.
There are four main hair cycles: anagen, catagen, telogen, and exogenous.
Anagen describes the growth phase during which hair follicles shed new hairs that will continue to grow until they are cut or reach the end of their useful life.
The catagen or transition phase occurs when hair follicles shrink and growth slows or stops altogether.
Telogen is the resting phase, and just as the name implies, hair doesn’t do much during this time and remains mostly unchanged.
When your dog begins to shed, it has entered the final stage, the exogenous phase.
Each of these cycles is affected by several factors:
- coat type
- coat length
- Environmental factors
Breeds like German Shepherds, Huskies, and Golden Retrievers with thick double coats can take several months to fully regrow their hair.
Hair has a lot to do with hormones and certain imbalances can greatly influence growth.
Various hormonal diseases such as hypothyroidism and other health problems can lead to delayed hair growth or even hair loss.
A study on shaved Labradors investigated how environmental factors influence hair growth and how long it takes dogs to regrow after being cut for a surgical procedure.
Eleven Labrador Retrievers were recruited during the spring, ten during the summer, six during the fall, and ten during the winter.
The researchers came to the following conclusion:
Hair regrowth to its pre-cut length at 14.6 weeks, 14.5 weeks, 13.6 weeks, and 15.4 weeks when shaved in spring, summer, fall, and winter, respectively.
Differences in these values were not significant, suggesting that season has no effect on hair growth rate in Labrador Retrievers housed indoors.
An analysis of canine hair regrowth after cutting for a surgical procedure
Dog hair does not grow back after surgery
Sometimes you just can’t help but shave your dog and one of those scenarios is surgery.
Even small incisions will require the surrounding area to be completely shaved.
This is mainly for sterility reasons so that no hair or bacteria enter the surgical site.
In addition, certain areas of the legs must also be hairless in order to place an IV for fluids and/or medications during the procedure.
Once the surgical incision has healed, the fur should regrow as normal.
But what if that’s not the case?
Depending on the scar and the number of damaged hair follicles, the immediate area around it may not fully return to its usual appearance.
If your dog’s hair does not grow back after surgery, your dog may be suffering from post-cut alopecia.
This affects dogs with dense double coats more than those without.
There is no definitive cause for this condition, and some experts assume that sudden cooling of the skin could alter the pattern of hair growth.
Endocrine disorders such as hypothyroidism and Cushing’s disease can also cause this.
If your dog is healthy, the lack of hair is mainly a cosmetic problem. However, exposed skin is more susceptible to sunburn, so consider using sun protection measures.
What breeds of dogs should not be shaved?
Dog breeds with double coats, such as the Siberian Husky, German Shepherd, and Border Collie, should not be shaved to avoid potential unwanted coat changes and issues with thermal regulation.
As mentioned above, dogs with double coats can be left with a patchy coat after shaving.
If the top coat doesn’t fully grow back, your dog may be left with an unruly undercoat that is more prone to matting without the soft protection.
Contrary to popular belief, a completely shaved dog may have a harder time cooling off in the summer.
Dog coats act as insulation, keeping your dog warm in the winter but also cool in the summer.
Stripping a dog of this natural cooling system can lead to overheating, sunburn, and other health problems.
Dogs will naturally begin shedding their undercoat before summer to promote air circulation while protecting your dog from sunburn and insect bites.
How can I help my dog’s hair grow?
There are a few home remedies you can try to help your dog’s hair grow back after shaving.
As a topical treatment, you can apply olive oil, coconut oil, or aloe vera to your dog’s skin.
None of these can guarantee hair growth, but they can promote healthy skin which, in turn, can stimulate hair growth.
Also, consider giving your dog skin support supplements that contain Omega-3s to boost the hair growth process.
Do not give your dog anything without consulting your veterinarian, and do not apply topical home remedies to the surgical incision.
Disclaimer: This blog post is not a substitute for veterinary care and is not intended to be. I am not a veterinarian or a pet nutritionist. If your dog shows any signs of illness, call your vet.
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