Pet parenthood has a wonderful way of influencing our day-to-day activities. Your new canine or feline companion starts showing its impact on your life, clearly evident in your behavior, grocery shopping, bills, and even your google search history. Your daily internet searches are now centered on your fur babies, having you search on questions like “which food is the best for my dog”? “Which vitamins are the most efficient for my pet”? ” Can you shave a border collie “?
Luckily, this article will provide an answer to the last question mentioned, as well as state need-to-know facts about border collies.
How does a border collie coat look like?
Border collies are thick double-coated dogs whose coats come in either a short-haired, smooth type or a long-haired, smooth type (there are still many variations, but these are the main two.)
For example, some coats are straight while some are wavy, resembling a curly shape. Their coats consist of two layers, which are the outer and inner fur. The outer hair is water-resistant, which can either be short, long, thick, or soft, and the inner layer is the closest to the skin, thick, and serves as an insulator.
However, as far as grooming is concerned, the short-haired, smooth type is more straightforward to groom than the long-haired, rough type because it is easier to comb and will not tangle or coil easily, unlike the latter. But when this body hair needs to be groomed, do you need to shave your border collie?
Why is the coat of your Border Collie necessary?
As the skin is to man, so is fur to your Border Collie. Dogs and cats cannot produce sweat to expel heat. There is a misconception about dogs sweating through their paws, but veterinarians say that those secretions are there for moisture and protection and are too little to cool a dog. Since sweating is impossible, the fur performs the function of keeping them warm during the winter season and cooling them by stopping them from absorbing too much heat in summer.
If your dog is double-coated and thick-haired, they do not need sunscreen on the beach, unlike single-coated and thin-haired dogs. The fur acts as a sunscreen to them by blocking UV rays from entering the skin.
They repel water and keep dirt from reaching the skin. They also protect the skin from scratches, cuts, and insect bites.
Can you shave a Border Collie?
It is understandable that you want your Collie to feel more comfortable and refreshed by getting rid of excess hair, but the answer is no! Shaving a border collie is not advisable as a dog owner. Instead of shaving it off, a nice good trim will benefit your pet and keep them looking beautiful. However, shaving will distort their body’s homeostasis and make them look unattractive.
Why shouldn’t you shave a border collie?
Border Collies are very active and energetic, which means their hair will always pick up dust and dirt and often get tangled up. Hence, regular grooming is needed to keep the fur free of tangles and knots. Shaving is not included in the standard grooming manual because shaving the coats of a Border Collie means you just shaved off its insulator. Insulators serve as protection from cold, and shaving your Collies’ coat is like taking away your blanket when it’s cold. Due to its insulator gone, there is no cooling or heating medium to protect your dog.
Shaving off your dog’s coating is shaving off its skin barrier. This would ultimately mean an increased vulnerability to insect bites, cuts, and scratches when playing. Some even get a sunburn. Since there is no skin barrier, all these dangerous external factors mow access to the skin directly.
In some circumstances, though, a vet may recommend shaving or clipping. Dogs that develop hot spots may feel better with a clean shave. Long-haired dogs that predominately stay outdoors could also benefit from a clean shave. If they tend to get their fur wet often, they run the risk of getting myiasis— which is the medical term for a maggot infestation.
If you’re inexperienced in the art of shaving, your inexperience can be dangerous to your dog as there is a high chance of scarring your pet or, even worse, shaving off your pet’s skin.
Everyone knows how painful and uncomfortable ingrown hairs, and shaving your dogs exposes them to frequent ingrown hairs. An uncomfortable dog is bound to mess with your daily activities and get you uncomfortable.
One of the most attractive features of a dog is its coat. The shine, the color, the fluff, and the quantity of hair determine how stunning the coat of a dog is, but shaving the coat might cause irregularities in how the fur grows back. It will also grow unevenly and in patches and make them less adaptable to cold weather.
How do we groom our Bolder Collies if we cannot shave them?
Grooming is an essential process in pet upkeep, and as you have realized, shaving your border collie might not be the best thing to do, so how do we groom them?
Get professional dog groomers who will accurately take care of your Collies’ coat, but if they are not accessible due to unforeseen factors, carefully grow them at home. This is because Border Collies have specific care instructions, unlike other dogs. Professionals are more up to the task, possess more experience in dog grooming and handling tools such as scissors and electric trimmers efficiently.
As opposed to shaving off their coat, a light trim that tidies up all the edges and leaves your dog looking neater is recommended. Gently chip off stray uneven hairs from the sides, more to the legs, head, and tails, then carefully trim delicate areas like the ears to avoid injury. You don’t have to go super short while cutting, as even a few inches can make them feel lighter and more relaxed. Trimming their paws, legs, and stomach is highly recommended as dogs cool from the bottom to the top. Hairstyles are not recommended to avoid your Collie looking funky.
Trim with caution as Collies are known to be tireless, energetic dogs who are always giddy. And when giddy meets sharp objects, let’s hope for a good outcome. Of all tips, caution is an essential one because the last thing you want to do is to end up hurting your canine.
How to trim your Border Collie at home?
Everyone needs a haircut, and this does not exclude your pet as grooming is essential and can also be a medium to create a bond between you two. The pandemic has sent everyone to the four corners of their home, so this is the perfect opportunity to do so. So, before grabbing that pair of glistening scissors and heading towards your dog, here are some tips to follow:
- Gather all your grooming equipment before you start. Equipment like brush, scissors, dry towels, shampoo, cotton wads, medicated ear solution, hair clippers, etc.
- Ascertain the grooming point’s location, the bathtub, a large basin, or wherever is suitable and comfortable for you. Ensure the chosen area can be cleaned quickly and completely after grooming.
- For first-timers, leash your dog because you never can tell if they will get scared and try to run. The last you want to do is to chase a wet and half-groomed dog around the house. Most professional groomers wear overalls to protect their dresses from hair and water.
- Remember, your canine will know if you are scared, which will, in turn, make them nervous. Showing signs of nervousness can lead to your dog trying to escape or becoming aggressive, said Carol Benesch, owner of Norwichtown Pet Resort and Spa in Norwich, CT.
If your canine does not like being brushed, don’t force them and try again another time. You may also want to consult a veterinarian to make sure you’re using the right tools for their coat.
- Create a friendly environment, fill the environment with their toys or treats. Start by combing through your dog’s hair to get rid of dirt and knot. Detangling your dog’s coat is the first step since knots are harder to detangle when they come in contact with water. Many Border Collie owners like to spritz on detangling spray before brushing. It minimizes hair breakage compared to brushing dry fur.
- Trim evenly with sharp and well-oiled scissors, begin shaving from up to down consistently, and exhibit great care when trimming sensitive areas.
- Begin the undercoat grooming using de-shedding tools like an undercoat rack or a slicker brush to remove the debris and shed hair from your Collie (remember they are double coated.) This also stimulates circulation beneath the dog’s skin and aids in distributing nutrients and oils throughout the undercoat.
- After the undercoat grooming, you can switch to using a pin and a bristle brush for the upper coat. Use the pin brush to remove the topmost shed hair and dirt from the coat. After using the pin brush, you can switch to using the bristle brush to give the coat a final shine. Discard trimmed hair afterward.
How often should you trim your Collie?
It is recommended that Border Collies be trimmed every 4 to 8 weeks, while some recommend weekly, the period of pruning depends on the growth of your Collies hair length.
Do I trim my Collie during shedding season?
Trimming your Collie during the shedding season will be more difficult. Some Border Collies will shed more than others. The amount of ongoing and annual shedding depends on what coat type your dog has. Usually, the longer coated Collie should shed more than the shorter ones, but in this case, the reverse seems to be the order because shorter Collie shed more than long-haired Collie.
This is because Border Collies with longer, rougher, wavy, or curly coats sometimes catch the shed fur in their coat, so it doesn’t ever fall out. You often don’t see much evidence of shed hair with this coat type until you start grooming your Collie.
So, trimming during the shedding season is the same as during the non-shedding season.
Only trim a Border Collie when needed
Snip or remove hairs carefully as trimming is necessary around the ears, tail, and feet. First-timers shouldn’t trim the ears as these are mostly done by professional groomers.
The tails of Collies get dirty quickly and grows hair pretty fast. However, this doesn’t mean it should get the best part of the scissors all the time. Excessive trimming might give your pet an overall odd and uneven look. Mainly focus on furs longer than all the other hairs. Trim evenly afterward.
So for those frantically googling “ can I shave my Border Collie?” no, you shouldn’t, except it’s for medical reasons.