Journal 2018

Why You Should NEVER Clip a Double Coated Dog

July 12-14, 2018

Most of my family own double coated dogs, and mine being the smallest of breeds. But when it comes to their double coats, they are the same. So often, when it’s hot outside, I’m asked why I don’t shave down Prince Pippin, after all it will keep him from getting too hot. I have known for many years, since owning  a Samoyed, to not ever shave them down. The reasons why is that these two totally different coats work together to keep the dog warm during winter, and cooler during summer. I never saw the proof of this until the past two days.

The previous owner/owners of Lady Sofia shaved her down since puppyhood, and kept her that way for nine years, up until I rescued her last year. When feeling the texture of her coat, I knew at once that she was a double coat dog. When allowing it to grow out I found that she no longer had guard hairs. So in she went to be shaved, and I knew I would have to keep it that way for the rest of her life.

Then on early evening of last Thursday, Lady Sofia started acting strange. We are in the middle of a heat wave, and her body was reacting to it. Pippin has three times the amount of hair on him, and though he was feeling the heat and didn’t like it, his body was adapting to it. Through panting, and sticking around where it was cooler, he would survive. But not so with Lady Sofia. Her body couldn’t regulate as intended by God, and she was suffering for it. Her breathing became very deep and labored, her windpipe had narrowed and became irritated. By now she was freaking out!!!!  And I hate to say it, but so was I. The AC wasn’t working, our home was getting hot, and things were not looking good for her. I gave her a puff of albuterol, and then some Benadryl. After putting cold, wet hand towels all over her body, she started to cool down.  In another  25 to 30 minutes she was doing much better.

The next day both dogs were to be at the groomers at noon, and this was for her six-week clipping. We were a little early, and seeing the cool wet grass around the church next to the groomery,  I took the dogs over so they could enjoy the coolness. Just the walk from my car to the grass was enough to put her back into trouble. We headed at once to the groomery, and by now Lady Sofia was in real distress, and her tongue had turned blue. Yes, a real blue. I drove as fast as I could to All Creatures Animal Hospital, which was a few miles away, parked my car, and pulled out a very limp Lady Sofia. Once inside I found the only receptionist was on the phone. She asked what was wrong, and I said, “My dog can’t breath, and her tongue has turned blue.” She motioned for another lady to come and help me. When seeing what was happening, she quickly took Lady Sofia into the back room where they put an oxygen mask on her at once. They checked her heart, took X-rays of her throat, put in an IV, and started a drip. It was a very close call.

The vet asked how long has Lady Sofia been in the heat, and I told her. It boiled down to this. . . . the highest temperature she can withstand, since her guard coat has been removed, is a possible 80°, and no higher. They kept her for a few hours to make sure she would pull through. Meanwhile I took Pippin home, and called up the man who has been repairing my heat pump for the past few years. He was overloaded with work, but when telling him about Lady Sofia, he said he would be right out. And he was true to his word, and was here within the hour. Soon the AC was back on, and within a short span you could feel the difference.  

Returning to All Creatures I was told that because of Lady Sofia's condition, she couldn’t return to a hot home. If she did it would cause her to have a relapse. I assured them that it had been fixed. I was given a prescription, and told to take her home, and out of the heat. I was also to fill the prescription at once, and have it on hand in case of another seizure. Even with the AC going it was hot in the car. While driving I would glance down at her, and could see that she was getting worse. By the time we arrived home she was in trouble. Rushing inside I wrapped her in a cold, wet hand towel, and placed her in front of a fan. She was getting a little better, but still needed the medication. There wasn’t anyone to stay with her while I went to the drugstore, so I put a dog bed on the floor, and placed her into it. Then headed out the door. Nothing went right at Walmart, or the other stores around, because of the heat wave the power was intermittent, and messing up their computers. What should have taken 45 minutes ending up way over an hour. When arriving home I found Prince Pippin at the front door, and next to him was a very lively Lady Sofia. She was cooled down, and now acting like herself. When seeing this it was fantastic!!!!!

Because someone in Lady Sofia's past had thought she would look cute shaved down, she is now suffering for it. Yesterday she almost lost her life. And all because she no longer has her guard hairs.