When is it okay to shave down a double coated breed? Unless requested by a vet, I would say never! A dog's undercoat serves an important role in its health and well being. I will go through steps on how to maintain your dog's undercoat and how it's important for a dog.
Most people want to shave their dogs to prevent shedding. This does NOT stop the shedding. Instead the shedded hairs are a lot smaller and harder to clean up. Instead of shaving ask for a FURminator(or deshedding) treatment. This is a process that removes most of the excess hair. The treatment involves brushing the coat with a slicker brush, combing, raking, and using a FURminator tool.
An undercoat rake will break up and loosen undercoat near the dog's skin. This will make brushing a lot easier and can help prevent over brushing, causing brush burn.
The slicker brush will further remove the now loose undercoat and will also help maintain the hair to prevent tangles and mats. Again be careful not to brush too hard or you can cause brush burn, which is where you brush the skin raw and can cause bleeding.
Now for the combing. After raking the coat and brushing, you should be able to easily glide the comb through your dog's coat. You may come across thicker areas that you may be able to comb loose. If not don't over force it. Use your slicker brush or undercoat rake again if needed.
Lastly the FURminator tool is used to finish everything up. This will also remove undercoat and loose hairs. After brushing and combing, I would recommend using your FURminator brush weekly to keep a healthy coat.
Now that we went over what to do.... Why do it? Well for one it will make your daily sweeping and vacuuming easier. But a dog needs its undercoat for various reasons. Undercoat actually acts as an "air conditioner." As a cool breeze comes by, the outer coat will catch that cool air, then the undercoat will keep that cool air near the skin.
Without the undercoat a dog won't have that built in AC and will be more vulnerable to the heat. This can cause your dog to more likely overheat or even get sunburn.
Now remember, if you are unsure about deshedding your own dog, talk to your groomer! Ask questions! We love your furry companion and want to help you keep them happy and healthy!
-Kyle McClellan, Groomer, Atlantic Animal Hospital & Pet Care Resort