Thursday, July 23, 2015

Pretty in Pink

When we had Brisbane shaved to help get his skin issues under control, I worried a lot about him getting sunburned. It's true that no hair means unrestricted airflow to the skin, but fur also protects a dog from the sun. Brisbane is single-coated, his hairs are all one length. Double-coated dogs have their visible outer coat and then a soft, short undercoat that can help insulate them in cold weather.
Photo by Erin Koski

In the summer, double-coated dogs are supposed to shed their undercoats out, leaving the long guardhairs to protect them from the sun. collies, huskies, and other super-hairy dogs are usually pretty comfortable in the heat provided their undercoats have been brushed out properly. Without brushing, the shed fluff bunches up next to their skin and continues insulating forever. Sometimes it starts coming out in tufts. When brushing out a dog with a very thick undercoat, it's not unusual to end up with a pile of hair bigger than the dog.

Brisbane is single-coated, so I don't have to deal with an undercoat. However, shaving him bald still left him with zero protection from the sun. The day after his haircut, we went shopping for something he could wear in the sun. I wanted something thinner than his warm jackets, and light-colored to reflect the heat. Only a couple of places in town even had dog shirts, and I found just one light-colored shirt in his size. It was on clearance for $4 at Petco.

Brisbane, of course, refused to move while wearing anything at all. I decided to limit our time in the sun instead, and passed the shirt along to a friend with a white dog that is willing to wear clothes. I think I got $4 worth of entertainment out of it.

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