Pantops Pet Salon
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Pantops Pet Salon & Spa
Charlottesville's Professional Dog Grooming

It's what we do -- it's all we do.

(434) 293-2424
Fax: (434) 293-8231
504 Pantops Center
Charlottesville, VA 22911

Brush Out, Short Cut or Something in Between?

Monday, April 9th, 2007 by Mike Cronk

Many dog owners who normally don’t get short hair cuts for their dogs (i.e. 1/4-1/2 inch all over) may wonder if shaving the hair off, brushing it out, or trimming it will keep their pets cooler in the summer.¬† To demonstrate these options, we are using the Golden Retriever as a model.

Click on the link below to find out the advantages to each of these grooms and pictures to match!


We do a brushout on all full-coated dogs whether they’re getting “just a bath” or moderate trimming. A brushout is more than just a quick pass with a slicker brush! There have been advances in grooming tool technology over the past few years that allow us to remove quite a bit of a dog’s undercoat. Using these tools, we are able to reduce shedding, make hair management easier, and give your dog better air circulation.

This is a labor intensive and very thorough process (even for a little Pomeranian!) subsequently it costs more than “just a bath,” especially for those XXL-size double-coated dogs! Even dogs with very short hair, like the Labrador Retriever, have reduced shedding after undergoing this process. Because our baths always include a brushout when necessary, our prices may be higher than our competitors but with us you’ll always get your money’s worth in hair removed–just look at Candi “Deane!”

Breeds such as Golden Retrievers, Border Collies, Austrailian Shepherds, Lhasa Apsos, Shih Tzus, Newfoundlands, etc always benefit greatly from a good brushout and bath every six to eight weeks while a short haircut would not be all that much more beneficial in staying cooler.

 Click here for a video and more detailed explanation of a brushout and the tools we use for this groom.

A July in Virginia is hard on all dogs, regardless of coat length and proper precautions (adequate shade, water, and low activity) are all necessary.

The Short “Utility” Haircut

The biggest benefit to the short haircut is low maintenance which may be quite attractive to owners of very active dogs. If your pet has plenty time in a yard, on a farm, or in ponds he’ll be picking up hitchhickers, nettles, mud and the like which can wreck havoc on a coat and require constant bathing and brushing.

We give many dogs full body clips which, once home, require just a little hosing and a towel dry to make them hospitable after a romp in the woods or a swim in the pond. How much of a difference does it make in keeping your pet cooler? Not much if you keep your thick and long-coated breeds thinned out with frequent brushing. But if your dog’s coat is left alone to retain the undercoat it will become dense and matted, therefore heat will be trapped and they’ll be uncomfortable, to say nothing of the skin problems that can occur as well. I tend to think short “utility” haircuts help more with maintenance than cooling, while brushouts leave a coat to maintain but allow for some cooling as well. How short does a utility cut go? Take a look at Daisy “Oakes:”

Something in Between: Summer Cut

If you want your dog to maintain the appearance of the breed, but really can’t deal with all that hair, a “summer cut” is the perfect solution. After thoroughly brushing out your dog, we trim all the feathering on the legs, chest, rear and tail to about half of the original length–less hair means less maintenance and yet your Golden still looks like a Golden instead of like a yellow Lab.

Zeke “Schnieder” loves his coat but didn’t want to be bringing home hitchhikers:

So Zeke came to us for a good summer cut:

The Decision

If you’re on the farm and don’t want to do the daily maintenance required to keep up that coat then the short utility cut may be for you. If you want to keep the full length of the coat while keeping your pet cool in summer, then add a professional grooming every 6-8 weeks to your weekly brushing schedule. Want it both ways? Compromise and get our “summer cut”–a good brushout and trim but not too much!

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