We own a 6-month old Chow-Chow. We'd like to take him to a professional groomer now that summer is here. Are there any special precautions we should pay attention to? I've heard that some dogs have a two-layer coat and that it can be dangerous to shave both layers, is this true?
Double coated dogs (such as the Chow Chow and many others) should never be shaved unless it's for medical reasons such as a skin disease or other vet recommended procedure. A dog's double coat actually helps insulate a dog to keep him cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
Shaving a double coated dog will not only prevent a dog from keeping cool, it can actually make them overheat and more likely to get sunburn. Besides that, the fur rarely grows in the same and you end up with fur that doesn't look right and is not as soft as it was previously. Here is a diagram explaining the purpose of the double coat.
The best way to groom a dog with a double coat is to use a combination of an undercoat rake and wire comb. For our dog, Nova (an American Eskimo), the wire comb is usually good enough, but the undercoat rake can come in handy to get rid of any mats or extra dense spots. Grooming regularly (we groom Nova about once a week) makes the job very easy and only takes a little while. It also helps keep the dog cool in the summer and prevents mats from building up that prevent airflow.