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Heat Wave! Should You Shave Your Pet?

Thursday, July 19, 2012 - 11:45am

Nearly everywhere in America, this summer is a scorcher, and we know that as a responsible pet parent, you want to do everything you can to keep your best four-legged friends cool. So when you look at your Pomeranian, Golden Retriever or long-haired cat wearing a thick, fluffy coat, you might feel tempted to break out your grooming tools and give him a serious hair cut.

But hold those clippers! While you or I would hate to sport a fur coat in 100-degree weather, your pets’ fur coats are actually providing them with heat relief.

“A dog’s coat is kind of like insulation for your house,” explains Dr. Louise Murray, Vice President of the ASPCA Animal Hospital. “Insulation stops your home from getting too cold in winter, but it also keeps it from overheating in summer—and your dog’s coat does the same thing.”

Dogs’ coats have several layers, and these layers are essential to your dog’s comfort in the heat. Robbing your dog of this natural cooling system can lead to discomfort and overheating. And keeping your dog cool isn’t the only reason to leave his coat intact, Dr. Murray warns. Your dog’s coat prevents your pup from getting sunburn and helps protect her from skin cancer.

So what can you do? “It’s OK to trim your long-haired dog’s long hair, such as any hair that hangs down on his legs,” Dr. Murray says. Just never attempt to clip mats off your pet’s coat with scissors, Dr. Murray adds. And if you’ve got a long-haired kitty, leave her coat intact. Instead, brush her a little more frequently during the hot summer months.

To protect your pet from sunburn and skin cancer, save longer walks for evenings, and consider applying pet-specific sun block to thinly covered areas like the bridge of your dog’s nose, the tips of his ears and his belly, Dr. Murray suggests, noting that pets with thin coats, as well as those with white or light-colored coats, are especially at risk for sun damage.

Of course, pet parents should remember to keep pets inside with plenty of water during hot days—hydration is key! For more important information on summer pet care, visit our Hot-Weather Tips.

Comments

Comments

Lori

I agree with you too. I have a 7 year old Border Collie/Australian Shepard mix and I've had her shaved down the last few summers...sometimes 3 times in a summer. She's happier, I'm happier with less hair floating around. I've had groomers say that it may not grow back the same. Who Cares I tell them. I'm not entering her in a beauty contest...but guess what. it always grows back the same. Don't believe everything you read. We know what our dogs like.

Anonymous

no... she is laying around to regulate temp...she is sitting in her own AC, that u then shave off. she doesnt lay around bc she cannpt stay cool

Melissa Dore

My Golden Retriever has/had the thickest coat my groomer had ever seen and we made the decision to give him a hair cut this summer - not shaving, but cutting. He developed some health problems, and went through an extensive list of diagnostic tests some of which required his belly to be shaved down to the skin. Turns out he has Cushings Disease, and his hair is not growing back . . . he looks ridiculous with that bare belly and bald patch on his leg from all the blood tests. Hope he gets some of it back by winter!

Sarah

I totally agree with Steve's comment. Carl, Global warming is a fact but whether man-caused or not is still a subject that is being debated by scientists. The part of CO2 that man is responsible for in the environment is less than .1% All this nonsense is causing pricing to rise for many products and all for not. So we make it impossible through regulations to use our own coal and guess what? We aren't using it but China is. So we export our natural resource to China where they don't follow any EPA regulations and use our cheap resource. How does that help our environment. So stick to dogs and forget trying to link global warming with dogs coats.

Mony

Well said Linda ;)

Stan

Many of the world`s climate scientists DO NOT subscribe to the current PC notion of global warming. There is much scientific evidence that the planet is actually on a COOLING trend. You might want to redirect your thoughts to your dog`s breed, age, health, diet, lifestyle & micro-climate.

RoyW

Actually, 97% of the experts in the field do agree on global warming. No reputable / knowledgable expert who works in the field believes that cooling is going on.

Troll.

Jeremy

That is not an objective source you cite.

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Climate_Depot

Richard

Do you watch Fox News to get your information on Global "Cooling"? You are sadly misinformed: Global Warming is a reality. Domestic animals and wildlife are well aware of this, but unfortunately, flat earth science and their followers believe otherwise.

Dianna

You overstate. A minority of climatologists - a very small minority - don't "believe" in global warming. The rest do based on scientific studies including the studies done at Hawaii. The only real question is whether or not this is a man-made trend (as the rapid increase in change suggests) or a natural trend as has happened in the past. Although warming trends have happened, there is no evidence that one has ever happened as quickly as the present one.

My springer spaniel blows all the time, losing her undercoat and regrowing it year round but she also goes through 2 really big sheddings a year. It never occurred to me to shave her, it seems like she's regulating her temperature all by herself.

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