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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.

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samntha

my cousin has a dog like that she named him fluffy and he was white and for christmas they got a outfit at PET SMART and when it came to christmas he was santa claus LOL:O

Maltipoo mom

I have a maltipoo and he doesn't have "layers of coats" This article should address which types of dogs it is referring to. I agree with the comments on cutting the hair, my dog is miserable and panting and when he gets his haircut, he is so much better. His "coat" doesn't keep him warm in the winter either, he has to wear coats or he shivers and gets sick. There are too many breeds of dogs for this article to pertain to all of them.

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Kathy C

Come on everyone. I'm a groomer and have had dogs all my life. Ask yourself this common sense question-if you ware a fur coat in the winter, will that insulate you from the heat or make you VERY uncomfortable. It's the same with your pet. Don't be fooled by the stuff above. My long and short hair dogs are shaved every year and their coat is gorgeous in the fall. Their dandruff problem has resolved and they are cool and comfortable. Heavy fur in the summer acting as insulation is simply nonsense. Use common sense and don't fall for something that makes no sense at all. Just sayin!

Becky L

I will never understand how this "cooling effect" is supposed to work. A dogs body temp in summer is 102.2 F . I live in Alabama and humidity is also something to take into consideration. I have worked as a veterinary technician as well as in animal control and there is only a small percentage of people who own long haired dogs that actually brush them on a daily basis. There are no economic boundaries for this. I've seem very wealthy people who do not groom their dogs or take them to a groomer. Some very educated individuals who do not take care of their pets. I have shaved dogs for 20 plus years. Dogs seem relieved to get their hair shaved off. No only does it cool them, it is a matter of health and sanitation. Here in the south humidity is hard on all dogs. When you add all that hair it is a recipe for hot spots that go undetected under all that hair. Then come the maggots. Yes.... I've seen it a lot. Not to mention the flea and tick infestations. Ear infections and then you have the Matted smelly dog that no one pets. So it is a matter of health not just a pretty coat of hair.

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Hi, My twin sister and I are going to college for animation and tv/video production. We are both great at drawing, character design, and artsy stuff like that, and we're also really really good at comedy writing, and screenwriting/scriptwriting. Our question is, HOW DO YOU GET A JOB FOR ADULT SWIM? We could do any job, really, like animator, storyboard, staff writing(hopefully!),web design, or even create a show (eventually) etc. Hell, we'd work our way up from janitor if we had to-but where do you send your portfolio, or who do you call/ talk to? What are their requirements? And what are they looking for? Where is their "headquarters"(...I don't know what else to call it.) And can just any person apply, or do you need to know somebody? Thanks so much for your answers! :).

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