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Three Reasons You Shouldn’t Shave Your Pet

Thursday, July 11, 2013 - 12:00pm
Golden retriever wearing red collar

It’s hot out there! And if your Golden Retriever or long-haired kitty seems to suffer when the mercury rises, you might feel some temptation to break out your grooming tools and give your pets a full shave-down. We get where you’re coming from.

But wait! Put down those clippers! According to experts, you’ll be doing your pet a disservice. Here’s why:

  1. 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, Senior 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.

  1. Your dog’s coat prevents your pup from getting sunburn and helps protect her from skin cancer.

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.

  1. There are better ways to manage your pets’ coats to keep them cool: trimming and brushing.

“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.

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. Stay cool out there!

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julie

Seriously? Your dog sweats? How are you leaving hair to cover the skin if you are shaving? If she has hair that's one thing. If she has fur, or a double coat she needs her hair long so the weight of it makes the hair fall out enabling the follicle to produce a new guard hair. If the old hair stubble remains in the follicle it cannot produce a new hair or may produce a deformed hair. Most of the double coated dogs never recover from a shave down. They look ridiculous because the coat comes back patchy of only the undercoat comes back. You are not doing your dog a favor by shaving it has a double coat.

Brian

Dogs do not sweat. They manage heat by panting and through the pads in their paws. They also cool by laying on a cool surface: grass, linoleum/marble floor, or dig a hole and lay down in it to cool off.

patte purcell

I TOTALLY agree with you!

PJ-animal lover

As several people have already pointed out to Dale, dogs do NOT sweat & therefore cannot cool themselves in that fashion as we humans do. They decrease their body temperature through their paws & by panting. So if your dog is too hot it would be more helpful for you to dip her paw pads in cool water or some rescues even advise sponging the paws with alcohol which evaporates more quickly 7 therefore cools more rapidly.

Angela

DUH! OF COURSE your GROOMER RECOMMENDS it!!!!
THATS HOW THEY MAKE MONEY!
THEY MAKE THE MOST $$$ IN THE SUMMER

bc so many ppl think its beneficial for heat management. do the research; it takes 3 minutes

Jessica, RVT

Dogs only sweat via panting and through the bottom of their feet. They do not have sweat glands on their body... therefore, shaving to keep them cooler just does not work in the manner that you think it does.

Joe Ratliff

I totally disagree with this article. I lost my beloved dog "Rusty" 3 years ago. For the entire 15 years of his life and the 15 years of my other wonderful dog, "Buddy", I would have them shaved every summer. It never caused them any problems and I know it not only made them more comfortable, but helped to extend their lives since they were both big dogs with long hair. Their breathing and respiration rates would drop dramatically after the hair cuts. I would also apply block out to vulnerable areas exposed to the sun and give them cooling hose showers on a regular basis.

Eva

I have an elderly Angora rabbit. I rescued him aged 8 from a shelter here in Singapore where it's really hot all year round. Since shaving him he's had a new lease of life and runs and hops about with renewed interest in life. I will continue to have his coat removed...

Willis

I also disagree somewhat with the article. I have two longhair indoor cats and I have them shaved twice every summer and intend to keep doing so. They are definitely happier, and I don't think they will get sunburned indoors! Articles such as this don't seem to address indoor pets. My cats love being shaved and any owner who can't recognize when their pets are happier should not have pets.

Darrin Buswell

You are 100% right Willis. I shave my 2 long-haired indoor cats every spring. They are are more comfortable and relaxed. Also i do not have to pester them with grooming to remove mats which neither one of them are fond of. They are both senior.

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