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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Dawnita May

I sure wish people would figure out the difference between a "shave" and a "clip".
A "shave" would remove ALL of the fur down to the skin, whereas a "clip" leaves a length of fur intact at a predetermined length. (Just an old barber bitching, but if I "shaved" you, you wouldn't have ANY hair left at all)


This article is why I don't spend my money on taking my dogs to vets. Just because you have a degree in veterinary school doesn't mean you know everything. I shave my two golden retrievers down every summer and leave there coat for winter we live in Phoenix AZ. And to not scissor mats off well I have done that too and had no problem my mother in law who is a dog groomer showed me how to do it safely. I think as long as you use common sense or take your dog to a professional dog groomer there is nothing wrong with shaving your dogs down for hot summers.


I have a welsh corgi,we live in phx az, I have her shaved every 4-5 weeks, I have been doing this for 4 years. not one problem however she is an indoor girl and long exposure to sun never occurs and that would be with or without her double coat!

Rebecca Rens

While your advice may apply to the schnauzer I am fostering, my cocker spaniel has such a dense coat that sunburn is not an issue. We are dealing with global warming and it has been hotter than ever, so I do think in Hadrians case, a shaving with leaving the ears alone is good. He gets expensive Blue Diamond dog food, Grizzly salmon oil and a lot of love. I find bits of hair from his ears around the house because he does not like to have them brushed and I am as gentle as I can be when I brush his ears.

Gloria B Rose

I have my dog cut every 6 weeks all year to keep her clean, so not to over bathe her, and have her nails cut professionally cuz I don't wan to clip her nails too close, Her bleeding just does not impress me!

Dr.Andy Mathis

Insulation is only helpful, when there is a wide temperature gradient. Like cold outside, and warm on the inside, or vice versa.

Lea Smith

Our American Eskimo was much more comfortable with a puppy cut during the summer. He would pant and act uncomfortable with his full coat.


I am too Disabled to do anything else but asked to have my cat shaved... What can you do, if hands don't work well?


I am too Disabled to do anything else but asked to have my cat shaved... What can you do, if hands don't work well?


I am too Disabled to do anything else but asked to have my cat shaved... What can you do, if hands don't work well?