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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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betz

I think it all depends on the breed of dogs, every breed is different. From what I've witnessed saving a double coated dog like a Sheltie destroys their coat. It never grows back correctly, their hair goes from soft to wire.

Dianna

So very true.

betz

I think it all depends on the breed of dogs, every breed is different. From what I've witnessed shaving a double coated dog like a Sheltie destroys their coat. It never grows back correctly, their hair goes from soft to wire.

Dianna

My dog has been getting hot spots since I moved into my new house. I believe there's a variable here that wasn't at the old place. I've taken her to the vet several times and she diagnosed bites. She gave me antibiotics and creams. My dog's skin would clear up as long as she was on the antibiotics but it would get bad shortly after the medicine was through. The groomer took one look at her skin and recommended another treatment and her skin is clearing nicely. Groomers aren't vets but sometimes they think outside the medical box because they're exposed to a broad spectrum of ailments and treatments. I'm not saying they know better but, in this case, the groomer did.

pam

We have the same experience. What was the treatment?

Jean

I didn't really think about using different Vets. I have 2 adopted & 9 rescues that are now all a part of my "family". 3 are strictly indoor and 8 are in my garage (which they have now taken over and the car sits out - LOL). The 8 rarely want to go outside and if I do let them out they are in a large kennel but they prefer to be in. I love them All.

Rob Alaniz

Yes Melissa and Vets are always right because their title says so. smh

I have had persians for decades and they are in door only Cats. Please dont tell me what I KNOW works because you say so.

Rose

ALLL doctors are prone to mistakes pets or not.

clementine

With extreme heat and humidity this summer and a dog who has a wooly undercoat I can attest to the benefits of shaving as my Aussie Shepherd developed hot spots and matted fur very quickly even with grooming. The key is not shaving too close to the skin. The hot spots are almost healed with the air getting to them better and much less fur. I get the "insulating properties" of fur however it is like wearing a heavy fur coat in some respects BECAUSE THEY ARE! The advice never to shave your dog is a bit too broad. The length of the shave is important because cutting too close to the skin would be a different story.

Susan Guthrie

I have a Persian, and have always had Persians. He is an indoor only cat, and I do shave his belly periodically, so that he does not mat up. My vet says that is fine, to shave the belly and trim the butt fur. He is happy, and my life is much easier as well.

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