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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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Anonymous

Then You need to find more knowledgable and experienced groomers, cause Their dead wrong. Shaving fur bearing dogs not only removes natural protection, it irritates and destroys their follicles. Their coat can change texture, or not grow back at all, even if they've been shaved for years with no issue. I try to talk my clients out of shaving their pets.

Just get them washed more frequently, and keep them brushed. That will allow them to keep cool properly.

Lisa

My cat Tiger is part yak it seems. All 3 cats go in and out as the chose. He cannot clean his 6" long-haired fur with a 2" tongue. I call it a shave-down, but they use a #3 clipper so maybe its not what you mean by shaving. He is far happier when he can clean himself fully. I have to say I disagree for cats with long hair.

Marla

Of course the groomers would say that, it's their job!

Carolina

dogs do NOT sweat! They do not have the same body cooling system that we humans have! Do you pant? we are different biologically and it is important you talk to a vet rather than project your own human ness onto your dog.

JJ

Dogs don't sweat, Dale. That's why they pant.

Carolina

dogs do NOT sweat! They do not have the same body cooling system that we humans have! Do you pant? we are different biologically and it is important you talk to a vet rather than project your own human ness onto your dog.

Kaye Mitchell

I worked at a well know cancer hospital in Houston. Their department of Experimental Animals would diagnose and treat cancer in pets as a part of their research. My friend took her dog and the diagnosis was: "Cancer of the sweat glands." The cancer was not in his feet.

Lisa

Right on, as I am one of the groomers, I do NOT shave them skinned, sigh we are not that stupid. my cats and dogs loves it!

Marcie

I am also a groomer & I will clipper pets with guard combs... I do not like shaving them to the skin unless it's absolutely necessary! And if you are not a groomer, do not pretend to know what thay are supposed to say!

Betsy's

Right on Marcie! We might not be Vets but we are educated in our field and we work with animals day in and day out and we get to know them and their coats. Many times I have sent my clients to Vets to have them checked because I suspected a medical problem and that was in fact what they had. We as groomers often see animals much more often then their doctors and pick up things about them that their parents miss.

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