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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I have a boxer/golden retriever/beagle mix. His coat is not even on his body. He has long hair on his ears, hind legs and chest while the rest if him is short and has a few patches of extra long wiry hair. It is almost impossible to keep the hair on his ears and belly from matting up. I want to cut his fur so that it is all one length, but he is extremely hyper so we have not done it yet. As a groomer, would you have any suggestions on how to trim him up? We will brush him and cut the mats only to have them show back up overnight.


All are good points. Thanks.


Actually, animals don't sweat because they don't have sweat glands. That's why they pant.


Sorry, dogs do not sweat! They pant.


My female pomeranian also fares much better with a short shave. With her full coat she was having so much difficulty keeping cool that her breathing sounded horrible. When I shaved her the first time, she was able to sleep and also breathe normally - no heavy panting. Poor thing finally was able to get some relief and rest! She, for one, does better without all that fur. But my male pom is just fine with his full coat. He gets it cut down once a year, but no shaving is necessary for him.


Fyi......dogs don't sweat. They don't have sweat glands in their skin like we do!



Cats and dogs do not sweat. However they do pant.


Dogs don't sweat.


She sweats? Dog's can't sweat, only their paw pads sweat, the rest of their bodies cannot sweat at all!


I had a long-haired lab/Irish Setter mix with hair 7-8 inches long. When he was about 4 years old, I started shaving him the first of the summer and then let his coat grow out as it goes into fall. I always left 1/2 inch of fur, I never shaved him to the skin. He loved it. At 70 lbs, Cherokee would lie on the concrete and let me shave him with a dog shaver. He was a totally different dog during the summers once I started shaving him (we lived in Louisiana-hot and humid).