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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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Emmabeth

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

Helen

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).

Hannelore

agree

Rose

agreed :-)

Buddy Rhodes

I appreciate that you believe you're helping your dog, you obviously love her very much. But you're ascribing to her some very human states of emotion that are unlikely. Firstly, dogs don't sweat, they have no sweat glands. It's why they pant. Dogs are not oncomfortable on a hard floor. That's a very human assumption. She likes the feel of the floor, b/c it's cool. The fact that she sleeps in her bed when you've shaven her could actually be b/c she's seeking a level of comfort you've taken away from her. Please consult a trusted vet and perhaps even a behaviorist before continuing this practice of shaving her.

Julie A Woods

Dogs do not sweat. They pant when hot.

lb

2 of my 4 dogs get shaved down regularly, they see 2 vets, one for holistic and one for traditional treatment, both vets recommend and commend this solution for their comfort in our very hot and humid climate. They are not bald they do not get sunburned and they are 11 and 13 years old.

Marla

Stupid people do not take advice. They already know everything. I have heard that dogs and cats' coats keep them insulated. They do not sweat like we do. Wild animals do not get shaved. There must be a reason.

Mona

Wild animals do not stay in air-conditioned homes therefore they do not become acclimated to the cooler air-conditioned temperatures like many dogs do. It's hard to compare wild animals to domesticated pets, many of whom are treated like another member of the family. There could be a possibility that today's dog suffers more in the heat because they are use to stable temperatures year round and overheat easier when outside even for short periods of time.

Freeway

Dogs don't have the ability to sweat.

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