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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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Mike

Dale,
If your dog is sweating - something is wrong.
Dogs only sweat out there tongues and paws.

Jennifer

Dogs don't sweat. That's why they pant. As others have said, groomers aren't vets.

Michael

Dale- the groomer has a financial reason to recommend shaving. ; )

Michael

There is a reason that groomers recommend shaving, it's called income.

Anonymous

I would love to see a sweating dog, since dogs don't sweat.

AJJ

Once you start shaving the fur often doesn't grow back the same. It is better to never start.

tess

dogs don't "sweat" through their skin like people....they pant to relieve excess heat and a tad through their paws....though of course you are entitled to do as you wish with your pet.

Ellen

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

Pata

That's odd I thought dogs don't sweat.

Terry

I hope that if you shave her in winter you put a nice warm coat on her to go for her walk. I knew an idiot who forever shaved her dog right down and then made it go out with her in sub-zero temps. I'd like to see HER go out in those temps with no coat!!

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