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Heat Wave! Should You Shave Your Pet?

Thursday, July 19, 2012 - 11:45am

Nearly everywhere in America, this summer is a scorcher, and we know that as a responsible pet parent, you want to do everything you can to keep your best four-legged friends cool. So when you look at your Pomeranian, Golden Retriever or long-haired cat wearing a thick, fluffy coat, you might feel tempted to break out your grooming tools and give him a serious hair cut.

But hold those clippers! 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, 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. Your dog’s coat prevents your pup from getting sunburn and helps protect her from skin cancer.

So what can you do? “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.

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.

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.




I totally agree with Steve's comment. Carl, Global warming is a fact but whether man-caused or not is still a subject that is being debated by scientists. The part of CO2 that man is responsible for in the environment is less than .1% All this nonsense is causing pricing to rise for many products and all for not. So we make it impossible through regulations to use our own coal and guess what? We aren't using it but China is. So we export our natural resource to China where they don't follow any EPA regulations and use our cheap resource. How does that help our environment. So stick to dogs and forget trying to link global warming with dogs coats.


Well said Linda ;)


Many of the world`s climate scientists DO NOT subscribe to the current PC notion of global warming. There is much scientific evidence that the planet is actually on a COOLING trend. You might want to redirect your thoughts to your dog`s breed, age, health, diet, lifestyle & micro-climate.


Actually, 97% of the experts in the field do agree on global warming. No reputable / knowledgable expert who works in the field believes that cooling is going on.



That is not an objective source you cite.


Do you watch Fox News to get your information on Global "Cooling"? You are sadly misinformed: Global Warming is a reality. Domestic animals and wildlife are well aware of this, but unfortunately, flat earth science and their followers believe otherwise.


You overstate. A minority of climatologists - a very small minority - don't "believe" in global warming. The rest do based on scientific studies including the studies done at Hawaii. The only real question is whether or not this is a man-made trend (as the rapid increase in change suggests) or a natural trend as has happened in the past. Although warming trends have happened, there is no evidence that one has ever happened as quickly as the present one.

My springer spaniel blows all the time, losing her undercoat and regrowing it year round but she also goes through 2 really big sheddings a year. It never occurred to me to shave her, it seems like she's regulating her temperature all by herself.


Most of the worlds scientists use scientific methods, not belief or political opinion have established that global warming or climate imbalance is indeed a reality and that our carbon emitting contributions indeed have an impact on the steadily rising temperatures of the ocean and the receding of the polar ice. The petroleum industry which stand to lose the most, because it is a principal contributor to this has been spending or investing a lot of $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ not in counteracting the effects as much as public opinion. This campaign is obviously successful in its goal but is doing nothing to rectify the problem. Even those who pooh poohed it in the past recognize the reality now, but are blaming it on natural cycles. Talk about PC, that is PC of the oil industry. The very same ill-logic which inspired late President Reagan to paint the passive solar panels Carter placed on the roof from black to white (to look better) and former Pres. George Bush sr to remove altogether because he feared it would insult his oily friends (and it probably didn't work well painted white anyways). It lay in the celler till installed on the roof of a college in Maine, painted back to black and heats the water in the dormitories. Really? Really!


I am a scientist and have several scientist colleagues and all agree that the warming trend and unusual weather patterns that we are experiencing are indeed part of a normal earth climate cycle that has happened in the past and will happen in the future. I do agree that the petroleum beast is rampant, although perhaps not causing as much change to climate as it does damage to our pocket books and environment (ex. oil spill in gulf).

Kris Aaron

Sharing my pet peeve here. I dislike the term PC. What in the world does it mean anyway? When applied to a comedian, let's say, as in "he's not PC" and usually said with admiration, it means he spouts racist anti woman and/or anti gay rhetoric or has a potty mouth. He uses lots of dirty words and is a nasty guy, in other words, a grown up version of the school yard bully. "The current PC notion of global warming...", what does that mean? I think people are going to have strong feelings about something that they believe could be the end of the world. It has nothing to do with being politics. It's akin to living in 1935 and having strong feelings about Adolf Hitler. My verdict: it's an overdone word and intellectually lazy, as well.
Oh, and I did shave my furry black Persian mix and he couldn't be happier. His outdoor visits are brief, so no chance of sunburn.