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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!

Comments

Comments

Bridgette

I agree, the article says it is OK to trim but not shave their hair off. I certainly as a person would get a second opinion for myself if I or my children were ill, but I would not take medical advice from my hair stylist lets say if I had a lesion or baldness it would be time to see a doctor at some point. I own a Siberian husky. I brush her often with a wire brush and take her out for long walks very early in the AM and at night after I get off. While I am away I have a constant feeder and water bottle. I always fill the water bottle at night and keep in in the freezer until I get ready to leave for the workday. That way she has cold water dripping down from the ice . At the end of our walks when I am off I try to go by the beach and let her drink and drench herself in the boardwalk shower used to wash your feet. My apartment is air conditioned, but when it was not she has a small fan in her favorite areas where she relaxes as well. She also loved ice chips and crushed ice. I keep it at a minimum to prevent her teeth from becoming damaged and never give whole ice cubes. She also takes a cool shower in the tub a couple of days a week during the really hot temperatures as I do. You have to weigh your options and not ignore professional advice. I thought at first to have her shaved down to prevent her from overheating and because of the shedding, but I was enlightened that the coat naturally sheds to keep her cool and the more dense coat will grow in winter to keep her warm, which explains the sudden extreme shedding, but I manage with a good vacuum for the furniture and floors, and I vacuum her beds and lounging pillows everything even the window sills ceiling etch before mopping with a good natural cleaning solution. after the brush and bath/shower not before. I DO NOT EVEN OWN A BROOM ANYMORE THEY ARE USELESS!!! I also have a very large training crate that I utilize so that after she is done with her daily routine she is confined in a easily maintainable comfortable living space where I do not have to constantly worry about hair in everything where before I could barely eat without seeing hair flying everywhere and trying to keep it out of my food. This was another thing I was apprehensive about because I wanted her to roam freely and sleep in the bed and so on, but it turned out that the crate was the best thing that ever happened in our house. She is about 30 pounds now but I purchases a crate for a 90 pound dog where she can play and move comfortably and still interact as she can see and be part of the family as well as not ruin furniture and hard wood floors and rugs while I am at work. I do not have to worry about chewing on wires and bad behaviors and my house is still clean when I get in while she is still in a good mood and in comfort. When buying a crate consider that your dog may be still growing and make a wise choice to get crate that will accommodate that growth.

Rose

agreed

Magic

I think the words need defining. Shaved is what a show poodle wears in the ring, trim is removing excess hair. Shaving can cause razor burn, skin damage and sun burns. Trimming makes the coat more wearable. When you go to get your hair done, do you want a shave head or a trim? Don't blame the groomer if you use the wrong words!

Dianna

It seems a lot of people are confusing shaving and trimming. I get my sheltie trimmed but never ever shaved. Yes, she sleeps on the ceramic tile but she does that year-round and, yes, she's a little slow moving when she gets up but she's older and already has arthritic problems. When she sleeps on the carpet it's the same result. She reacts to long periods of inactivity the same as anyone with arthritis would. She gets her paws and private areas groomed and her nails clipped, that's enough.

Creash

No, but vets are animal medical doctors. A groomer...not even close. That's like saying that your manicurist said it's ok to coat your fingernails with gasoline, and your doctor says it will destroy your nails, and you say "well, you're not a manicurist." your logic is poor at best.

betz

I think it all depends on the breed of dogs, every breed is different. From what I've witnessed saving a double coated dog like a Sheltie destroys their coat. It never grows back correctly, their hair goes from soft to wire.

Dianna

So very true.

betz

I think it all depends on the breed of dogs, every breed is different. From what I've witnessed shaving a double coated dog like a Sheltie destroys their coat. It never grows back correctly, their hair goes from soft to wire.

Dianna

My dog has been getting hot spots since I moved into my new house. I believe there's a variable here that wasn't at the old place. I've taken her to the vet several times and she diagnosed bites. She gave me antibiotics and creams. My dog's skin would clear up as long as she was on the antibiotics but it would get bad shortly after the medicine was through. The groomer took one look at her skin and recommended another treatment and her skin is clearing nicely. Groomers aren't vets but sometimes they think outside the medical box because they're exposed to a broad spectrum of ailments and treatments. I'm not saying they know better but, in this case, the groomer did.

pam

We have the same experience. What was the treatment?

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