July 14, 2017

Heat Wave Approaching! Should You Shave Your Pet?

Summer is in full swing, and temperatures are heating up nationwide. 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 furry dog or long-haired cat wearing a thick, fluffy coat, you might feel tempted to break out your grooming tools and give him a serious buzz cut.

Hold those clippers!

While you or I would hate to sport multiple layers in 100-degree weather, your pets’ fur coats are actually providing them with heat relief. Acting like insulation, a dog’s coat keeps him from getting too cold in the winter, but also keeps him from overheating in the summer.

Our pets’ coats have several layers that are essential to their comfort in the heat. Robbing your dog or cat of this natural cooling system can lead to discomfort, overheating and other serious dangers like sunburn or skin cancer.

So what can you do?

Don’t feel frightened about grooming your pet. It is ok to give your long-haired dog or cat a “summer cut”—trimming their long hair may make it more manageable. However, it is best to allow a professional groomer to perform the haircutting, and never shave down to the skin or try to cut the hair yourself with scissors.

If you prefer not to cut your pet’s hair, that’s fine. Dogs with thick coats naturally shed, so they have lighter coats in the summer. Remember to regularly brush your dog’s fur and bathe them frequently, as clean, brushed fur allows for better air circulation.

Pet parents should also remember to provide a shady area when taking your pet outside, and to provide plenty of water during hot days—hydration is key! For more important information on summer pet care, check out the ASPCA’s Hot-Weather Safety Tips.