Should You Shave Your Pet for Summer?

Dog Being Groomed

In the northern hemisphere of our world, it won’t be long before the lazy, hazy days of summer are upon us.

We shed our heavy winter coats and clothes and wonder about our pets shedding their winter coats. Of course for our pets, shedding might mean shaving them. Shaving them is something to take seriously as there are pros and cons.

Most professionals tell us that our pet’s coat keeps them warm in winter and cool in summer. They have built-in temperature regulators and their coats insulate against hot or cold weather.

But some pets are bred for cold weather and life in a cold climate. They have thick fur and heavy undercoats. These pets may benefit from a careful clipping best done by a professional groomer.

Dogs, particularly those that are outdoors and have thick fur, can become dirty, matted, wet and smelly. Clipping these dogs can help eliminate those problems. It’s also easier to check for fleas and ticks. Just be sure to leave at least 2 inches of fur, making sure all skin is covered and will not feel ill effects from the sun. Be aware that with shaving there is a risk of ingrown hairs and irregular grow back.

If you decide to shave your dog, choose the proper clippers for the job. Clippers tend to get hot quickly with use, so take time out for them to cool down. You don’t want any burns.

Cats in particular fare better in hot weather. They are automatically less active and always manage to find the coolest spot available. It isn’t necessary to shave them as doing so can cause skin problems. The only time a cat may need to be shaved is if a skin condition already exists.

Try using the Furminator – it rids the coat of dead hair keeping your pet looking good and keeping cool.

Walk your dog early in the morning before the sun is fully up and later in the evening when the temperature cools down on very hot days. Change your pet’s water several times a day to keep it cool and fresh. If your pet is outdoors, make sure there are shady areas to escape direct sunlight.

Brush your pet often, daily if possible. This will help remove loose hairs and keep your pet cooler. If you like, you can cut hairs that cover eyes, around the mouth and the anal area or any other areas that can be annoying, doing so very carefully.

There is another aspect of shaving your pet that most of us don’t think about. We know that our pets have complicated feelings so consider this when you think about shaving your pet. I had a sheltie mix and was concerned about so much fur in the heat of summer. So off we went to the groomer and had her shaved. Poor Crackers walked out of the groomer’s looking as though she was ashamed and uncomfortable. Needless to say, that was the first and last time she had a haircut.

There is special sunscreen made especially for pets. But check with your veterinarian before using any product on your pet.

Have a happy, safe summer!

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