As summer is now in full swing and the days are longer and hotter, we tend to shed clothes until we are down to shorts or swimsuits. As a responsible pet owner, we want what is best for our furry friends. However, is it a good idea to shave your pet to reduce the effects of the heat? Does it really keep them cool and protected?
A pet’s coat is designed by nature, similar to the insulation for your house. It keeps them cool in summer and warm in the winter months. If you shave your pet, you’re interfering with their inbuilt temperature system which can lead to discomfort and overheating. Not only does your pet’s hair control their body temperature, it also prevents sunburn and helps protect them from skin cancer.
Cats receive no benefit from being shaved as they are extremely good at controlling their body temperature and usually have more freedom to seek shade and cool spots on hotter days. Dogs, on the other hand, tend to be more mobile and some breeds have thicker coats than most. There is no need to shave your dog, however, if they do have a thick coat, it can be a good idea to cut their coat short while still leaving about an inch of hair to protect their skin from the sun.
If you prefer to not cut your thick coated dog’s hair, remember to brush them regularly as they tend to shed more in summer to make their coats lighter. Brushing your dog’s hair along with bathing them allows for better air circulation for your pet and keeps them happier and healthier in summer!
If you do plan on shaving or cutting your pet’s hair short for summer, here are some simple tips to remember:
- Get it cut professionally – for your pet’s safety and to ensure a proper summer haircut, it is wise to use a professional groomer as they know how much hair to leave to protect your pet during the warmer months.
- Keep the clipper cool – if you do decide to cut your pet’s hair yourself, it is important to take regular breaks to keep your clippers from overheating and burning your pet.
- Leave an inch of hair – at the very least, leave an inch of hair to protect your pet from sunburn and cold summer nights.
- Never shave close to the skin – this will not only raise the risk of sunburn, it can also lead to irregular hair growth and skin problems.
Leaving your pets furry coat
For some pet owners, cutting your pet’s coat short may be a problem. If this is the case, here are some everyday tips to keep your pet cool during summer:
- Never leave your pet in a parked car – it gets extremely hot very fast inside a car in summer. Do not leave your pet in a car no matter how quick you think you will be, it can potentially be deadly.
- Never ending water – always make sure your pet has ample water. You can buy automatic refilling water bowls if your pet tends to drink a lot or even bowls that can’t be tipped over for those clumsy pets. Keep their bowls in a shady area so they’re not drinking hot water.
- Shelter – pets love to be cool and can only do so properly with shade and shelter from the sun.
- Keep pets inside during extreme temperatures – really hot days can be hard for pets to cool themselves, therefore if possible, it is best to bring them inside with you.
- Brush your pet – by doing this regularly, it removes dead undercoat and allows their coat to lighten up, keeping them cooler.
A pet’s coat is there for protection and temperature control, so talk to a vet or a groomer before you decide to do anything drastic with their hair. If you are starting to see signs of your pet overheating it is important to act quickly and get them to the Vets as soon as possible.