When temperatures reach above 80 degrees, please refrain from shaving your long-haired dog. According to Dr. Rob Ballinger of Veterinary News Network, “From our human perspectives, higher temperatures mean less and lighter clothing. Unfortunately, this is probably not true for the majority of our pets.”
While we humans sweat and that sweat evaporates, our bodies cool down. Dogs don’t have the same cooling system. According to Dr. Ballinger, a dog’s main cooling comes from panting. “As the moisture evaporates off of the tongue of the panting dog, the blood is cooled and this cooled blood is circulated to keep the pet comfortable,” he explains. “A well groomed, clean hair coat will actually insulate dogs from the heat and help to keep them cooler.”
Dr. Ballinger also points out that shaved dogs have a greater chance of getting sunburn—especially if they are lightly pigmented breeds.
Keep Your Pet’s Coat Clean
If your pet’s fur is dirty or matted, then the protective function of a full coat can be lost. “However, in some cases due to age or lack of mobility, your veterinarian may recommend shaving certain areas (like the perineal region) in long-haired breeds to facilitate keeping the area clean and free from maggots,” says Dr. Ballinger.
If you have any other questions about shaving your pet, ask your veterinarian. To learn more about pet health, visit VNN’s library of helpful videos.
Michele C. Hollow writes about pets and wildlife. She owns the popular animal advocacy site Pet News and Views, and is the author of The Everything Guide to Working with Animals. You can follow her @MicheleCHollow.