When the temperature rises above 30C, and we see our dog panting or our cat grooming to relieve himself from the heat, it is tempting to give him a hand with a shaver. After all, it is only logical to think that an animal will not suffer from the heat as much if you relieve him from his fur coat.
It is logical to all experts of anthropomorphism, who like to think that animals live (or sweat) as we do. But they don’t.
It is true that your dog’s or cat’s thick fur coat did kept him or her warm during the cold winter months, especially if your pet spends a lot of time outside. But, now that we are in August, that extra fur should be gone, as dogs usually start shedding as soon as the temperature gets warmer. If it has not, then think about grooming your pet before shaving it, as that extra dead hair is useless, and stifles air circulation instead of helping at keeping your pet cool. Instead, in the summer, brushing daily will help your pet stay cool, more than shaving.
Nature is smart. While you might think that your pet’s fur during the summer and the winter months is exactly the same, it isn’t. The hair bulb gets thinner during the summer, hence improving the air circulation, which like any summer breeze helps your pet to cool down.
But what good does that fur do in the summer?
A lot of good! The (almost) same coat that keeps your pet warm in the winter keeps him cool in the summer. The coat work as a protection barrier against the outside: It prevents the hot summer air from accessing your pet’s skin and it keep your pet’s freshness close to his body. A shaved animal is left with no protection at all, which means that all he has left to regulate his body temperature is a lot of panting to do! If you insist on shaving your animal, you should at least leave a not too thin layer of fur to protect him.
In addition, his coat protects him against the sun. Shaved animals are prone to dangerous and painful sunburns.
Your pet’s coat also protects him from mosquitos’ bites or other insects. Depending on where you live, this might be very important to keep your animal comfortable during the summer.
So we should never shave a dog or a cat?
You should never, ever shave a cat- if your intention is to help him keep cool, at least.
As for dogs, it depends on the dog’s coat.
Some breeds have a coat that grows continuously in a similar manner as our own hair. Poodles, Schnauzer and Yorkshires are popular breeds. These breeds can get a short summer cut, without risking much, as long as they are not shaved very close to the skin.
Other breeds (Huskies, Golden Retriever, etc.) have a coat that grow to a specific length (sometimes very short and sometimes very long), and then stop growing. These dogs should never be shaved, as doing so would give their fur a different texture forever as well as increase the chance of insolation, sunburns and heat strokes.
Mixed breeds like Goldendoodle are trickier. It depends on the coat predominant texture. Usually, it is safer to not shave.
And what about hot spots?
Hot spots are painful skin lesions that sometimes happen to dogs that spend a lot of time outside in the water during the summer. Shaving around the lesions is important to clean and disinfect them. Shaving is in no way a prevention technique to prevent hot spots from happening, however. Owners of dogs with sensitive skin should instead make sure that they dry their dog’s coat carefully after each swim. Shaving the fur that is supposed to protect that skin is not a good idea!
Why shaving your dog or cat this summer may not be such a great idea : http://pets.webmd.com/features/shaving-dog-or-cat-during-summer
Why you should not shave your dog for summer : http://itsthedogslife.com/2011/05/shaving-your-dog-for-summer/