Accessibility View Close toolbar

Should my pet get a summer haircut?

shaved dog

A summer haircut may help you feel more comfortable during hot, humid summer weather, but it won't have the same effect on your pet. In fact, cutting or shaving your pet's fur can actually compromise your furry friend's ability to remain cool.

Your Pet's Coat Provides Built-In Climate Control

Although wearing a fur coat in the summer might increase your risk of heat stroke, the same isn't true for your pets. Their coats actually provide a built-in heating and cooling system. During the winter, your dog or cat's fur offers warmth when it lays flat against the body. When temperatures soar, the individual hairs in your pet's coat stand upright, maximizing air flow.

Some breeds, such as Chow Chows, Alaskan Huskies, Sheepdogs, Golden and Labrador Retrievers, Scottish Terriers and Shih Tzus, have double coats that keep them comfortable whether it's warm or sunny or snowing and frigid outdoors. The undercoat, the layer of hair closest to the body, insulates your dog's body during the winter. During the summer, the undercoat prevents your pet from becoming too hot by keeping cooler air next to the skin.

Cutting Your Pet's Hair Isn't the Best Choice

Cutting or shaving your pet's hair interferes with your dog or cat's ability to stay cool. Although you may have the best intentions when you turn on the clippers, your pet may have more trouble regulating heat after a shave or haircut. Shaving can even affect your pet for years to come if hair doesn't grow back again after a shave or grows in an abnormal pattern. The problem is particularly harmful if your dogs' undercoat doesn't grow back completely. Without that protective layer of hair, your dog will have trouble handling both hot and cold temperatures.

Sunburn isn't normally a concern when you have a furry pet - unless you shave or cut their hair. Hair protects their sensitive skin from the rays of the sun, preventing burns and reducing the skin cancer risk. Applying sunscreen before trips outdoors is a must if your dog has thin or shaved hair.

Fur also keeps all sorts of unpleasant things from coming in contact with your pet's skin, such as allergens, insects and lawn care products. Without the protection that hair provides, your pet may be more likely to develop painful rashes or bites after spending a little time in the yard.

Better Ways to Keep Your Dog or Cat Cool

The tips can help your pet stay cool during the dog (and cat) days of summer:

  • Find Shade. Make sure your yard offers plenty of shady spaces if your dog or cat will be spending time outdoors this summer. Although a doghouse may help keep your dog warm in the winter, the small space traps heat in the summer and isn't a good shade option. If you don't have any trees in your yard, a large deck umbrella or a tarp can be used to create a little shade.
  • Offer an Ample Supply of Water. Dogs and cats need to drink more when it's hot. Replenish water bowls frequently when temperatures rise.
  • Limit Exercise During the Hottest Part of the Day. Take your dog for walks during the morning and evening when temperatures are a little cooler.
  • Know When to Bring Your Pet Indoors. If it's too hot and humid for you to spend more than a few minutes outdoors, it's also too hot for your pet. Although panting can help cool your pet, panting isn't as effective during very humid days. Young pets, old pets, and pets with short noses, such as bulldogs, may react more intensely to heat and humidity and will benefit from spending more time indoors.
  • Don't Leave Your Pet in a Parked Car. Every year local newspapers and TV stations run stories about pets that die after being left in hot cars. It only takes a few minutes for temperatures in a car to soar to unhealthy levels, even if you leave the windows cracked. If you can't take your pet to a store or restaurant, it's best to leave him or her at home.
  • Brush Your Pet Often. Brushing removes loose hairs and allows air to circulate freely through your pet's coat.

Allowing your pet's natural cooling system to do its job is the best way to keep your furry friend cool this summer. If you have a question about your pet's health or need to schedule an appointment, please don't hesitate to get in touch with us.

Sources:

Safe Bee: Should You Shave Your Dog for Summer? No Way, Vets Say, 5/22/15

http://www.safebee.com/family/should-you-shave-your-dog-summer-no-way-vets-say

Catster: Is Shaving Your Cat Okay?, 7/19/17

http://www.catster.com/lifestyle/is-shaving-your-cat-okay

Washington Post: Dogs and Cats Can Usually Deal with the Heat, but Their Owners Must Be Careful, 7/9/12

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/dogs-and-cats-can-usually-deal-with-the-heat-but-their-owners-must-be-careful/2012/07/09/gJQAlOqtYW_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.d595bf9a9275

Location

Find us on the map

Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule

Monday:

7:00 am

6:00 pm

Tuesday:

7:00 am

6:00 pm

Wednesday:

7:00 am - 12:00 pm

2:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Thursday:

7:00

6:00

Friday:

7:00 am

6:00 pm

Saturday:

8:00 am

2:00 pm

Sunday:

Closed

Closed

Testimonials

Read What Our Clients Say

  • "Thanks for the great peace of mind when I bring Oreo in . . . I know he is always getting the most technically advanced treatment that veterinary medicine has to offer! Thanks so much . . . I trust my best friend in your hands! Thanks so much for all that you have done for us!

    You guys are the best pet clinic in the area--really!"
    Steve & "Oreo"
  • "Dr. Gonzales, thanks for making my life easy when it comes to bringing Hershey in to the see you! Although, I think he may have a crush! I am convinced it's a crush . . . or those treats are doggone divine! But how could any four-legged creature resist? In all seriousness, thanks for providing Hershey and me the finest. most complete pet care available . . . with a lot of love. I have seen a lot of vets in the past and your genuine love and care is truly rare."
    Jennifer & "Hershey"
  • "Thanks to the Drs and professional staff at Pets First Veterinary Center. I feel like you all truly love what you do! Every time I come in to see you, both me and my kitten have had such a pleasant experience. Everyone is so friendly and knowledgeable--I'm really impressed! Ever since I moved to San Antonio you have made me feel so welcome to the area and to your family."
    Jack & "Jill"
  • "Thanks Dr. Gonzales for your loving and professional care for our newest family member! We appreciate you and your staffs' genuine concern for all our pets for the past 10 years. We have always felt like we have been treated as part of the Pets First Veterinary Center family. Its so reassuring to know that we don't have to worry when we leave our dog for medical treatment or a boarding stay. Thank you so much!"
    The Johnson Family & "Magic"
  • "I think the world of Dr. Wright. Not only does she and team at Pets First Veterinary Center provide the best veterinary care possible, but also unmatched personal service and of course lots of love! I trust you with my most precious posessions...and refer all my friends and family to Pets First Veterinary Center.

    Thanks so much to all of you!"
    Maya, "Amor & Abrazo"