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Should I Shave My Dog For The Summer?

Much like washing cats, shaving dogs can quickly become a contentious topic, fraught with strong opinions. Here, though, we’re all about what’s best for the pet. So that’s our focus as we offer our careful advice.


Why Shave A Dog?


Before we discuss if you should or shouldn’t make this pretty common request of your dog groomer, let’s get into why some folks think it’s a no brainer. 


Humans don’t deal so well with heat if they’re forced to wear layers, as sweating is our primary way of cooling down. So we often get that summer cut and ditch the long sleeves to stay cool during the hottest dog days. But dogs aren’t humans (the jury might still be out here…), at least in how they deal with rising temperatures. So it takes some investigation and understanding of what’s going on at skin level and how a dog’s coat naturally operates to regulate temperature.


Dogs don’t sweat anywhere near how we do. Instead, their self-cooling efforts usually consist of panting and vasodilation. Blood is cooled through exposure to cooler air in their mouth, lungs, and exterior layers of skin. All that to say, removing a coat of hair doesn’t do for a dog what it would for us, because they aren’t sweating over the vast majority of their body. Panting in a dog is equivalent to sweating in a human. 


The Trouble With Shaving


First off, hair is the first line of defense to protect your dog’s skin. A thick coat protects from insect bites, allergens, injury from bites or scratches, insulating against the sun’s heat and warding off direct sun exposure. A dog with a shaved coat will be far more susceptible to these risk factors along with heat stroke and skin cancer. And because a shaved coat will grow unevenly it can take a long time to recover its natural structure.


In reality, a dog’s coat is remarkably capable of effective temperature control. Just like any other form of insulation, it keeps warm and cold air where they need to be. This built-in heating and cooling system warms your dog’s skin as hairs lay against their skin in winter. But during summer, when temperatures reach their highest heights, the bulk of the soft undercoat sheds, leaving mainly the guard hairs. These hairs can stand upright, allowing for maximum air flow next to your pup’s skin. This engineering feat that’s a natural part of some breeds’ fur is called a double coat, and it works in tandem with vasodilation to help cool your canine. 


When To Shave Your Dog


Admittedly, there could be reasons why shaving your dog in summer is in fact a viable option. Here are a few:


  • Your dog is older and doesn’t groom anymore
  • Your dog requires surgery, making shaving necessary
  • Lack of grooming has caused severely matted hair
  • Long-hair breeds that naturally deal with excessive matting and debris in their fur
  • Your dog has a skin disease, allergic rash, or other skin condition


Also, dog owners will tell you that sometimes, their pup clearly prefers and enjoys their annual summer cut. We can’t argue with a knowing pet parent, and if you vibe with your dog like that, then we trust you in that decision. Just be sure that your sun protection game and hydration efforts are strong, and consider leaving the shaving to a professional dog groomer.


For more timely tips and petcare must-knows, check this space. And for solid insurance coverage for your petcare business, reach out to speak with a Zinc Insurance expert today or get started with an online quote right now. Now get back to chasing squirrels and living your best life!

This blog post does not provide insurance advice and is intended for information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional insurance advice from a licensed representative. Never ignore professional insurance advice because of something you have read in this blog post. Contact your licensed representative if you have any questions about your insurance policy.