Grooming Tips Should You Shave Your Pet for Summer?

Discussion in 'Health and Nutrition' started by Debbie, Mar 31, 2011.

  1. Debbie
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    Debbie New Pup

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    Should You Shave Your Pet for Summer?

    Why shaving your dog or cat this summer may not be such a great idea.
    By Wendy C. Fries
    WebMD Pet Health Feature
    Summer arrives in a blaze of heat and sun and most of us shed clothes until we're down to shorts or swimsuits. If less is more for us when temperatures spike, shouldn't it be good for our pets, too?
    Though it may seem like a no-brainer to shave your dog or cat when summer comes, does it really keep pets cooler?

    Generally, most experts recommend against shaving most pets -- though there are exceptions. Veterinarians often advise against shaving cats and dogs for a simple reason: Your pet's hair isn't like yours.
    To learn more, WebMD talked to veterinarians and groomers for their opinions on this hairy subject.
    Shaving Cats for Summer: Should You?

    A pet's coat is designed by nature to keep it cool during the summer and warm in the winter. By shaving your pet you usually interfere with this built-in temperature regulation.
    Cats, in particular, are very good at regulating body temperature and "really get no benefit from being shaved," says Mark J. Stickney, DVM, clinical associate professor and director of general surgery services at Texas A&M University's veterinary medical teaching hospital.
    Because cats are "so much smaller relative to their exposed surface area, they're just better at getting rid of extra body heat," Stickney tells WebMD.
    Cats are also almost always more mobile than dogs, so they can simply move to a shadier spot when temperatures rise.
    Shaving Dogs

    Over the centuries, humans have bred some pets -- specifically dogs -- to have thicker coats than others and these breeds can sometimes use a little help cooling off during summer's heat, says Jean Sonnenfield, DVM, a veterinarian with Georgia Veterinary Specialists in Atlanta.
    If you have a dog that has been bred for very cold climates, think breeds like Great Pyrenees, St. Bernards, Malamutes, or Huskies, consider shaving them when the mercury rises, the pros suggest. Resist shaving other breeds because not only will dogs like labs and retrievers simply get no benefit from it, they run the risk of sunburn once shaved, says Stickney, who is also a WebMD pet health expert.
    Actually, any dog can suffer sunburn, so if you do shave your thick-coated dog, be sure to leave at least an inch of hair to protect your pet from the sun's rays.
    You may also want to shave a dog that stays outside all the time, has a matted coat, and is likely to be wet often. In these circumstances, a dog can develop an unpleasant condition called myiasis -- maggots in the fur. If your dog is prone to hot spots, a summer shave may be helpful, but discuss this with your vet first.


    If You Shave Your Pet

    If your dog is one of the heavy-coated, cold-weather breeds and you plan on shaving your pooch for summer, groomers and vets offer these simple tips for shaving your pet:
    • Think about hiring a pro. Most of us have little experience grooming our dogs, and many pets can be skittish, raising the potential for painful accidents. It's a lot cheaper to take your pet to a groomer, Sonnenfield tells WebMD, than "to have to pay for a laceration repair."
    • Keep clippers cool. All it takes is a few minutes of use for clipper blades to get hot enough to burn your dog. "Take frequent breaks to let those clippers cool down," Stickney says, "and use the lubricant that often comes with them" to help clippers stay cool.
    • Leave an inch of hair. Leave at least one inch of hair when shaving your pet. This gives your pet enough coat to protect from sunburn and chilly summer nights.
    • No close shaves. Resist the temptation to shave your dog close to the skin. Not only do you raise the risk of painful sunburn, but a close shave can leave guard hair imbedded under the skin. "New hair won't grow until these ends fall out, causing irregular growth and often skin problems," says Linda Easton, an international certified master groomer.
    4 Tips to Keep Pets Cool in the Summer

    The best thing you can do for your pets when summer comes is help them keep themselves cool. To do that:
    • Never leave your pet in a parked car -- for any length of time. It gets very hot, very fast inside a parked vehicle, and that can be deadly. Just don't do it, even for a short time.
    • Offer clean, cool water.Be sure cats and dogs always have plenty of water, says Sonnenfield. On really hot days, try putting ice cubes in your pet's water bowl. Some pets really enjoy it.
    • Shelter them from the sun. The prime way dogs cool themselves is through panting. "That works best if the air around them is cooler than their body temperature," Stickney says. So be sure your pooch (and kitty) have a shady place to get out of the sun.
    • Keep pets inside when it's really hot.Your pet's normal body temperature can range between 100-103 degrees Fahrenheit. When it's that hot or hotter outside, it can be hard for pets to keep cool through panting. So on really hot days, bring cats and dogs indoors.
    • Brush your pet.Brushing your pet removes dead undercoat, helping air to circulate near the skin, keeping pets cooler. An additional benefit: "In summer months, pets can get bitten by insects and end up with moist dermatitis, a skin infection," Stickney says, but removing dead, matted hair by brushing helps skin stay drier. If you have the time and energy, brush daily.


    If your pet does overheat, act fast. Get your pet to a veterinarian right away -- it could save your pet's life.
    Signs that your pet may be overheated include problems breathing, excessive panting, drooling, weakness, stupor, and an elevated heart rate. Symptoms can also include seizures, vomiting, a temperature over 104 degrees Fahrenheit, and bloody diarrhea.

    http://pets.webmd.com/features/shaving-dog-or-cat-during-summer
     
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  2. Michele
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    Michele Canine Chat Owner Staff Member

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    If you have a short haired dog, there is absolutely no reason to shave it. Also, if your dog is outside during the day, please use a sunscreen that is safe for dogs. If the dog's ears stand up, make sure to put some of the sunscreen in the ears. The dog's belly is another area that needs sunscreen. Dogs can get sunburn just like we can.
     
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  3. Debbie
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    Debbie New Pup

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    I agree.

    Please do your research before getting any breed of dog.
    If you don't like dogs that need a lot of grooming or that shed....please look into another breed or better yet a stuffed animal. :D
     
  4. VonDoom
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    VonDoom Canine Chat Founder

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    Thats another reason i love my Doberman's :D I'm not a regular grooming kind of guy.. lol probably why i have a beard 90% of the year. ;)
     
  5. monkeys23
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    monkeys23 Pup

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    NEVER EVER SHAVE A DOUBLE COATED DOG!!

    Sorry. Its a serious irritation of mine.

    My stepdad's dog (Aussie) he had when he and my mom first started dating because he shaved him for summer. He died of heat stroke despite having all the water he could handle and irrigation ditches to swim in.

    Their coats protect them from both heat and cold. Always leave them intact and provide proper grooming, hydration, and shade.
     
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  6. monkeys23
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    monkeys23 Pup

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    Wow I just went back and read the article more carefully... way to tell people how to kill their northern breed dogs by taking away their insulating hair... Not good advice to owners with double coated dogs!! :(
     
  7. Debbie
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    Debbie New Pup

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    Hallelujah !! I would never shave any breed of dog personally.....for the very reason I bolded in your quote.
    I think people should research the breeds and if they don't like a dog that requires heavy grooming...they shouldn't get one. ;)

    Why did I just envision you as a Geico Caveman ? :p

    Back on topic....absolutely ......that's why I stick to the short haired, wash and wear types myself. ;)
    I have enough problems with my own hair......... :rofl:
     
  8. wvvdiup1
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    wvvdiup1 Big Dog

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    No, I've never shaved any of my dogs. I know with Karma molting and shedding, it is best to furmigate, brush/comb her fur, which after all that molted fur is gone, she has a beautiful coat! Besides, I don't keep her outdoors but inside where she can stay warm in the winter, cool in the summer, as well as comfortable all year round. My "puppy" has it made!:)
     
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  9. monkeys23
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    monkeys23 Pup

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    Lily is a freak. She LOVES to bask in 100+ sunshine. *shakes head* Such a weirdo....
     
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  10. wvvdiup1
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    wvvdiup1 Big Dog

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    Yeah, can't figure dogs out sometimes myself, when they want to bask in hot weather, too!:confused:
     
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  11. EmanuelJones
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    EmanuelJones New Pup

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    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!
     

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