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Summer Grooming: To Shave or Not to Shave Long-Haired Dogs?

If you’re a dog owner planning to take your beloved pup to a private groomer, pet boarding facility, animal hospital or dog day care centers for grooming during the sweltering summer months, here’s an important tip for you. While groomers generally strive to meet clients’ specific haircut preferences for their dogs, it’s essential to consider the well-being of your furry friend, especially if you’re a dedicated dog lover.

Many dog owners become concerned about their furry friends getting too hot in the summer due to their long coats. This concern often leads them to think that shaving their dog’s fur would make them cooler. However, let’s take a closer look at the example of a golden retriever with a “lion cut”.

If we look at the image, we can see that the area of the dog’s chest and head, which still has fur, registers a temperature of 24 degrees Celsius (75 degrees Fahrenheit). On the other hand, the area on the dog’s back without fur shows a higher temperature of 30.8 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit). This contrast raises a question: Why does the fur-covered area appear cooler?

From a veterinarian’s perspective, fur serves several important functions, with thermal regulation being one of them. Consider various animals in the wild with longer coats, such as wolves, cats, rabbits, raccoons, foxes, and bobcats. None of these animals get shaved during the summer months. Yet, they manage to stay cool. How is this possible? The answer lies in the fact that their fur plays a crucial role in regulating their internal body temperature.

Therefore, it is important to reconsider the idea of shaving your dog. While a simple shave may seem like a quick solution, it can have unintended consequences. Shaving a dog’s coat can ruin its natural insulation and leave them vulnerable to both sunburn and overheating. Instead, trust in the natural design of your dog’s fur, which helps them stay comfortable in different weather conditions.

If you or someone you know is contemplating shaving their dog, it is advisable to consult with a veterinarian before making a decision. They can provide guidance on appropriate grooming techniques and offer alternative ways to keep your dog cool during the summer months. Remember, your dog’s coat is more than just aesthetics; it serves a vital purpose in maintaining their overall well-being.