It is summer and hot! Your beautiful dog has that nice thick coat of fur. So like a recipe for overheating. Should you have your dog shaved or their pet hair trimmed because of the weather? The answer isn’t so simple.
Dogs depending on the breed have all kinds of different coats, short haired, curly, or long and silky. Dog coats have several layers and those layers generally protect your dog from the heat in the summer and the cool in the winter. Think of your dogs fur like insulation. This insulation helps keep them cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Many dogs also have a natural shedding schedule that works with their environment to help them maintain a healthy temperature. Cutting your dogs hair in the summer can harm their natural built in cooling system.
Why a summer cut isn’t a good idea:
A shaved summer hair cut can lead to overheating because you have interfered with their natural temperature regulation. Exposing your dogs skin the sun can lead to a sunburn or skin cancer.
Exceptions to the “no cut” rule:
Some breeds of dogs have been specifically bred to have a thick coat. If your dog is one of these heavy coated breeds and you notice them struggling to stay cool in the summer a “summer cut” could be a good idea.
Some breeds that require regular haircuts are poodles and Shih Tzus.
Other conditions where a “summer cut” is a good idea:
- Dog is a full-time outside dog.
- Coat is matted.
- Dog is wet frequently.
- Your dog struggles with “hot spots”.
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Your dog will need you to help him keep his coat healthy through regular brushing. Depending on your breed and the thickness of your dog’s coat will depend how often they will need to be brushed.
A good brushing will help remove any mats or tangles in your dog’s fur, reduce their shedding and allow you to examine their skin. Most dogs love to be groomed. It is important to start this habit early in the life of your pup and train them so that they look forward to a good grooming.
Mats or tangles in a dog’s fur trap moisture from the humid summer. This can lead to irritated skin.
Your dog’s coat is an insulator. When you remove this coat your pet now has less protection from the weather. Continuously hot weather can be hard on some dogs. Make sure you provide shade, water always available and opportunities to cool down.
If you shave your dog to short you will expose their skin to the sun which can lead to sunburn and skin cancer.
Check with your veterinarian for advice on whether to summer cut or not. It may also be necessary to do this cut at a professional groomers. You do not want to trim the hair shorter than one inch or you may have exposed skin.