The warmer summer months bring about a lot of changes for everyone in our family. The kids are out of school, there’s summer trips to plan and it’s getting hotter by the day. A lot of us use the warmer season to treat ourselves to a haircut to try and keep cool. If you’re one of those people, maybe that trip to the salon got you thinking about getting your dog’s hair cut. People ask me all the time if that’s necessary, and it really depends on the kind of dog you have. Shaving Fido doesn’t always mean they’ll be cooler, because believe it or not, dogs cool down with their footpads and by panting, not by having short hair. Plus, their coats are a lot different than our hair. Here are some of the other things I want you to consider before firing up the clippers.
1. How much time does your dog spend outside?
We all like to be outside, especially when it’s warm and sunny. Most dogs love laying in the sun to warm up, and that’s okay! If you’re hot, your dog is probably hotter; be conservative with time outside in hot and humid weather and take frequent breaks in the shade with fresh water. If your dog spends a significant amount of time outdoors, shaving may be a good option for them to keep them cool, but it’s not always that simple.
2. What breed of dog do you have?
The biggest factor that should go into your decision making when it comes to shaving your dog is the breed. Short-coated breeds like Pugs, Boston Terriers and Bulldogs, and double-coated breeds like Australian Shepherds, Shelties, Golden Retrievers, and Bernese Mountain Dogs should never be shaved. Shaving a dog with short hair can lead to ingrown hairs, skin infection and sunburn.
Just like there are some breeds that should never be shaved, there are some breeds that actually do need a good shave in the summer. If your dog gets a matted coat easily or gets their fur wet often, you should consider shaving them. This includes dogs with curly hair, like Poodles, Cocker Spaniels and Spanish Water Dogs. This video explains just how dangerous water under the fur of these types of dogs can be.
Of course, if you aren’t sure what kind of coat your dog has, don’t hesitate to call your veterinarian and ask.
3. Should you schedule a trip to the groomer?
If you do decide shaving is the right choice for your dog, your best bet is having a groomer do it. You probably go to a professional to get your hair done, so the same should apply to your furry friend! If, for some reason, you must shave your dog on your own, I like to give these guidelines:
- Take breaks. This keeps your dog from getting too hot or overwhelmed by the clippers and the process of shaving in general.
- Leave at least an inch of hair. Just like we humans hate getting sunburnt, so do our dogs. Leaving an inch of their coat helps prevent a case of doggie sunburn.
4. Have you considered other solves for shedding?
Again, keeping your dog cool during the summer can be done without shaving, and these tips are good to follow during all seasons, not just the summer.
- Make sure your dog has plenty of water at all times. Just like we drink more water when it’s hot out, so do our dogs.
- Give your dog plenty of shaded options to hang out in whenever they’re outside.
- Do your best to limit the amount of time your dog spends outside in extreme weather. Chances are it’s cooler inside your home than outside, even if you don’t have air conditioning.
Keeping the coat in the summer can sometimes mean more shedding. That’s why BISSELL recommends using their products that clean up after your dog and clean up your actual dog! Check out BISSELL’s Product Selector to help you find the right tools for you and your furry family’s needs.
About Dr. Marks: Dr. Natalie Marks obtained her bachelor's degree with High Honors in Animal Science from the University of Illinois in 1998, and then proceeded to obtain a Master’s in Veterinary Medicine and Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine degree with High Honors from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. She sits on the Fear Free Executive Council and is a national educator helping other private practitioners develop these techniques.