Summer temperatures are regularly surpassing 100 degrees Fahrenheit. As a result, you may be considering taking your dog to the groomer to have him or her shaved. While the intention to do so is noble (after all, neither you nor I would like to wear a fur coat in the summer), following through with the idea is not. This is because human and dog physiology is very different. It’s so different, in fact, that shaving your dog could cause long-term harm to him or her.
1. We May Be Best Friends, But We’re Physiologically Dissimilar
To begin with, humans are quite impressive at temperature regulation. Put a wool sweater on in the summer, for instance. In response to the increase in heat, your body would begin to sweat profusely. The sweat would eventually evaporate, lowering your overall body temperature.
Canines, on the other hand, sweat through the pads in their paws and their tongues. Unlike humans, dogs have a two-part cooling strategy: panting and vasodilation. As Rover reports, panting provides roughly 80 percent of a dog’s cooling power. The faster the dog pants, the more cool air that comes into contact with the moist tissues inside his mouth and lungs; the moisture then evaporates, dissipating heat. While this occurs, the blood vessels in the dog’s head expand, allowing the blood to be closer to the surface. This phenomenon cools off the blood before it cycles deeper into the body.
In summary, dogs and humans may be best friends but are very different from a physiological perspective. Shaving your dog’s coat is not guaranteed to help them regulate their internal temperature.
2. Shaving Double Coat Breeds is a No-No
Many dog breeds, including Huskies and Golden Retrievers, sport a double coat. Essentially, their coat is comprised of long, stiff guard hairs and short, fluffy dense hairs. The double coat is waterproof, protective, and even insulates your dog from the cold and the heat. With the double coat, your dog doesn’t have to work as hard to stay comfortable.
When the double coat is shaved, your dog may have a greater risk of being affected by heatstroke. The pup’s coat may also take longer to recover, as the guard hairs grow much slower than the fluffy base layer. Sometimes, this can result in a “patchy” and uneven look.
Of course, there are certain circumstances where shaving a dog with a double coat is recommended. They follow:
- An older dog who needs help to self-groom
- The canine needs surgery
- The dog is suffering from skin diseases, such as hot spots or myosis
- The veterinarian recommends shaving the dog for the summer
In summary, shaving a dog with a double coat is likely to alter the way they adapt to fluctuating temperatures.
3. Shaving Your Pup May Increase His/Her Risk of Disease
You love your dog, which is why you’re probably considering shaving him or her. But if you do so, prepare to hear the words, “Your dog has skin cancer.” That’s right, shaving a dog’s protective coat makes them more susceptible to the sun. If they don’t get sunburnt, they could develop a serious disease, including skin cancer, later on in life.
Think of a bald human head at the beach in the sun. It’s practically a magnet for UV rays. When a hat is worn, however, the occupant is cooler and their head is protected from sun damage. When your dog has a coat, they have a protective layer against the harsh sun.
Additional ways to prevent your dog from skin cancer follow:
- Keep him/her inside when the sun is beating down hardest mid-day
- Use pet-specific sunblock on your dog’s nose, ear tips, and stomach (if it is hairless). Avoid human-specific brands.
In summary, you may increase your dog’s risk of developing painful conditions and life-threatening illnesses if you shave them in the summer.
4 Smart Ways to Help Your Pup Stay Cool in the Summer
There are better ways to help your pet stay cool than having them shaved at the groomers. Here are some tried-and-true ones follow:
- Make sure there is plenty of fresh, cold water for your dog to slurp up.
- Always make sure your dog has shade or shelter from the sun. Rule of thumb: if it’s hot for you, it’s hotter for them.
- Don’t leave your dog outside in hot weather. Once again, if it’s hot for you, it’s hotter for them.
- Regularly brush your dog’s coat. As DogHealth reports, a clean and fluffed coat is your canine’s best defense against the heat. Using a dog-specific brush, brush in the direction of the fur to remove the undercoat that your dog naturally sheds due to the hot weather.
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