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Should you shave dogs to keep them cool?

Updated on December 15, 2011

INTRO

Shaving your dogsĀ has recently become a very controversial topic. Here I will discuss many of the factors that you should consider before deciding whether or not to shave your dog for the summer. Many people support the idea that dogs' fur keeps them insulated from both the cold and the heat and so should never be shaved; however, this does not stop thousands of pet owners every summer from doing so.

Golden Retriever
Golden Retriever

THE MYTHS

Dogs' Coats will not Grow Back the Same:

FALSE. One of the most common "myths" is the belief that after having your dog shaved, their coat will not grow back the same way. This myth is especially prevalent when referring to dogs with heavy or thick coats. This is logical enough to seem like it could happen, but the only problem is that these beliefs are not backed by any thorough research or evidence. As far as we know, shaving is not known to damage or alter your dogs coat, other than having to wait up to a year for it to grow back completely, depending on the breed. So, in short, unless told specifically by a veterinarian about your breed, dogs can grow back their coats to be just as beautiful as they were to begin with.

A Dog's Fur is Made to Protect the Dog from both Cold and Heat:

TRUE. A dog's fur is made to insulate the dog from extreme temperatures, especially in heavy-coated breeds;however, that does not mean that shaving will not help keep your dog cool. If you live in a hot and humid climate and have a breed with a thick coat, it may be a good idea to shave them. The increased air flow across their back can cool them just as well (if not better) as the fur insulator, and they will feel much more comfortable without the extra fur.

Dogs Only Sweat through their Paws and by Panting:

TRUE. Dogs do not sweat in the same way that humans do because the sweat would not normally be able to evaporate off of their skin through their fur. This DOES NOT, however, mean that shaving just the body of your dog will not help in their cooling off. As I mentioned before, the increased air blowing across their skin will help cool them and keep them comfortable.

My Dog Could get Sunburned if I Shave off his/her fur:

TRUE. This is one of the only true dangers of getting your dog shaved. A dog's fur is made to protect them from the sun's harmful rays, so when they get shaved, they become more likely to get sunburned just like a human would. Dogs are affected similarly to humans, and in some cases, dogs have been known to develop skin cancer. If your dog spends large amounts of time outdoors, especially if there is little shade, then this would be one of the reasons you should not shave your dog.

PROS AND CONS OF SHAVING YOUR DOG

Pros-

  • your dog will stink less if they tend to get odors trapped in their long fur
  • fleas can be easier to see
  • shaving can reduce shedding (although not eliminate it)
  • dog will feel cool and comfortable in summer heat, but many will continue to pant if it is hot outside
  • it is much easier to clean or groom your dog after shaving, especially if they had long fur

Cons-

  • sunburn is more likely
  • fleas and mosquitoes can reach your dog's skin more easily
  • your dog may look funny with the typical "lion cut" (that means that they shave everything except the head, feet, and tail)
  • it can take a while for the fur to grow back depending on the breed


If you have decided that you would like to shave your dog to help keep them cool and clean, then this link may be helpful: How to shave a dog


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      Anonymous 7 years ago

      Thanks dude! Very useful and it cleared up a lot of my doubts about having my dog shaved. I had been wanting to shave her for a while now and I feel like it would be good for her too.

    • bigdogacb profile image
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      bigdogacb 6 years ago from United States

      you're welcome, glad to help. I hope you and your dog love the new haircut

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      anon 4 years ago

      thanks for the info. someone once told me that i should shave my dog but it wouldn't be a good idea since we live in germany, and our summers are short

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      Sara 4 years ago

      Pretty good

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