Monty's behavior mystified his owner, Karen Mitchell. The 7-year-old dog -- a mix of pit bull, boxer, and pointer -- was long housebroken and rarely had indoor accidents.
So when Monty began urinating in odd places, Mitchell, 43, at first attributed the dog's behavior to the stress of big life changes. Mitchell and her husband had recently welcomed a new baby daughter and had moved into a new house in Alameda, Calif.
But when the urinating didn't stop, a worried Mitchell finally took Monty to the...
Generally, most experts recommend against shaving most pets -- though there are exceptions. Veterinarians often advise against shaving cats and dogs for a simple reason: Your pet's hair isn't like yours.
To learn more, WebMD talked to veterinarians and groomers for their opinions on this hairy subject.
Shaving Cats for Summer: Should You?
A pet's coat is designed by nature to keep it cool during the summer and warm in the winter. By shaving your pet you usually interfere with this built-in temperature regulation.
Cats, in particular, are very good at regulating body temperature and "really get no benefit from being shaved," says Mark J. Stickney, DVM, clinical associate professor and director of general surgery services at Texas A&M University's veterinary medical teaching hospital.
Because cats are "so much smaller relative to their exposed surface area, they're just better at getting rid of extra body heat," Stickney tells WebMD.
Cats are also almost always more mobile than dogs, so they can simply move to a shadier spot when temperatures rise.
Over the centuries, humans have bred some pets -- specifically dogs -- to have thicker coats than others and these breeds can sometimes use a little help cooling off during summer's heat, says Jean Sonnenfield, DVM, a veterinarian with Georgia Veterinary Specialists in Atlanta.
If you have a dog that has been bred for very cold climates, think breeds like Great Pyrenees, St. Bernards, Malamutes, or Huskies, consider shaving them when the mercury rises, the pros suggest. Resist shaving other breeds because not only will dogs like labs and retrievers simply get no benefit from it, they run the risk of sunburn once shaved, says Stickney, who is also a WebMD pet health expert.
Actually, any dog can suffer sunburn, so if you do shave your thick-coated dog, be sure to leave at least an inch of hair to protect your pet from the sun's rays.
You may also want to shave a dog that stays outside all the time, has a matted coat, and is likely to be wet often. In these circumstances, a dog can develop an unpleasant condition called myiasis -- maggots in the fur. If your dog is prone to hot spots, a summer shave may be helpful, but discuss this with your vet first.