Skip to content

    Healthy Pets

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Should You Shave Your Pet for Summer?

    Why shaving your dog or cat this summer may not be such a great idea.
    By
    WebMD Pet Health Feature
    Reviewed by Audrey Cook, BVM&S

    Summer arrives in a blaze of heat and sun, and most of us shed clothes until we're down to shorts or swimsuits. If less is more for us when temperatures spike, shouldn't it be good for our pets, too?

    Though it may seem like a no-brainer to shave your dog or cat when summer comes, does it really keep pets cooler?

    Recommended Related to Pets

    Pet Medical Insurance

    Twenty years ago, if you suggested getting a pet health insurance policy, most pet owners would have taken it as a joke. Not anymore. As veterinary treatments have gotten more advanced and sophisticated -- and vet bills for serious conditions can quickly add up to thousands of dollars -- buying pet health insurance is something to consider. Don Klingborg, DVM, is associate dean for extension and public programs and director of the Center for Continuing Professional Education at the University...

    Read the Pet Medical Insurance article > >

    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.

    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.

    Shaving Dogs

    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 with a very thick coat who seems to suffer from the heat, some veterinarians suggest shaving them when the mercury rises. Resist shaving shorter-haired breeds because not only do they get no benefit from it, but they also run the risk of sunburn once shaved, says Stickney.

    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.

    1 | 2 | 3

    Today on WebMD

    Puppy digging hole
    Are you putting your pet at risk?
    Cat looking at fish
    Things we can learn from our pets.
     
    dog and kitten
    27 ways pets help your health.
    tick
    Get the facts about prevention.
     
    Woman holding puppy
    Article
    Sad dog and guacamole
    Slideshow
     
    Siamese cat eating from bowl
    Slideshow
    cat on couch
    Evaluator
     
    Cat People vs Dog People Slideshow
    Slideshow
    Kitten playing
    Quiz
     
    Orange cat nuzzling woman
    Slideshow
    German shephard reading a book
    Quiz