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Should You Shave Your Pet for Summer?

Why shaving your dog or cat this summer may not be such a great idea.

4 Tips to Keep Pets Cool in the Summer

The best thing you can do for your pets when summer comes is help them keep themselves cool. To do that:

  • Never leave your pet in a parked car -- for any length of time. It gets very hot, very fast inside a parked vehicle, and that can be deadly. Just don't do it, even for a short time.
  • Offer clean, cool water. Be sure cats and dogs always have plenty of water, says Sonnenfield. On really hot days, try putting ice cubes in your pet's water bowl. Some petsenjoy it.
  • Shelter them from the sun. The prime way dogs cool themselves is through panting. "That works best if the air around them is cooler than their body temperature," Stickney says. So be sure your pooch (and kitty) have a shady place to get out of the sun.
  • Keep pets inside when it's really hot. Your pet's normal body temperature can range between 100-103 F. When it's that hot or hotter outside, it can be hard for pets to keep cool through panting. So on really hot days, bring cats and dogs indoors.
  • Brush your pet. Brushing your pet removes dead undercoat, helping air to circulate near the skin, keeping pets cooler. An additional benefit: "In summer months, pets can get bitten by insects and end up with moist dermatitis, a skin infection," Stickney says, but removing dead, matted hair by brushing helps skin stay drier. If you have the time and energy, brush daily.

If your pet does overheat, act  fast. Get your pet to a veterinarian right away -- it could save your pet's life.

Signs that your pet may be overheated include problems breathing, excessive panting, drooling, weakness, stupor, and an elevated heart rate. Symptoms can also include seizures, vomiting, a temperature over 104 F, and bloody diarrhea.

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Reviewed on June 08, 2012

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