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Healthy Pets

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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.

If You Shave Your Pet

If you do plan on shaving your pooch for summer, groomers and vets offer these simple tips:

  • Think about hiring a pro. Most of us have little experience grooming our dogs, and many pets can be skittish, raising the potential for painful accidents. It's a lot cheaper to take your pet to a groomer, Sonnenfield tells WebMD, than "to have to pay for a laceration repair."
  • Keep clippers cool. All it takes is a few minutes of use for clipper blades to get hot enough to burn your dog. "Take frequent breaks to let those clippers cool down," Stickney says, "and use the lubricant that often comes with them" to help clippers stay cool.
  • Leave an inch of hair. Leave at least one inch of hair when shaving your pet. This gives your pet enough coat to protect from sunburn and chilly summer nights.
  • No close shaves. Resist the temptation to shave your dog close to the skin. Not only do you raise the risk of painful sunburn, but a close shave can leave guard hair imbedded under the skin. "New hair won't grow until these ends fall out, causing irregular growth and often skin problems," says Linda Easton, an international certified master groomer.

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.

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