Each year, veterinarians, pet groomers and pet lovers have debates about the pros and cons of shaving a thick coated or long-haired dog during the warm summer months. From our human perspectives, higher temperatures mean less and lighter clothing. Unfortunately, this is probably not true for the majority of our pets.
We know that we cool ourselves by sweating and as more skin is exposed, the sweat evaporates more efficiently, cooling our bodies. Dogs, however, don’t sweat like we do. Their main cooling comes from panting. As the moisture evaporates off of the tongue of the panting dog, the blood is cooled and this cooled blood is circulated to keep the pet comfortable.
A well-groomed, clean hair coat will actually insulate the dog from the heat and help to keep them cooler. Another concern about shaving any dog is the potential for sunburn in lightly pigmented breeds.
However, many of the protective functions of a full coat can be lost if the coat is not keep clean and free from debris such as grass awns, etc that can cause mats and significant skin problems. In some cases due to age or lack of mobility, your veterinarian may recommend shaving certain areas (like the rear region) in long haired breeds to facilitate keeping the area clean and free from maggots.
Questions about shaving your dog should be directed to your veterinarian and staff. They are best equipped with the knowledge of how shaving may affect your pet. If you have questions about your pet please contact Dr. Norette L. Underwood of Trumann Animal Clinic at firstname.lastname@example.org.