It seems counterintuitive that shaving dogs in the summer would be a bad idea — but you’d actually be hurting more than helping if you decide to give your pup a shorter ‘do for the warmer weather. As odd as it sounds, our furry friends actually use their hair to stay cool when it warms up.
When humans overheat, they sweat. Dogs, on the other hand, use a combination of panting and vasodilation (more on this later) to regulate their body heat. Fido’s ability to cool himself is 80 percent through panting, according to Rover. Breathing rapidly brings cooler air into your dog’s wet mouth, causing the moisture inside to evaporate, thereby reducing their internal temperature.
The second way a dog can cool down is through a process called vasodilation. This is when the blood vessels in their ears and face expand, bringing the blood closer to the skin and cooling it down before it swims back to the heart.
So why is shaving your dog for the summer something that should be avoided? Our pets’ fur coats act as insulators, trapping heat during the winter and locking in cold air during the summer. If you shave your dog, there’s no barrier to keep in the cooler air — ruh-roh! Even worse is that cutting the fur too short puts your pup at risk of getting a sunburn or developing skin cancer.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can help your dog cool down over the summer. At home, offering them a cool, wet towel in the shade or even a shallow wading pool will keep them comfortable. They’ll devour frozen homemade dog treats as well. When you take them out, make sure you bring a collapsible water bowl so they stay hydrated, and consider booties if the sidewalk is blistering. Going for walkies in the early morning and evening when it’s not as warm will ensure you won’t find yourself with a hot dog.
Don’t end up in the dog house this summer because you shaved your pup. Just use the warm weather as an excuse to curl up on the couch with your pooch right in front of the air conditioner.
Now that you know how to keep your dog cool, make sure you don’t get too hot this summer with an icy cold brew: