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Is it Safe to Shave Your Dog?

Some pet owners resort to shaving their dogs in order to help them stay cooler in summer. However, this practice isn’t a good idea for some dogs due to the type of coat they have. Find out which dogs have coats that are safe to shave and which dogs have coats that should be left alone in summer.

Short-Haired Dogs

Dogs with short hair, such as Beagles, Chihuahuas, Greyhounds and Rottweilers, should not be shaved during summer. Shaving these dogs doesn’t help cool them off more than their short coat, and it makes them more vulnerable to sunburn. They’re also at a higher risk of being bitten or stung by mosquitoes and other bugs.

Dogs with a Single Coat of Medium or Long, Thick Hair

Dogs that have a single coat of hair that is medium or long and thick, such as Afghan hounds, Poodles and Silky Terriers, can be shaved in order to help them stay cooler in the heat. However, they should never be shaved close to the skin. Instead, you should leave at least an inch of fur on them to lower their risk of sunburn, bug bites and other summer dangers. Shaving too close to the skin also makes it harder for new hairs to grow properly.

Double-Coated Dogs

Dogs with double coats, such as Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, Golden Retrievers and Border Collies, should also not be shaved when it’s hot out. These dogs have an undercoat that they shed during summer and longer guard hairs that protect their skin. Losing their undercoat helps them stay cool in the heat, while the outer layer of guard hairs shields their skin from the sun’s rays. Their outer layer also keeps them safe from mosquitoes, ticks and other bugs that sting or bite. When these dogs are shaved, the undercoat grows back first, which won’t keep them as cool in the heat.

Keeping Dogs Cool

If you have dogs that can’t be safely shaved, you should take other steps to keep them cool during summer, such as:

  • Limit their time outside, especially during the hottest part of the day
  • Make sure they have shady areas to stay in when they’re outdoors
  • Consider setting up a small inflatable pool for your dogs to use outside, as long as you supervise them
  • Give them a cool place to sleep inside, such as an air conditioned room or a room with a ceiling fan

No matter what kind of coat your dogs have, make sure that they have access to cool, fresh water at all times during summer. This helps keep them hydrated and reduces the risk of heat stroke.  Keep your pets safe.

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