As the weather gets warmer and we start to enjoy the sun more, we also start to think about how are pets must be suffering in the heat and how to keep them cool. Many pet parents will be starting to think about phoning the groomers in the next few days to have their pets shaved for the summer.
Contrary to popular belief, shaving your long-haired dog (or cat) will not keep him/her cooler during the hot, summer months.
Shaving pets for the summer can actually predispose them to sun burn and to heat exhaustion/heat stroke. Long hair and thick undercoats act as insulation against the sun's rays and their effects. Coats that are kept well-brushed and mat-free allow for good air circulation through the hair, which in itself acts in the same way as insulation in your house. It keeps them cool in summer and warm in winter. On the contrary, matted, unkempt hair coats stifle air circulation and do little to help cool the body. In other words, daily brushing is a must during the hot, summer months.
Shaving your pet will not keep them cool in the summer. It will do the opposite and they can actually overheat and get sunburnt.
If your pet does have to be shaved due to matting (shaving your pets coat off is the only humane way to deal with matting and groomers have to do this by law to comply with The Animal Welfare Act) in the hot weather, please keep them inside or in the shade until their coat grows back and use plenty of pet safe sunscreen to protect them from sunburn and skin cancer.
For other tips of how to keep your pets cool in summer, read here.