You might think a trip to the groomer to get rid of some of that fur will help your dog chill out in the heat of summer. But it turns out that’s a myth. A summer shave can actually make it harder for your dog to cool down. It can also get your pooch sunburned and aggravate his allergies. Here are some reasons not to shear your pup in summer:
Your dog’s coat helps keep him cool.
A dog’s coat provides natural air conditioning. How? Dogs have tiny muscles connected to their hair shafts that allow the hairs to stand up and catch a breeze, which cools the dog. The mechanism is similar to how humans get goose bumps. The double coats of some northern breeds (Akitas, Huskies and Malamutes) help insulate them from the summer heat.
Fur is a natural sunscreen.
The coat protects canine skin from direct contact with sunlight and UV rays that can cause sunburn and skin cancer. Dogs that have been shaved and breeds that don’t have much hair, like the Chinese Crested, actually need a dog-safe sunscreen on their backs and other exposed areas. Talk to your vet about which sunscreen to use.
All that shag keeps allergens away.
The fur acts as a natural barrier to dust mites, pollen and grasses that can cause skin allergies in dogs. Shaving the coat puts a dog’s skin in direct contact with the world, which may cause a breakout.
The fur might not come back, or might grow in unevenly, after a shave.
In most cases, dogs’ coats grow back completely normally. But there is always a chance that it doesn’t grow back. In some situations, though, there can be pros to shaving your dog. If your dog has bad flea allergies, a summer shave might make it easier to spot fleas and could help a topical flea medicine spread more easily around the skin. Or a dog with a very dense coat and severe inflammation from skin allergies might do better with a shave so that medicated shampoo can reach the skin.