Porky and Buddy Pet Health – Should I Shave my Dog?

Porky and Buddy

Dear Porky and Buddy,
I just adopted Marcie, a lab/shepherd mix of some sort. My mom suggested that before it gets really hot I should have her shaved down so her fur is shorter. Is that a good idea? I can’t imagine wearing a fur coat all though the summer.

Dear Jim,

We know that Mother’s Day is right around the corner and we hate to disagree with your mom, but here goes.

Shaving a dog in the hope of helping her with the heat of summer is almost never a good idea.

There are several reasons.

A dog’s fur has an insulating effect which is just as important for protecting her from heat as it is for cold.

It’s much like insulation in a house, it stops your home from getting too cold in winter, but it also keeps it from overheating in summer.  The same with Marcie’s fur.

Dogs’ coats have several layers.

This is especially true for thick coated dogs like retrievers and shepherds.

These layers are essential to Marcie’s comfort in the heat.

Taking away this natural cooling system can lead to discomfort and overheating.

Marcie’s coat also prevents her from getting sunburn and helps protect her from skin cancer. We assume you know enough not to walk around nude in the hot sun with no protection, and neither should Marcie.

For more protection from sunburn and skin cancer, save longer walks for evenings, and consider applying pet-specific sun block to thinly covered areas like the bridge of her nose, the tips of her ears and her belly.

There are better and much more enjoyable (and cheap) ways to manage Marcie’s coat to keep her cool.  You can trim any long hair, such as any hair that hangs down on her legs.

That isn’t necessary for the insulating effect of her main coat.

And brush her lots to remove any shedding hair.

She probably loves to be brushed anyway.

So you will get some extra bonding time and she will (we assume) adore you even more.

And most important, keep Marcie inside as much as possible with plenty of water during really hot days.

You should be drinking lots of water too!  Your mother must have told you that.

The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County.

Located at 110 W. Second St., Oswego, NY.

Phone: (315) 207-1070.

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.oswegohumane.org

Because People and Pets Are Good for Each Other.