Is shaving your pets a good idea?

If you are considering a summer shave for your pets, consider these insights before taking your fluffy family member for a buzz cut.

Canines and felines have lived through summer and winter in many civilizations, and their coats not only keep them warm in cold weather. The layers of fur also help cool animals, as nature intends. That’s why they shed their winter coats and grow lighter coats as the weather warms. In fact, double-coated pets benefit from ventilation guarding against heat. Fur also protects fair skin from UV rays and aggressive animals. If you want to shave your pet, you definitely need to ensure that you have the right trimmers for your canine, as you don’t want to damage your dog’s fur with a bad set.

Ask these questions before you shave
1. Does your pet need fur?
Shaving your pet tampers with its built-in thermostat.
Longer hair breeds and pets with thick fur do better with a short cut, but check with your veterinarian before shaving or trimming too short. Some shaving dangers are noted below.
Consider whether your pet acts happier when sporting a shorter do. Some dogs enjoy the change, while others respond as if they’ve been punished.

2. Are your pets exposed to heat consistently, or can they move to a shady area?
Inside dogs and cats rarely need to be shaved. Medical or hygienic reasons present exceptions. Cats who can no longer groom, pets with dermatitis and matted animals might need closer trims.

3. Is your dog frequently wet?
Water-loving dogs can suffer from skin irritations or infections if not dried well.

Consider these complications from shaving
1. Shaved dogs experience sunburn or skin cancer more often. All shaved dogs and dogs with light skin or pink noses and snouts should use a sun screen outside that is specifically for dogs without zinc oxide. (Zinc in pennies is toxic to dogs.)

2. Your dog or cat might suffer permanent bald spots. The guard hairs that must fall out to spur growth of new hair won’t fall out if you clip too close.

3. Cats often suffer from immense stress when being shaved, especially if dogs are barking.

Ponder other options
1. Consider a shorter puppy cut for longer-haired dogs to avoid a complete shave down.

2. Brush pets frequently to remove dense fur. An undercoat rake (comb/brush) is especially helpful with thinning thick coats and undercoats.

3. Bathe your pet regularly. Groomers recommend bathing no more than every two weeks to avoid uncomfortable skin conditions. Use a pet shampoo and rinse well. If you blow dry, maintain low heat and do not blow the air stream directly at the pet. (Blow air from the top or along the side.)

4. Provide fresh, cool drinking water. Sometimes, fresh water is required several times a day to keep it cool or clean, but avoid adding ice. Dogs can crack teeth on ice, but equally as important, any animal can go into shock if it is overheated and consumes ice water.

5. Provide shade and shelter from the heat.

Take this advice when shaving
1. Hire a professional groomer.
Pets often fear the noise and vibration of clippers. If you or they are nervous, either of you can easily suffer a deep cut. Never rely on scissors. Dangerously sharp grooming scissors are necessary to cut fur correctly.

2. Leave at least an inch of fur to provide protection.

3. Be aware of hot clippers. Just a few minutes of shaving heats metal clipper blades enough to burn your trusting pet.

If you have questions, call your veterinarian and remember that your Fluffs of Luv pet sitters are always here to provide any information we can.

By Beth Crosby