The Danger of Shaving a Pet

Jul 23, 2020   Tracey Aston   Grooming

When the summer months arrive, pet parents are always on the lookout for ways to keep their pets cool and comfortable. There are positive ways to do this, like swimming, playing in the hose and relaxing in the shade but there is no thing that should never be done - shaving your pets!

Pet parents think that by shaving their pet that are helping to cool them off by removing the heavy fur but the truth is shaving your pet not only removes their protection from the heat, it can lead to several health conditions.

For pets with double coats, the layers provide protection from the heat and sun and the double coat that keeps your pet warm in the colder months and actually help keep them cool in the summer months.  The outer hairs allow air flow and the undercoat protects against the sun rays.  Your pet being able to protect themselves from the sun has several benefits in addition to keeping them cool. Blocking the sun's rays reduces their risk of sunburn and even skin cancer.

In addition, constant shaving can actually change the texture of a pet's outer coat and it will grow back much coarser. When the undercoat attempts to continue to grow through thicker, coarser hairs, the pet is puts at risk for uncomfortable mats, hot spots and skin irritations.  The outer layer of hairs also helps move the natural oils around a pet's skin, to keep their skin conditioned and healthy. Removing the outer layer of hair, a pet's natural oils will become trapped in the undercoat, causing hot spots, skin irritations and even skin infections.

Atheistically, shaving a pet can lead to bald spots where the hair follicle has been damaged and the outer layer will grow back in patches or unnatural, leaving bald spots on your pet. These bald patches not only can look bad for your pet, it leaves them at risk for both summer and winter elements.

The best way to keep a pet cool in the summer months is to keep them well groomed.  How much grooming, brushing and deshedding is needed will depend on your pet's coat type.  Some shorter haired pets only require a simple brushing to keep them look their best. While other pets with thick or long fur or pets with an undercoat will require much more care. For pets with a heavy undercoat, there are tools such as a furminator or deshedding brush that will allow you to safely and comfortably remove loose undercoat to keep your pet cooler and well groomed.  If you notice your pet is having issues with their undercoat, it may be time to seek out a professional groomer to help with the deshedding process. Professional groomers have access to tools and shampoos and conditioners that can help with undercoat deshedding.  Our blog post How to Choose a Groomer provides helpful tips and important questions you should be asking when seeking out a professional groomer.

It's understandable that pet parents want to help keep their beloved pets comfortable in the summer months, but shaving a pet just isn't the way and can lead to many more problems that can last well past the summer months. Instead, keep your pet well groomed and share a cool drink under a shade tree. Your pet will thank you now and later. 

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