It's summer — it's hotter than you can remember it ever being and you're miserable in the heat. But what's worse is that your pets look even more miserable. After all, they're wearing fur coats that they can't take off. You may be tempted to do it for them, but the ASPCA wants you to know that you definitely should not shave your pets. They have three reasons why it's a bad idea.
1. Fur is much more complicated than a layer of warmth.
For a dog or cat, it's not like shrugging on a fur coat is for us. An animal's coat is part of its body, and helps regulate their body temperature in both cold and hot conditions, cooling them in summer. It may seem counterintuitive, but shaving off a multi-layered coat robs a pet of its ability to cool off naturally.
2. Pets have their own form of sunscreen: fur.
Every summer, you have it drilled into your brain that you've got to wear sunscreen to protect your skin from the harmful rays of the sun, and that's not bunk. The sun really can be dangerous, and our skin is just out there, exposed to it. But dogs have their own form of sunscreen. It's called fur. If you shave that off, you expose your dog to the sun and increase his risk of sunburn and skin cancer.
3. Just groom them!
You can be a little less all-or-nothing about your approach to cutting back on your pet's shaggy coat. If your dog's locks are really out of control, you can definitely trim the hedges, but don't scorch the earth. If you're not sure about how far you can or should go, consider hiring a professional groomer. If you have a cat, there's no need for trimming. Instead, regular brushing should be enough.
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Fur maintenance isn't your only line of defense against your pet overheating. Remember to keep them inside more often during the sweltering months, and make double sure they always have access to water in order to stay hydrated. Read our interview with Cesar Milan for more tips about summer pet safety. If you take the right steps, there should be no reason why you'd need to shave your friend to keep them cool this summer.