Should I shave my dog for the summer?
Hello, we have a seven-year-old Rough Coat Saint and as new Saint owners, we are wondering if we can shave him for the summer. I have heard from
some that you can and from others that you can't. He is soooo hairy and
hot, plus he has a few mats. Thanks for the advice.
Castleton On Hudson, NY
As long as you follow some basic rules, there is nothing wrong with having your pet's coat clipped. In fact, in your dog's case, it sounds like a very good idea.
Trimming coats has a number of advantages in both dogs and cats. It eliminates tangles of hair (mats), which are very uncomfortable and can make pets cranky and unhappy. Although over time pets with all types of coats can adapt to a wide range of temperatures, long haired pets may be more comfortable during warm months if they are clipped. Keeping your pet's hair short during the summer may help to reduce certain types of skin infections. Finally, pets with short hair are less likely to suffer from foreign matter, such as plant material, getting stuck in their coats. In California, plant stickers known as foxtails cause huge problems for pets when they imbed in their hair.
Although keeping your pet's coat trimmed short has many advantages, there are several ground rules to follow. First, during colder periods, pets with clipped coats can get cold and even suffer hypothermia. Also, if your pet's hair is clipped very short, he will have no protection from the sun and can suffer a bad sunburn. Finally, the actual process of trimming the hair must be done carefully. I recommend that you have a professional groomer take care of it. If you decide to do it yourself, use clippers, rather than scissors. Several of my clients have accidentally cut their pet's skin with scissors, requiring medical intervention.