Many humans opt for short hair and less clothes in the summer time and it might be tempting to think about making your dog’s locks a little lighter too. After all would you wear a fur coat to the beach? But in reality the fur coat that keeps them warm in winter, also keeps them cool in the summertime. Nature has a lot of things figured out and dog hair is one of them.
Dog’s coats are made up of several layers that act as both an insulation and heat relief system in both short and longhair dogs. Cutting it too short takes away your dog’s ability to naturally regulate their body temperature and can lead to overheating and sunburn.
That being said, it is important to make sure your dog’s hair is clean, brushed and mat-free as mats and tangles also keep the hair from working naturally to cool them. For dog’s whose hair continuously grows and needs regular trimming for practical purposes, do keep up on your trims. Make sure to keep the hair at least 1-2inches long and avoid trimming all the way down to the skin.
For double-coated breeds like Chows and Huskys, or flat-coated breeds like the Golden Retriever, trimming their coat and cutting off the guard hairs - the longer, stiffer outer hairs - can actually be damaging to their coat and temperature regulation. Shaving these types of dogs should be avoided.
There are many great products to help keep your dog's long hair manageable from shampoos and conditioners to detangling creams and sprays. Combined with a good comb and brush, the work you do cleaning and brushing your dog can be far more effective in cooling your dog than a shave would be.
For dogs who already have short hair, or need to be shaved down due to mats, make sure to keep sunscreen on hand for hot days.
While your dog’s hair will naturally help cool them, it can difficult for some breeds to stay cool regardless. Make sure you are keeping your dog indoors and in the shade as much as possible with lots of cool water to drink.
Have a safe and happy summer!
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