Summertime comes with extra considerations for keeping your pet safe and comfortable. It also comes with misconceptions about summer comfort—a big one being that fur should be shaved to keep pets cool. While surely we wouldn’t want to be wearing a (faux) fur coat outside, your pet’s fur isn’t quite the same. Read on for the low-down on summer grooming, plus extra advice for making sure pets stay cool and healthy.
It may seem counter-intuitive to leave your pet covered in fur in the hot, humid, sticky weather, especially since we humans prefer to wear the least amount of clothes we can get away with when the mercury rises. However, take comfort in knowing your four-legged companion was built for this, and she and her fur can handle the heat.
Your pet’s coat, even if it’s thick, may actually be the best protection she has against the sun and summer weather. Just as the insulation in your house keeps it warm in the winter and cool in the summer, the layers of undercoat beneath your pet’s
fur do the same. Shaving it can interfere with her natural ability to self-regulate and roll with the change in temperature. Cats are especially adept at regulating their body temperature and there is usually zero benefit in shaving them.
In some cases it may make sense to trim your dog’s coat for the summer months. If your dog has an extremely thick coat and appears to be visibly uncomfortable in the heat—constantly panting or displaying excessive drooling—a shorter cut
could help. Always go to a professional groomer, since there are more nuances to trimming your pet than just grabbing the clippers and going at it.
Dogs with shorter hair most likely don’t need anything done, and trimming their coats can increase the risk of sunburn and exposure to the sun’s rays, which is a skin cancer risk. If you do decide to trim, be sure to leave a minimum of one-inch of hair to protect your pet’s skin.
General advice for keeping cats and dogs cool
Never leave your pet in a hot car. Ever. Even with the windows cracked. It can get dangerously hot in a very short period of time.
Make sure your pet has access to cool, clean drinking water at all times. Add ice cubes for an extra treat! You can also freeze chicken broth or pureed berries to make easy, yummy, refreshing “pupsicle” treats for super-hot days.
Provide a sun-free zone. Whenever you are outside, be sure your pet has a shady spot to curl up under.
Being kind to your pet sometimes means leaving him home. Hanging out by the beach or pool all day might be heaven to you, but your furry friend may prefer to lounge in the AC, waiting to cuddle with you at the end of the day.
Brush your pet as often as possible. This helps with excess shedding, removes dead skin and undercoat, detangles mats, and is good for circulation. Most pets love being brushed and enjoy the bonus of receiving a mini-massage.