Should I Shave My Dog in the Summer? A Guide to Your Dog’s Summer ‘Do

By: BeChewy EditorsPublished:

should i shave my dog in summer: dog and hand holding shears against pink background

Should I Shave My Dog in the Summer? A Guide to Your Dog’s Summer ‘Do

While a summer trim may feel great to you, especially when the weather's reached peak humidity, is it the best idea to give your dog a summer haircut, too?

While having a professional groomer trim your long-haired dog's fur to make their coat more manageable is OK, you shouldn't shave your dog to cool them off. That's because—believe it or not—their fur coats actually provide them heat relief. Plus, shaving can make your pet more prone to sunburn (and they certainly won’t want that!).

How a Dog’s Coat Keeps Them Comfortable

Many pet parents believe that “undressing” the dog by shaving their fur will make the warm summer months more tolerable. The truth is the dog’s coat serves several purposes:

  • It acts like insulation, keeping them from overheating in the summer (and getting too cold in the winter).
  • In warm weather, a well-brushed coat “lofts” as the dog moves, air cooling them all the way to the skin.
  • In double-coated dog breeds, the downy undercoat acts as their thermal underwear, waterproofing them as well.

Because a dog’s coat is insulation, it protects them from the heat and the cold. Removing the hair removes this natural cooling system.

So, instead of shaving, remove any excess undercoat by brushing regularly.

If your dog is active or has allergies and is prone to getting dirty and their hair matting, a trimmed down coat might be in order to keep them comfortable.

Matted coats trap heat and moisture, making it more harmful than shaving or not shaving. In this case, take your pup to the dog groomer, who will safely remove the matted hair.

Summer Cuts by Dog Hair Type

Double-coated dog breeds: Brush, don’t shave

should i shave my dog in summer: samoyed dog purple backgroundshould i shave my dog in summer: samoyed dog purple background
Photo: Tetereva

Many breeds have double coats that consist of harsh guard hairs that protect against the inclement weather and a layer of soft, downy undercoat that helps keep the body temperature consistent.

These double-coated breeds include:

  • Samoyeds
  • Malamutes
  • Huskies
  • Chow Chow
  • American Eskimo
  • Pomeranian

Double-coated dogs build a thick, sturdy coat for the winter. Then, when spring comes, they shed their unnecessary, unwanted insulation all over your house. Their “summer coats” come in a little less dense, but they still retain the double-coated insulating qualities so important to these breeds.

It’s best not to shave double-coated dogs, but instead brush their fur to help keep them cool and reduce shedding.

Shaving their coats off can damage the follicles of the outer coat—or guard hairs—creating a condition known as “clipper alopecia,” where only the fuzzy undercoat will grow back. This unfortunate occurrence is a permanent condition and can result in a dog whose coat will forever look balding or patchy.

Conversely, shorter-coated breeds don’t have the coat protection factors of the double-coated breeds, making them more susceptible to heatstroke. These breeds include Bulldogs and Pugs.

Miracle Care Slicker Dog Brush
Frisco Metal Dog & Cat Comb
Babyliss Pro Pet Long Pin Slicker Pet Brush
should i shave my dog in summer: cocker spaniel on blue background

Long-coated breeds: OK to trim

should i shave my dog in summer: cocker spaniel on blue background

For long and curly-haired breeds, a short cut is OK as long as there is enough hair to provide protection from the sun.

These breeds include:

  • Poodle
  • Bichon Frise
  • Cocker Spaniel
  • Shih Tzu
  • Maltese
  • Lhasa Apso
  • Havanese

Some dog breeds require expert trimming in order to look like their breed standard. They include:

  • Schnauzer
  • Kerry Blue Terrier
  • Wirehaired Fox Terrier
  • Scottish and West Highland terriers

Unless they were clipped right down to the skin, a short clip would not ruin their coats—except in the case of dogs who are customarily hand-stripped, having their topcoats periodically removed by plucking out the dead hair to preserve that coarse terrier texture. Shaving coats like these may also dilute their color.

How a Groomer May Trim Your Dog’s Hair

Groomers often do a “thin and trim,” sculpting the coat with a #7 dog clipper blade and/or using a #1, #1/12, #2 or #A comb attachment to leave enough hair on to still look beautiful.

Then, they’ll do a finishing touch-up with their shears to complete a shorter-but-shaped look. Your groomer may call this trim a “Teddy Bear” or “Puppy Cut.”

Keeping Your Dog Cool with Regular Grooming

should i shave my dog in summer: dog looking at comb against pink backgroundshould i shave my dog in summer: dog looking at comb against pink background

While clipping may just be an easier option for some busy households, the best grooming practice for a pet owner wishing to keep their pet cool in the summer is to keep the pet’s coat clean.

Regular grooming helps keep the coat separated and fluffed, enabling the coat to provide the insulating factors the pet needs to regulate his body temperature. It makes the dog look and feel nice while keeping the coat from getting matted.

Buddy Wash Original Lavender & Mint Dog Shampoo & Conditioner
CHI Detangling Finishing Dog Spray
Frisco Shed Control Shampoo & Conditioner for Dogs & Cats

Temporarily out of stock

With all that said, pet owners just need to remind themselves that dogs feel the heat differently than we do, but heatstroke from overexposure to the hot summer days can have just as devastating an effect on them as it does on us. Keeping them cool and calm on hot days, coupled with a steady supply of fresh water and shade, will keep your pets comfortable.
Expert input provided by Teri DiMarino, ICMG, NCMG, ISCCMS, CAH, a 35 year-plus veteran of the pet styling industry.


By: BeChewy EditorsPublished: