Shaving Your Pet: It’s More Than Just an Aesthetic

Every year, vets and groomers debate the pro’s and con’s of shaving or trimming the fur of dogs with long or thick coats. Here's a list of the advantages and disadvantages you should know!

When temperatures soar in the summer, dressing down is what best appeals to us. You wouldn’t want to be snugly wrapped in a blanket or sweater, would you? No! It’s ganji and shorts all the way through. However, our furry friends do not have the luxury of shrugging off their coats and simply donning something more temperature-appropriate. Every year, vets and groomers debate the pro’s and con’s of shaving or trimming the fur of dogs with long or thick coats. If this is a problem you’ve been wrestling with, here’s what you need to keep in mind.

Image Courtesy- Kasefoto-Shutterstock

Advantages of Shaving

  • If your dog has a full coat and lives in air-conditioned or similarly cooled conditions, his or her fur is actually coming in the way of cooling down the body. A close-cropped shave of the top layer of fur or hair helps them regulate their temperature better.
  • Shaving helps keep dogs free from parasites associated with warm weather such as fleas and ticks. Very simply put, they are easier to see and thus treat.
  • If your dog is a water baby, shaving helps them dry off faster after a swim. Moist skin can sometimes lead to maggot infestation, and you would be prudent in wanting to avoid this! 
  • Dogs that have recurrent hot spots or bacterial skin lesions benefit from a shave. This makes topical application easier and also eliminates contamination of the site.
  • Anecdotally, a lot of pet owners have observed that shaving their dogs makes them appear a lot more comfortable and active.

Disadvantages of Shaving

  • Sometimes, clipping or shaving too close may cause injury to hair follicles. Damaged follicles lead to slow or delayed hair growth. Your dog’s coat may turn patchy, lack previous texture, or even turn out to be a different colour! This is most often seen in double-coated breeds like Malamutes and Huskies.
  • If your dog is more outdoorsy, his or her coat doubles up as insulation against solar radiation. Longer hair helps prevent the sun rays from penetrating the skin. Shaving a dog with a predominantly outdoor lifestyle could lead to sunburn (even in winter!) and skin cancer.

What Should I Keep in Mind?

There’s a reason why your hairstylist tells you not to cut your own hair or trim your own bangs. Besides being a fashion no-no, you risk causing irreparable damage to your hair. The same goes for your dog’s coat. Always get them groomed by a professional groomer. This greatly reduces the risk of accidental nicks and cuts from the use of a blade or clippers. Besides, groomers are good at styling coats, so your dog will look good after a professional cut.

On a Side Note, Is Shaving Needed for Cats?

Cats are usually very clean animals and regularly groom themselves to stay clean and cool. Outdoor cats may be shaved if their fur gets severely matted from their excursions or if they are developing bacterial or fungal skin issues. Other than that, it is usually not necessary to shave your cat!

Indrakshi Banerji

Indrakshi Banerji

Jeevoka member since Sep 2019

As a senior vet at RESQ Charitable Trust, I am fulfilling my childhood dream of healing animals in distress. When my schedule permits, I try my hand at writing given my long found inspiration in James Herriot. I am obsessed with the colour purple and I enjoy hiking and baking on my rare days off. Last but definitely not the least, I am Mom to a grumpy tripod cat named Akhrot.