Why Shaving Your Dog’s Fur Doesn’t Make Him Cooler

dog heat mapTake a look at this temperature map showing the effect of shaving off fur. It doesn’t make a lot of sense at first because it appears to show that the skin temperature on the shaved portion of the dog actually has a cooler temperature than the part with the thick, heavy fur. In fact, this really IS correct!

The double layer of fur traps air, keeping the hot air from reaching your dog’s body. When you shave the dog, you remove this protective feature, making your dog even hotter than he would be with fur intact.

Don’t worry about trying to convert the Celsius temperature to Fahrenheit; just pay attention to the fact that the shaved portion of the body is actually HOTTER than the furry portion. (For those of you who are curious – the Fahrenheit temps are about 75 degrees under the fur and about 86 degrees in the shaved areas.)

This isn’t to say you can’t cut your dog’s fur. There’s nothing wrong with a short clip; just don’t shave it all off.

This also isn’t to say you should leave your dog outside during a heat wave, expecting that his fur will be enough to keep him from overheating. Of course, they need to have access to cooler areas or at the very least, shady places where they can maybe catch a breeze. Don’t count on a dog house to be the coolest place – enclosed houses tend to trap hot air inside, just like your un-air conditioned garage without windows does. An open-air shelter is required if no trees are available to provide shade.

And it should go without saying, make sure your dog ALWAYS has access to plenty of fresh, cool water whenever he is outside.

Keep ’em cool!

Until next time,
Good day, and good dog!

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One thought on “Why Shaving Your Dog’s Fur Doesn’t Make Him Cooler”

  1. Okay stop spreading misinformation.

    Thermal imaging is going to show you the heat released, not the actual core temperature.

    The reason the thick coat portion looks cooler is because the fur is just trapping the heat. The exposed portion is where the heat is escaping.

    If you put a jacket on and no pants and do a similar thermal image on a person, you’d get the exact same results. Your chest would read as cooler and your legs as hotter, but that’s just showing heat released.

    The primary reason to not over shave your dog’s is to prevent sun burn. Just like with humans their skin needs some degree of protection. But a heavy coat is not neccessary.

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