When the temperatures soar, boys get buzz cuts to keep cool, and girls pull their hair into ponytails. With their dogs’ comfort in mind, many people have their pets’ locks shorn for summer, too. But while it makes sense intuitively, it’s a bad idea.
A dog’s hair actually insulates the animal from the heat. The hair coat creates an air chamber between the hairs that blocks heat conduction considerably. And the lack of heat conductivity works to protect the dog’s body. But staying cool is only one reason not to cut your dog’s hair for the hot summer months.
Other reasons not to clip a dog’s hair when it’s hot out
If you cut a dog’s hair short at that time of year that the sun’s rays are strongest, you increase his risk for sunburn. This is especially true for light-pigmented dogs — those who are white or spotted. Short hair makes it much easier for UV radiation to hit your pet’s skin.
Shorn hair also makes it more likely that a dog will become dehydrated. With longer locks, dogs will not lose as much moisture through their skin. Even in extremely hot temperatures — as high as 101 degrees Fahrenheit — having hair is more protective than not having it, or not having it at its usual length.
Much better than cutting your dog’s hair for summer is not taking your pet out for a long walk in the middle of the day, when temperatures are at their highest, and not leaving him alone in a closed-up car — even for a few minutes.
It’s especially important to keep your dog out of extreme heat if he is on the larger side. Small dogs have a problem with thermo-regulation in cold weather. For large dogs, it’s elimination of heat that’s the more pressing issue. It has to do with the ratio of their volume to their overall surface area.