Over the centuries, humans have bred some pets -- specifically dogs -- to have thicker coats than others, and these breeds can sometimes use a little help cooling off during summer's heat.
If you have a dog with a very thick coat who seems to suffer from the heat, some veterinarians suggest shaving them when the mercury rises. Resist shaving shorter-haired breeds because not only do they get no benefit from it, but they also run the risk of sunburn once shaved.
Actually, any dog can suffer sunburn, so if you do shave your thick-coated dog, be sure to leave at least an inch of hair to protect your pet from the sun's rays.
You may also want to shave a dog that stays outside all the time, has a matted coat, and is likely to be wet often. In these circumstances, a dog can develop an unpleasant condition called myiasis -- maggots in the fur. If your dog is prone to hot spots, a summer shave may be helpful, but discuss this with your vet first.
What about the cats?
Cats don't necessarily need to be shaven unless they are having trouble grooming themselves as they get older. They are very good at regulating body temperature and don't get much benefit from being shaved. Because cats are so much smaller they're just better at getting rid of extra body heat.
If you do decide to shave your pets fur this summer, probably best to leave it up to a professional groomer to help lessen the stress on your pet and yourself.
Here are some phone numbers to groomers in our area:
Woofers Grooming and Goodies in Spanaway, Wa 253-538-0814
Shaggy Shack Pet Resort & Spa in Graham, Wa 253-847-2786
Pet Ponderosa in Graham, Wa 253-847-7763