Should I Shave My Long-Haired Dog?

Do you have a long-haired dog? Are you concerned with whether or not you should shave them, especially during the summer months? What are the pros and cons of shaving a dog with long hair?

If you’ve got a long-haired dog, chances are good you’ve wondered about shaving them. Although many owners of long-haired dogs tend to shave their pets year-round, there may be some downsides to consider when making your decision as well. Read through the information below to get a better idea of whether or not you need to shave your long-haired dog at any time.

Shaving long hair dog in Matthews, NC

Pros of Shaving a Long-Haired Dog

Shaving your long-haired dog can have a number of benefits that may convince you of trying out a new hairstyle on your pup.

Staying Cool

When done right, shaving can provide some cooling relief for your pet during the summer. Proper shaving of your dog’s top coat can help them stay cooler without the need to support multiple layers of hair at a time. It is important to make sure you fully understand how to shave your dog if you plan to go this route at home. Otherwise, a professional groomer is the best solution.

Avoiding Matted Hair

Shaving can help your pet’s hair avoid mats. If your dog has long hair, curly hair, or is prone to getting mats because of their hobbies and activities, you should consider shaving their top coat to reduce the risk of mats. If they do get a lot of mats in their hair, you will need to keep up with shaving. If your pet has too much matting, take them to a professional groomer. However, if the matting is not terrible, you may be able to cut them out on your own, as long as your dog sits still for you.

Avoiding Hot Spots

Shaving can make it easier to prevent hot spots. Hot spots are caused when dogs lick and chew their hair so much that they cause it to fall out in patches. This habit also contributes to sores and irritation of the skin. By shaving your dog, you can pay attention to the location of her hot spots and keep up with treatment more easily as well.


Shaving keeps your pet cleaner when swimming in natural bodies of water. If your dog loves to go swimming, especially in lakes and other natural bodies of water, then you should consider shaving their top coat during the summer months. They are likely to avoid the risk of skin infection, fungal issues, and irritation when you keep their hair short before they go swimming. Additionally, since swimming can cause mats and hot spots too, a shorter summer cut is a good way to prevent these problems as well.

Cons of Shaving a Long-Haired Dog

While shaving your long-haired dog can have benefits, there are some cons that may outweigh the pros, depending on your specific situation.

Improper Shaving

When done wrong, shaving can make your pet too hot. If you don’t know how to properly shave your dog, don’t try at home. It is possible that you could cut too far and end up shaving away her undercoat, which is an important part of her body’s temperature regulation. While the undercoat does help keep a dog warm during winter, it also insulates and helps keep her cooler during the summer too. She needs to keep her undercoat year-round.


Shaving may increase the risk of sunburns. If you shave your dog’s hair too close to the skin, you may risk increasing the chance of sunburn. If this does happen, you’ll need to put sunscreen on your dog every time they go outside. Choose a dog-safe sunscreen from a pet store instead of a human blend.

Chewing and Licking

Shaving may cause your dog to obsessively lick and chew her skin. While shaving does make it easier to monitor for hot spots and treat them as they occur, your dog may also develop a habit of chewing and licking because of her shave, too. If her skin is itchy while her hair grows back in, she may cause problems like hot spots as well.

Time and Cost

Shaving can be expensive and difficult to maintain for many long-haired dogs. If you are unable to shave your dog at home, you’ll need to pay for regular grooming appointments. And even if you do shave them at home, you’ll need to set aside time for this task regularly. The hassle and expense of shaving can be too much for many pet owners.


As you can see, the answer may vary for you and your dog depending on a variety of factors. Choosing whether or not to shave your long-haired dog is a personal decision, and it is up to you, your vet, and your groomer to pick the best solution for your pet.

Whether you choose to shave your pet or not, make sure you keep up with their regular grooming needs. Your dog will need to have regular baths and trims to keep her long hair from becoming matted, and if they do get mats, they will need to have them removed as soon as possible.

If you are taking care of a long-haired dog in Matthews, NC and you’re not sure what to do with all the hair, contact Caring Hearts Animal Hospital. We will talk over you and your dog’s best options for a haircut, and see if they truly need this service. Make an appointment for your dog by calling us at (704) 893-2799 or by scheduling an appointment online.