POTW 7-23

Meet Tinkerbelle. This 3 month old little ball of heaven is practically perfect in every way! Tinkerbelle found herself lost and alone in the middle of a busy street when an angel scooped her up and got her to safety. Now, Tinkerbelle is living the life in a foster home, where she plays with other kitties and even dogs. She also has a foster brother, named Pete, who she is bonded with, so getting a home together would be a dream come true. If you think that Tinkerbelle could fit (and flit!) right into your home and your heart, go towww.saveacatrescue.org to learn more.

Dear Tabby,

The temperatures this summer have been ridiculous so far and it only appears as though this heat will continue. We worry about keeping our long-haired dog and cats cool during the heatwave and are considering shaving them all. What are your thoughts on this?

Serious About Shaving in Shepherd Park Plaza

Dear Serious About Shaving,

You’re correct: The weather this summer has been rough (ruff?) in Houston! And, while it may seem to humans that the less hair, the better when it comes to coping with the heat, the same rules do not necessarily apply to your furry friends. Here’s what you need to know before you go after your pets with the razor.

Thermal regulation

I know it might seem counterintuitive, but dogs and cats’ fur actually helps keep them cooler. The fur coat that your pets sport acts as a type of insulation. That means that their coats help keep them warm in the winter and yes, even cool in the summer. So, if you shave off their coats, not only do you leave them vulnerable to the heat, but also vulnerable to sunburn, skin cancer and heat stroke. 

Consider a “summer cut” Instead

If you can’t shake this idea of giving your pets a haircut for summer, consider a slight trim (as opposed to a full-blown shave) just to keep the long hair more manageable. With slightly shorter fur, you can take your dog swimming to help cool him off, while enjoying slightly less maintenance and upkeep with his shorter hair cut. The shorter fur will also be less likely to hold onto that other summer favorite in south Texas--sticker burrs--as well as make it easier for your pets to help keep themselves clean and tidy. 

Put down the clippers

Instead of shaving your pets this summer, look for other ways to keep them cool and comfy in this heat. Simple things, like adding ice cubes to their water and offering a kiddie pool and cooling blankets, go a long way in helping to keep everyone safe. Also, leaving pets outside in extreme temperatures is not safe and, frankly, cruel. So, be sure that your pets have access to places to escape from the heat. 

With any luck, this heatwave will be over soon and, before we know it, we’ll be dressing our pets up in sweaters and carting them to the nearest pumpkin patches to take Instagram-worthy shots to celebrate fall and the beautiful weather that comes with it! Hang in there, Houston. Relief is on the way! 

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