Summer Cuts -
To shave or not to shave?

Right about this time of the year many people start to feel the heat of the season and they start wearing t-shirts or sleeveless tops, shorts and flip-flops. But what about the dog? He has all that fur, so he must be really warm! With no clothing to remove from him, the next best thing must be to shave him, right? It seems there is not a correct answer and there are strong opinions both for and against the practice of shaving dogs.
Some pet owners have routinely shaved their dogs when the weather turns warm believing that it helps keep their pet cooler and more comfortable. And without fail, the coat returns and the dog does not appear to have been adversely affected. Some pet owners have shaved their dogs only to have slow re-growth or uneven and patchy growth. There have been descriptions of having a “moth eaten” appearance, months after shaving the dog. This could be a sign that an underlying abnormality, either hormonal or follicular, could be present.
Sometimes shaving is a medical need such as treating traumatically induced dermatitis and it makes application of topical medication easier and more effective.
Dogs and cats do not have the extensive sweat gland system that humans possess so shaving their coat can provide a bit of coolness. If dogs could sweat like people, it is certain that someone would be selling doggy deodorant already! Although dogs and cats have sweat glands on their paws it is panting that is the mechanism that dissipates body heat.
If the dog spends time outside, be aware that without that coat, it is susceptible to sunburn, exposure to insect bites and abrasion.
A dog’s coat acts as insulation from cold AND heat. It protects them from the sun’s rays and its effects. Keeping the coat well-brushed and free of mats will allow for good air circulation and can have cooling effect, whereas a matted and unkempt coat can
stifle air circulation and do little help in cooling the body.
Then there is the matter of single-coated and double-coated dogs which seems to affect the results of shaving. Poodles, shih-tzus and bichons are just a few examples of single-coated dogs. Their coat grows like human hair, getting longer and longer, with genetics determining the final length.
Double-coated breeds have a sturdy protective coat and a soft dense undercoat. Some double-coated breeds are Siberian huskies, Pomeranians and chows. Shaving a double-coated dog may result in the rapid regrowth of the undercoat, while the slow growing protective coat has yet to appear, resulting in an unattractive coat.
There have been reports of dogs being shaved and the coat returns, but on a subsequent shaving, the coat takes years to return.
Keeping your dog brushed and well-groomed will help in the ability of his coat to regulate his body temperature. If you must shave your dog, consult your veterinarian and your groomer and get their advice of potential outcomes. Better yet, just turn up the A.C.

Pets and Fireworks:
Loud noise distressing
to many pets

Independence Day brings fireworks as part of the tradition of celebrating the country’s birthday.
For many pets, the popping and loud bang of fireworks causes anxiety and fear, some attempting to run away from the noise and becoming lost. For those who live in areas where loud thunder and lightning is common, they know firsthand of how some pets could react on July 4. Some pet owners have placed their pets in rooms to keep them safe from fireworks and returned later to find shredded furniture, doors that have been clawed and items turned over because the fireworks were too frightening to the pet.
According to the ASPCA website they suggest keeping your pet in a quiet room (sheltered away from fireworks activity) and perhaps using the TV or music to distract from other noises.
Ensure that the room is escape-proof and that your pet has been “chipped” or has good identification if your pet does escape.
Ask your veterinarian if anti-anxiety medication is suitable for your pet. In some cases, medication could prove helpful in reducing the fear and jumpiness caused by holiday fireworks.

Warm Weather and Pets in Closed Cars, a Deadly Combo

Use caution if leaving your dog unattended in the car. Extra care is urged when the weather turns warm. During the summer months, a closed car can reach temperatures easily into the 90’s and that’s in the shade, temperatures can soar over 100 degrees. Often that “short trip” into the store gets extended by difficulty locating what you needed, long lines at the register or maybe you run into an acquaintance and time escapes. A dog can overheat in a short time in a closed car.
Rolling down the windows help only a little and then you have the risk of your dog escaping or possibly dognapped. If the dog is aggressive or scared, passers-by might get bitten by your dog and you would be liable.
There have been sad endings for people who left the air conditioning on with the dogs unattended. Engines can overheat and the compressor shuts down then warm air is blown into the car exacerbating the situation.
Pet owners in Texas left their dogs in the car with the air conditioning running and came back later to find the air conditioner failed at some point. The dogs were found dead in the car along with the bowls of water, the ice cubes they had placed in the bowls melted long before.
Please consider carefully if your dog really needs to go on that “quick trip” if it means leaving the pet unattended, even for a short period of time.

Derm Vet on PetMD

Recently Joel Griffies, DVM, ACVD was contacted by PetMD for his opinions on the question “What Are Dogs and Cats Allergic To?”
Dr. Griffies is the dermatologist at Animal Dermatology Clinic – Marietta. PetMD is a website providing an extensive variety of information about pets, pet care and pet products.
The article highlights the top five categories that may cause an allergy in dogs and cats. His list:
Dust mites - It should come as no surprise that the #1 cause of allergy and asthma in people affects our pets, too. House dust mites can wreak havoc on your dog or cat's immune system, causing an allergic reaction that often displays as atopic dermatitis.
Pollens - Dogs and cats can be allergic to all types of pollens: pollens from trees, weeds, plants, or grasses. You can limit your pets' exposure to the pollens in your area by keeping them indoors during peak seasons, especially when there are reports of a high pollen count, which tends to be during the fall and spring.
Molds - Molds are somewhat regional, but if they are in your area, watch out! Mold grows wherever and whenever there is moisture, so keep the humidity in your home low, fix any leaks, and pay attention if your pet frequents dark and/or damp areas — either indoors or outdoors.
Fleas - Flea bite hypersensitivity and flea allergic dermatitis is the most common skin disease in pets. Flea allergies usually develop when the dog or cat is young (less than one and up to five years of age), but it can begin at any age. Frequent and severe itching and scratching, hair loss, and scabs are telltale signs of flea allergies in pets.
Insects - While fleas are the common culprit when it comes to allergies involving insects, some pets also develop allergic reactions to other insects, including mosquitoes, ants, and cockroaches. And just like people, it is the proteins contained in the saliva or venom of the biting insects that causes the allergic reaction. A reaction may display itself as inflamed skin, vomiting, and breathing difficulties.


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