As a pet owner, you must take the time to ensure that your pets are healthy and happy every season of the year. Just as you need to make sure that your pet stays warm during the winter months, you’ll need to take steps to prevent overheating during the summer. For many dog breeds, this means giving them a summer cut. This guide will help you learn more about why your dog needs a summer cut during the summer season, along with how to cut your dogs hair properly.

Why Do Dogs Need Summer Cuts

Dogs, like humans, have natural ways of cooling themselves down. However, dogs–like people–can still overheat when the weather gets too hot or cannot regulate their body temperature enough to stay cool. The primary reason why dogs overheat during the summer is their coat. When the weather is cold, a dog’s coat works perfectly to keep them warm. However, in the summertime, that same natural insulation *works against dogs by trapping heat** against their bodies, leading to overheating.

A summer cut is a way to reduce the amount of heat trapped by a dog’s fur while still allowing your dog to keep its natural insulating later. On that note: never shave your dog during the summer. A summer cut is just that: a haircut, not a complete shave. If you shave your dog’s hair entirely, you increase the chances that they will get sunburns, injuries, and insect bites; it can actually make them hotter since their coat protects their body from UV rays.

If you have a dog with a double coat, never cut all the way down to the undercoat layer. Instead, trim the top fur without going all the way down to the undercoat layer. You should also avoid cutting your dog’s hair if they have a naturally short coat; breeds such as Boxers or Boston Terriers, for instance, will not need summer cuts.

How to Give Your Dog a Summer Cut

Now that you know why your dog needs a summer cut, it is time to learn how to cut your dog’s hair, including what grooming tools you’ll need to get the job done correctly. If you have never cut your dog’s hair before, you may wish to consult with a professional or at least spend time watching videos to make sure you are using the proper technique. Remember: your dog needs to be calm during the process, so if this is your first time trimming their hair at home, you may want to use scissors on your first time out as the noise and vibration from clippers may scare them.

Grooming Tools You’ll Need

  • Brush
  • Scissors or Clipper
  • Nail Clippers

Always look for scissors and nail clippers designed for use with dogs; this will ensure that they can be safely used on a dog’s coat and are less likely to cause injury to a dog’s skin. If you decide to use a clipper to trim your dog’s coat for the summer, make sure it doesn’t get hot, as this can cause injuries.

Step by Step Instructions to Give Your Dog a Summer Cut

The following step by step guide on how to cut your dogs coat for the summer. Remember, you can always trim a bit more fur than you need to when you’ve finished your first round.

Remember: If you don't feel comfortable with the process, always seek a professional who can help you.

Step One: Brush your dog’s coat

Before you trim your dog’s coat, you will want to give it a good brushing. First, brush its hair to remove any tangles or knots; if your dog has any mats, remove them carefully with scissors. Do not trim your dog’s hair until the coat is free from tangles. You may want to give your dog a bath before the brushing process, but this is entirely optional.

Step Two: Start trimming around the neck

The first part of the trimming process should begin at the neck. If your dog has short hair, you can start with the scissors and use them throughout the entire process. If your dog has long or exceptionally thick hair, then you will likely wanna start with the clippers for larger areas and use the scissors for smaller ones.

When trimming your dog for the summer, take care to cut in the direction that the hair is growing. If you’re using clippers, use the highest clipping mark or guard; remember, you only want to give them a trim to help thin out their coat for the hotter summer months.

Step Three: Move to the legs and tail

You must be very careful around the legs, paws and tail, as dogs tend to move the most when these areas are being trimmed. Go slowly and carefully. Only use scissors in these areas to prevent potential injuries. Again, remember that less is more for a summer cut: you can always trim further if you need to, so for now, err on the side of caution when it comes to length.

Step Four: Trim the head area

The head is one of the most challenging areas to trim. This is because the dog moves its head around, along with sensitive areas, such as the eyes and nose. Scissors are best for this area, mainly if your dog tends to move more often than not. If you must use clippers, make sure to go slowly and potentially have someone hold your dog’s head to avoid movement.

Step Five: Brush out the excess

Once you are finished with the initial trim, you should brush your dog’s coat to get any loosened hair off; this will help prevent excessive shedding after your dog’s summer cut is finished.

Summer cuts may need to be completed more than once during the summer months, depending on how quickly your dog’s coat grows back after a trim.

Don’t forget; make sure to give your dog plenty of treats and praise during the grooming process!