Tips for Grooming Your Dog in the Summer
When Mother Nature turns up the heat not only does
your dog feel it, but the summer weather also opens the door to tons of
problems with his coat by bringing with it bugs, dirt and mud. Following are a few basic steps you can take at home to keep
your pup clean.
Do Not Shave
Contrary to popular belief, warm weather doesn’t necessitate going all military barber on your dog’s beautiful fur. In fact, this can actually be counterproductive. A dog’s undercoat reflects light and helps keep them cool through a process often called lofting, which essentially turns it into a built-in air conditioner. Cutting it could destroy the coat’s natural function as well as cause it to grow back in the wrong way. Always be sure to check with your veterinarian to see if your breed is one that’s better off with her coat long and intact, like a Husky or German Shepherd.
But Brush Often
The best way to handle your dog’s coat is to brush it thoroughly and often. We’re not talking five times a day here, but at least once a day for longer coated dogs and once or twice a week for those with shorter fur. It’ll keep the coat from becoming tangled which will in turn trap dirt, as well as help you check for harmful buggers like ticks. Different coats require different brushes, so ask your vet which kind works best for your specific breed’s fur.
With summer comes more opportunities for your dog to get dirty, so you’ll want to increase the amount of baths you give your pup when it begins to get hot. Not only will it help remove excess grass, mud and dander but it’s a great way to keep parasites like ticks and fleas at bay. Be sure to only use a gentle, natural shampoo that will soothe the skin to reduce any irritation or itchiness. Oatmeal and eucalyptus-based shampoos usually do well in the summer. Contrary to popular belief, frequent bathing does not dry out the skin or otherwise cause harm.
Inspect the Ears
Dog’s ears are prone to infection, especially for adorable floppy-eared breeds. During the summer, you’ll want to take extra care to dry the ears after a swim or bath. To dry your dog’s ears try using a cotton ball and gently rub the inside flap until the water is gone. Never insert anything into your dog’s ear canal! Leave inner ear cleaning to the professional.
Trim the Nails
Since your dog is likely more active outdoors during the summer months there’s a better chance that a nail might break while at play on logs or rocks. To combat this, you need to remain vigilant when it comes to keep them trimmed. You don’t want to cut them too often, or too short, but you’ll know when they’ve gotten too long by the clicking sounds you’ll hear when your pup walks on hard surfaces.
Look for Foreign Objects
Twigs, splinters and rocks can get lodged into your dog’s paw pads after some rigorous play out in the yard. That’s why it’s important to always check them once they come inside. If you notice your dog limping that could mean some damage has already been done, so a quick inspection each day can head off injury.
Finally, you’ll want to pay close attention to your dog’s skin during the hot summer months. That’s because more allergens are loose this time of year that could cause your dog’s skin to become dry or irritated. Your dog might also be more susceptible to infections like ringworm. Be sure to look over your dog’s skin while brushing to ensure that everything is A-OK.
Doing these simple things yourself will save you time and money – and your pup will thank you!