Ah, summer! With the winter weather finally behind us, and spring in full bloom, it’s time to start thinking about summer fun with your furry loved ones. Summer is a great time for extra activities with your dog. Running in the woods, visiting the beach, or just taking a long stroll through the neighborhood are wonderful ways to celebrate the season. But with the warming weather comes changing needs for your pet. Warmer weather and more time outdoors mean your pet has special grooming needs. Paying attention to those needs will keep your dog comfortable and safe all summer long. So here are our TrustDALE summer grooming tips to keep your dog healthy all season long.
To Shave or Not to Shave
Summer is hot, especially here in the South. Looking at your dog, you may imagine that wearing a fur coat would be uncomfortable, to say the least. Plus, summer is heavy shedding season. If you have a shedding dog, you may find yourself cleaning up a lot more fur than during the cooler months. But veterinarians and professional groomers warn against the temptations to shave down your dog.
Your dog’s fur coat isn’t quite like your winter jacket. It helps keep them warm in the winter, but it also helps keep them cool in the summer. A dog’s fur protects them from the sun and helps them naturally regulate their temperature. Dogs with a single coat can be trimmed a little. If you have a dog with a double coat—soft fur underneath and coarser fur on top—you should avoid shaving altogether. Some popular breeds with a double coat include Retrievers and Pomeranians. So what’s the best way to keep your double-coated fur baby comfortable this summer? Regular and thorough brushings will help remove dead hair. That can increase airflow while retaining all the benefits of a natural coat.
- Brush your double-coated dog two to three times a week.
- Start with an undercoat grooming rake to pull out dead hair from the undercoat.
- Use a slicker brush on the dog’s rear where the hair is thicker longer.
- Use a wire pin brush or comb to get the dead hair out of your dog’s top coat.
- Try to work out mats and tangles with a wide-toothed comb. If the comb isn’t working and you have to cut out a tangle, make sure to hold the fur as close to the skin as possible to avoid an accident.
- You can conclude your grooming session with a bristle brush for that extra shine.
Ticks and Fleas
Summertime means more time spent outdoors. While running and playing outside is great exercise for your dog, taking some extra precautions will keep your dog safe and healthy. Ticks and fleas love summer just as much as your furry friend, and they are out in force. A little planning both before and after you go out will help keep your dog safe.
First of all, it is crucial to keep your dog up to date with flea and tick treatments. That can include flea baths, topical treatments, flea collars, or even medications. Talk to your veterinarian about the best way to keep ticks and fleas off your dog.
After a run outdoors, especially if you have been in the woods or tall grass, take the time to check your dog for ticks. Ticks can burrow into your dog’s skin, making them hard to find and hard to remove. So getting to ticks early on is crucial. Run your hands through your dog’s fur and feel for bumps. You can also do a visual inspection since you might not always feel a tick. Pay extra attention to your dog’s ears, which are a prime target for ticks.
You should also be on the watch for fleas. Flea prevention is a good start, but you should also look for signs of infection. One obvious sign is if your dog is scratching itself more than usual, but not all flea-infested dogs will scratch. After a walk in nature, or just a few times a week, search your dog’s fur for fleas, flea eggs, and flea dropping that look like little specks of black dirt. When you groom your dog, you can also use a flea comb to help catch an infestation before it can spread.
If Your Dog is a Swimmer
Swimming is a great summer activity for you and your dog. A dip in the water is a fun way to cool off on a long walk or just a hot summer day. While not all dogs love to get wet, many breeds are overjoyed to go splashing in a creek, a lake, or even the ocean. Swimming is fine, but you have to make sure your dog dries off well afterward. You should pay special attention to the ears. Make sure your dog’s ears are thoroughly dried after a swim. It’s a good idea to go over the inside of the ear with a cotton ball after a swim to get it dry.
The concern with wet doggy ears is swimmer’s ear or another infection. Wet ears are a perfect breeding ground for bacteria and fungi. Dogs with floppy ears that fold over are especially prone to infection.
Some professional pet groomers will pluck the hair from inside a dog’s ear, but veterinarians recommend against it. The empty pores can ooze serum that becomes an excellent medium for infection. In general, your dog’s hair and fur are naturally suited to protect her, so try not to fool with it too much.
Protecting Your Dog’s Paws
During the warm summer months, your dog will probably be enjoying lots of outdoor activities. Outdoor activities are a great way to keep your dog healthy and active. But lots of running around outdoors means your pup’s paws are getting a lot more use than during the winter months. Paying attention to your dog’s paws is vital for their health and safety.
One common summertime doggy injury is burned paws. Have you ever stepped out of a swimming pool on a hot summer day and felt your feet burning on the hot deck? Your pup feels that way any time you walk on a hot surface. A good rule of thumb is that if you place your hand on the ground, sidewalk, sand, etc. and you can’t hold it down for 5 seconds, it’s too hot for your fur baby. One way to protect your dog’s feet is with dog booties, which you can get at most pet stores or online. You can also just avoid going outside at the hottest times of the day. Try walking your dog in the morning or evening when the sidewalk isn’t as hot.
Running around outdoors also means that your dog’s paws are exposed to rocks, rough dirt, and other damaging surfaces. Dogs are built to take a certain amount of outdoor activity. But if your dog is doing a lot of walking on rough surfaces, keep an eye on their paw pads. Look out for scratches, cuts, and cracks. If your dog’s paws are getting beat up, you can try some paw wax to help soothe and protect their paw pads.
If your dog is panting and seems overheated, wipe its paw pads with a cool, damp cloth. It will help cool your dog and also feels great.
Professional Dog Grooming
While there is plenty you can do to keep your dog healthy during the summer, a good professional grooming can be a welcome treat. Professional groomers can really get all the dead hair out of your dog’s coat, to maximize cooling air flow. If your dog is a breed that can be trimmed, a professional groomer can help trim your dog enough to stay cool but not enough to expose their skin to damage. Professional groomers are also experts at searching for fleas and ticks and might find something you missed.
If you’re looking for an exceptional professional groomer for your furry friend, TrustDALE has some great suggestions. Check out these TrustDALE certified dog groomers. You can be sure that a TrustDALE certified dog groomer offers top-notch services, great prices, and excellent customer service.