Grooming doesn’t just make our dogs look beautiful, it’s also a critical part of caring for their coats and skin. Regular grooming can prevent mats, skin infections, pests infections, and excessive itching. While different breeds of dogs have varying grooming needs, there are some general tips that any dog owner can manage.
Read on for specific summer grooming tips to keep your dog comfortable and cool all summer long.
Everyone knows that the majority of dogs shed, but did you know that regular brushing reduces shedding and allergens? Brushing also helps to loosen their thick undercoat to help keep him cool during the soaring temperatures.
Meg Marrs, founder and CEO of K9 of Mine, says, “Regular brushing will work out any mats that may have developed in your dog’s coat. Mats are troublesome in the summer, as they trap moisture from the humidity and irritate your pooch’s skin.”
It’s crucial to use the right grooming tools, such as dog brushes to yield the best results. For example, double-coated dogs, such as Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds, require a slicker brush and a rake for the undercoat. Single-coated dogs can be brushed thoroughly with a comb and a pin brush. It might seem daunting to brush an entire dog thoroughly. However, start in small increments and reward them to ensure they view grooming as a positive way to bond with you.
It’s important to keep your dog fresh and clean, but resist the urge to bathe him too often, as this will dry out their skin and make them more itchy. Instead, bathe them about once every month or so. Some important tips to remember for bathing:
- Avoid getting water in their ears.
- Prevent shampoo and/or conditioner from getting in their eyes.
- Brush your dog to get rid of mats and loose fur before getting him wet.
- Start at the neck and work your way down.
- Use a specific dog shampoo for washing to ensure it won’t irritate their skin.
- Never use hot water, use lukewarm water instead.
- Rinse thoroughly. Leftover soap residue can penetrate their skin and cause irritation.
- Tether your dog to bathe him safely at a grooming or washing facility. If your pooch is intimidated by the bathing process, ensure he cannot escape and cause injury to himself or you in the process.
This is an essential component of grooming year round, especially during the summer. Wax and buildup from pollens, water sources, and other irritants can cause ear infections. Especially for dogs who have floppy ears, this can exacerbate the issue. Keep an eye on your dog’s ears and use a vet-approved drying solution if needed. Wiping your dog’s ears gently with a clean cotton ball after swimming can also help prevent “swimmer’s ear.” If you notice gunk buildup, you might want to contact your veterinarian.
Fleas and ticks thrive during the summer. If you frequent hiking trails, swimming holes, campsites or the like, ensure your dog is current with flea and tick preventatives. Depending on where you live, keep an eye out for brambles, burs, and foxtails that can get lodged between toes and paw pads. If you notice excessive itching, inspect your pup for these pesky critters.
This is not an exhaustive list, but it’s enough to get pet owners on the right path to a happy, healthy dog for the summer months and beyond.