As we look forward to those warm summer days filled with dog-friendly outdoor adventures, it’s important to be aware of any changes to your dog’s grooming routine that may accompany the change of seasons.
Grooming isn’t just about aesthetic appeal; providing your pooch with the right kind of summertime care is also important for keeping him clean and comfortable as he faces the summer heat.
Is your pup prepared for summer? Read on for some expert summer grooming tips to keep your dog feeling safe and healthy all summer long.
Tip #1: Know the Right Coat Length for Your Dog
As temperatures rise, it may be tempting to shave your dog’s fur in an effort to keep him cool. For some dogs, though, this can actually do more harm than good.
Most canine coats are designed to act as built-in climate control, so giving your pup a close shave can throw things out of whack. If your dog is a seasonal shedder, you’re likely well aware of the fact that his coat already has a natural tendency to change with the seasons.
While a fresh summer haircut can be helpful for reducing your dog’s body heat on those hot days, you’ll typically want to leave at least one inch of length on Fido’s body to protect him from the elements—sunburn and foreign bodies as twigs and burrs, for example.
If you’re not sure what type of haircut would suit your dog best this summer, we advise taking him to a professional groomer for some personalized insight.
Tip #2: Brush Your Dog Regularly
While you may choose to leave Fido’s haircuts to the professionals, there are definitely some things you can handle on your own—like brushing, for starters.
With regular brushing, you’ll be helping to remove dirt and debris from your dog’s fur. Brushing also helps to activate and distribute natural oils, keeping Fido’s coat looking sleek and shiny. Plus, working out any mats in the fur can reduce the likelihood of those uncomfortable hot spots.
Brushing can also help to keep your dog’s seasonal shedding under control, as it collects some of that loose or dead fur before it ends up all over your house. Your clothes and furniture will thank you!
The more you brush your dog’s coat, the less often he’ll need a bath. (Of course, that can all go out the window if your pup was part of an exceptionally messy outdoor adventure, or if he’s been exposed to pests such as fleas or ticks.)
Tip #3: Take Breaks Between Baths
Many of us humans sweat more in the summer, meaning we take more showers than we would in the winter. While more baths may seem like a logical solution to keeping your dog cool during the warm summer months, we actually advise against bathing your dog more than you normally would.
Bathing too frequently can irritate your pup’s skin, as it strips the coat of its natural oils and dries out the skin. Instead of adding more baths to your dog’s routine, be extra diligent about brushing to remove any dirt and debris from his coat.
Many dogs are prone to seasonal allergies. If your pup struggles with itchy skin or other allergy-related skin issues such as hot spots, try Pet Honesty’s Anti-Itch Allergy Shampoo once it’s time for Fido’s regularly-scheduled bath.
Tip #4: Keep Your Dog’s Ears Clean and Dry
During baths, this could mean gently placing a dry cotton ball at the top of the ear canal. You’ll likely find that you need to switch it out a few times during each bath, as a wet cotton ball will allow water to get in the ear.
You’ll also want to thoroughly dry your dog’s ears after swimming or playing in water.
Pet Honesty’s easy-to-use OTIC Ear Cleaner and Drier is a gentle way to clean your pet’s ears, with a carefully-formulated pH balance to help with itchiness, odors, redness, and more to keep your dog’s ears feeling clean and fresh.
Tip #5: Pamper Your Pup’s Paws
Your dog may not need to worry about getting a summer pedicure before switching to sandals, but it’s still important to provide the proper care for your pup’s paws.
Long summer days may call for longer walks, but be mindful of the temperature. Because we wear shoes, we don’t often realize just how hot that sun-soaked pavement can get. Did you know that when the air temperature is 86 degrees Fahrenheit, asphalt temperatures can reach 135 degrees?
If it’s too hot for you to stand or walk barefoot, it’s probably too hot for your dog. Protect his paws from hot pavement by scheduling your walks for times when the sun isn’t at its peak—early mornings and late evenings, for example. It’s also helpful to stay in the shade and allow your dog to walk on grass whenever possible.
You can also apply paw wax or vaseline to your dog’s paw pads as a protective layer, or even invest in some dog shoes or booties. Just keep in mind that not all dogs are fans of this option!
Additionally, check between your dog’s toes every so often for ticks or other debris that may have gotten stuck. Give that excess fur a trim to keep foreign objects from getting trapped in his paws.
For more summer preparedness tips, check out our blog on summer safety tips for your pet!