Summer means warmer weather, which means more time spent outdoors with your dog. And more time spent outdoors with your dog means more exposure to the elements!
Keep reading for some important do’s and don’ts of summer hygiene for dogs.
- If your dog’s coat calls for a summer cut, take him to the groomer for a professional trim to keep him cool in the hot summer sun. A shorter coat can also make it more difficult for ticks and other pests to latch onto your pup’s body.
- Shave your dog. You may think you’re doing Fido a favor, but this can actually do more harm than good. Your dog’s coat is already designed to act as built-in climate control, and cutting it any shorter than an inch or so could throw things out of whack. Plus, he needs that coat as natural protection against twigs, burrs, and sunburn.
By brushing your dog on a regular basis, you’re helping to remove excess hair, debris, and even pests. In fact, the more often you brush your dog, the less frequently he’ll need a bath.
- Gently work through any tangles or mats in the fur to keep your dog from developing hot spots.
- Brush your dog more often than you bathe him.
- Always use the appropriate tools for your dog’s coat.
- Use a brush designed for a dog with a different coat type.
- Wait until after bathing to brush. This could result in tangled fur, which will make brushing a lot less enjoyable for both you and your dog.
You certainly don’t need to go to a professional groomer anytime Fido is looking and smelling dirty, but it’s still important to follow proper protocol when it comes to giving your dog a bath.
- Give your dog regular baths, with most breeds needing baths approximately once per month. (Of course, that can change if your pup is extra dirty or has recently been exposed to fleas or ticks.)
- Brush before bathing.
- Use comfortable, lukewarm water.
- Work from the neck down, using a damp cloth and cup or handheld sprayer when near the face.
- Rinse multiple times to get all the shampoo out, as shampoo residue can irritate the skin.
- Dry your dog off thoroughly (ears included).
- Check out our Bath Time Tips for Pet Parents.
- Bathe your dog more than necessary. Excess baths can dry out the skin and coat, or even lead to hot spots when the weather is warm.
- Use human shampoo on your dog.
- Use water from the outside hose, unless you’re sure it’s a comfortable temperature.
Paws & Claws
Did you know that when the air temperature is 86 degrees, asphalt temperatures can reach 135 degrees?
- Protect your pup’s paws from the hot pavement by walking in shade or in the grass, and scheduling your walks for mornings and evenings when the sun isn’t at its peak. You can even have your dog wear booties for his paws, or paw wax or vaseline as a protective layer.
- Trim excess hair between your dog’s toes, as this could easily pick up debris such as burrs or pebbles and be pretty uncomfortable.
- Keep the nails trimmed.
- Check feet and paw pads regularly for any injuries.
- Force your dog to wear dog booties if he’s not comfortable with them.
- Try to trim your dog’s nails if you are uncomfortable with the situation. Leave it to the professional groomers instead.
- Have your dog walk on hot pavement if it’s too hot for you to stand barefoot.
Along with baths and brushing, summer may call for an extra attentive skin care routine—especially if sunburn, seasonal allergies, and pests are in the mix.
- Conduct regular home health checks to look for any skin abnormalities on your dog.
- Use sun protection on your dog when you’re planning to spend extended periods of time in the sun.
- Stay up-to-date on your dog’s flea and tick defense.
- Maintain a healthy diet and low-stress lifestyle, as poor nutrition and stress can negatively impact your dog’s skin health.
- Try to handle injuries on your own. Whenever possible, go to the vet instead.
- Use human skincare products on dogs. Any sunscreen, shampoos, bug sprays, and more should all be designed specifically for dogs.
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Chlorhexidine Shampoo—great for cleansing and reducing odor, especially for pets with wounds, rashes, hot spots, and excessive itchiness.
OTIC Ear Cleaner—a gentle way to keep your dog’s ears clean and dry after bathing and swimming by washing away pathogens, dirt, excessive wax, and bacteria.
- Oral Hygiene Dental Water—a vet-recommended tasteless, odorless solution made with natural ingredients to support your dog’s gums and dental health while keeping his breath smelling fresh!