For many dog breeds, summer is the season for fresh haircuts. Grooming isn’t just about appearance, though. It’s also about keeping your dog clean and comfortable.
Grooming is also a prime opportunity to perform a home health check. Plus, the quality time you spend grooming your pooch can also be a great bonding experience for the two of you. Whether you prefer the DIY method altogether or take your dog to a professional groomer and focus on home maintenance between visits, it’s helpful to know about summer grooming tips for your furry friend.
Dog Grooming Supplies
When grooming your dog, you’ll want to make sure you have the appropriate supplies for his specific breed and coat type. This includes:
A brushing tool appropriate for your dog’s coat: straight or curly, double coat or single coat, long hair or short hair, etc.
High-quality shampoo appropriate for your dog’s skin and fur. Depending on your dog’s needs, you may opt for a de-shedding shampoo, or a soothing shampoo such as Pet Honesty’s Allergy Itch Relief Shampoo.
Professional clippers or scissors, using different tools for hair trimming and nail trimming.
- Plenty of treats to reward your good boy for cooperating—after all, future grooming will be much easier if your dog has a positive association with the experience.
Regular brushing with the appropriate tool can help to remove dirt and debris from your pup’s fur. It also helps to activate and distribute natural oils, adding some sleek and shine to his coat.
Brushing can also help to keep your dog’s shedding under control, as the brush or comb will pick up loose or dead fur before it ends up on your clothes and around the house. For those seasonal shedders who lighten up their coats in preparation for the warmer months, regular brushing may be a game changer!
When it comes to keeping your dog cool, it’s also important to work out any mats in the fur. These clumps can trap moisture and heat, and eventually lead to skin irritation.
The more often you brush your dog, the less often he will need a bath. Depending on your dog’s breed and lifestyle, this could range from daily to weekly or monthly.
You certainly don’t need to go to a professional groomer anytime you want to give your dog a bath, especially if he spends a lot of time outside and is often found covered in dirt and debris. For a self dog wash, be sure to follow the proper protocol.
For starters, always brush before bathing. This can help to remove any debris, dead hair, and mats, which will make post-bath brushing much easier.
Additionally, be sure to use a shampoo formulated specifically for dogs. Because canine skin PH is different from humans, sharing your personal shampoo would be counterproductive.
Using cool or lukewarm water (NOT hot), work from the neck down. Use a wet cloth for the face to protect your pup’s eyes, ears, and mouth. To make it easier to control the direction of the water, work with a handheld sprayer or cup.
Rinse several times, as any shampoo left behind could lead to skin irritation.
When it comes to drying, use a towel and prioritize the paws to avoid slips and falls, along with the ears to prevent infection. (If your dog spends a lot of time swimming, it’s also a good idea to check the ears regularly.)
To Shave or Not To Shave?
It may be tempting to shave your dog’s fur in an effort to keep him cool, but this could actually do more harm than good. Most well-cared-for coats are designed for climate control, in addition to protecting against sunburn and foreign bodies such as twigs and burrs.
Depending on breed, though, a fresh summer cut could be helpful for reducing your dog’s body heat during the warmer months. Even with a buzzcut, you’ll want to leave at least one inch of hair on Fido’s body for protection.
Generally speaking, it’s best to leave haircuts to the professionals for safety’s sake. If your dog’s fur is growing over his eyes and blocking his vision, you can try carefully giving him an at-home trim if you’re not able to make it to the groomer.
Paws & Claws
If you hear clicking and clacking as your dog walks around, then it’s definitely time for a nail trim. Use the appropriate tools, but be sure to avoid the quick (the tender pink area near the paw). To be safe, it’s best to stick with trimming the area ahead of the nail’s natural curve.
Check between your dog’s toes for any ticks or other debris that may have gotten stuck. Trimming excess hair around the area is also a good way to prevent foreign objects from getting trapped in the paw.
If your dog struggles with summertime dryness and cracking, you can apply some paw wax or balm along the paw pads. This could also provide a degree of protection against hot pavement or sand.
However, keep in mind that if it’s too hot for you to walk barefoot, it’s probably too hot for Fido, too. To be safe, try to schedule your daily walks for early mornings or evenings, when the sun isn’t at its peak.
If your pooch spends a lot of time outside, you’ll want to take some extra measures to protect against fleas and ticks. If they aren’t removed as soon as possible, they could lead to health issues down the road. Use a comb or tick-specific tool to inspect your pup’s fur and skin after being outside; you can also opt for shampoos specifically formulated to keep fleas and ticks at bay.