With the arrival of the warm weather it’s important to take proactive measures to keep your dog cool. Most owners know the benefits of avoiding hot pavements and providing plenty of fluids and shade, however the topic of summer grooming is less understood.
In this blog we outline some of our top summer dog grooming tips, to help ensure your dog remains healthy and comfortable throughout the warmer months.
Shaving and trimming
There is a common misconception that shaving your dog’s fur will provide a welcome relief from the heat. In reality it can actually have an adverse effect and cause a host of problems. Shaving your dog can expose delicate pink skin, which can lead to sunburn, skin irritation and increased risk of skin cancer.
Double coated breeds such as Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds and Huskies have two layers of fur; a fluffy undercoat, which helps keep the warm in the summer and a coarser top coat of guard hairs, which protect them from the elements. Shaving these breeds can negatively affect the way their body has adapted to regulate their own temperature. It can also cause irreversible changes to the texture of your dog’s coat and cause the hair to grow back differently.
Breeds with thick and heavy coats or hair that grows quickly, may however benefit from a slight trim. We recommend visiting a professional dog groomer to do this as they will have an in-depth knowledge and experience of the different requirements for each specific breed.
As the weather gets warmer dogs will naturally shed the hair that has been keeping them insulated over winter. Helping remove this can be an effective way of keeping your pets cool. Use a brush every other day to remove loose hair as your dog moults. Poodle crosses undercoat can often get trapped as they moult, which can lead to matting and knots. Brushing will help them get rid of this.
Bathing can be an excellent way of keeping your dog cool this summer. However, it’s important not to wash your dog too regularly as it can interfere with the balance of natural oils in their coat and lead to itching and skin irritation. It’s also important to only use specialist dog shampoos as human formulas may be too acidic.
In the spring and summer our pets tend to spend more time outdoors and walks are often on softer ground or grass. This means that their nails can get long, causing them to catch or snag, which can lead to a painful injury. Therefore, in the warmer months owners should be particularly diligent at ensuring nails are cut. We understand this can be daunting to do at home, therefore our nurses can do this for you. Nail clipping is also part of our Dave Cumber Vets Pet Health Club.
Whilst cutting your dog’s nails you should take time to careful check over the pads of their paws and between their toes for grass seeds. These are particularly prevalent in the summer and can become lodged in your pets skin.
The hot weather can cause bacteria to fester in pets’ ears, which can lead to painful ear infections. Dogs who spend a lot of time swimming in the sea, lakes or rivers are particularly prone to this. To prevent infection clean your dog’s ears with a cotton ball after they’ve been in the water or use a special wet wipe, which are available in most pet shops.
Flea and tick treatment
Fleas and ticks are common in the heat of the summer, therefore it is important to administer flea and tick prevention. Regular grooming can help you spot these parasites early, allowing you to remove and treat them quickly before they become a problem.
Just like humans, your dogs exposed skin is at risk of burning and sun damage. Protect them from the sun’s harmful UV rays by applying a pet approved sunscreen to areas that are not shielded by fur, such as the belly, ears and nose. White haired dogs or short haired breeds are particularly susceptible to sun damage, so extra care should be taken to ensure they are well protected from the sun.
If you require additional information on summer grooming or our Pet Health Club, which includes year-round flea and parasite treatment as well as nail clipping services, please contact our friendly reception team who will be more than happy to help.