Essential Tips for Grooming Your Dog in the Summer

When Mother Nature turns up the heat not only does your dog feel it, but the summer weather also opens the door to tons of problems with his coat by bringing with it bugs and mud.

Rather than spend tons of cash taking your dog to the groomer every other week, it’s best to learn a few basic tricks to keeping him clean at home. You’ll save money and your pup will be eternally grateful for your help.

DO NOT Shave Her

Contrary to popular belief, warm weather doesn’t necessitate going all military barber on your dog’s beautiful fur. In fact, this can actually be counterproductive to maintaining her health. A dog’s undercoat reflects light and helps keep her cool through a process often called lofting, which essentially turns it into a built-in air conditioner. Cutting it could destroy the coat’s natural function as well as cause it to grow back in the wrong way. Always be sure to check with your veterinarian to see if your breed is one that’s better off with her coat long and in tact, like a Husky or German Shepherd. Of course if your dog is a non shedding breed, regular haircuts will be necessary.

But Brush Often

The best way to handle your dog’s coat is to brush it thoroughly and often. We’re not talking five times a day here, but at least once a day for longer coated dogs and once or twice a week for those with shorter fur. It’ll keep the coat from becoming tangled which will in turn trap dirt, as well as help you check for harmful buggers like ticks. Different coats require different brushes, so ask your vet which kind works best for your specific breed’s fur.

Increase Bathing

With summer comes more opportunities for your dog to get a little dirty, so you’ll want to increase the amount of baths you give her when it begins to get hot. Not only will it help remove excess grass, mud and dander but it’s a great way to keep parasites like ticks and fleas at bay. Be sure to look for a shampoo that soothes skin to reduce the chances of irritation and itchiness. If you’re unsure of what brand to buy your vet will certainly be able to give you some great advice. Oatmeal and eucalyptus-based shampoos usually do well in the summer.

Inspect the Ears

Your dog’s ears are prone to infection, especially if she’s one of the adorably floppy-eared breeds. During the summer you’ll want to take extra care to dry her ears after a swim or bath. While a groomer might suggest plucking the hair from a dog’s ear canal, this can actually lead to infection in moist conditions so it’s best avoided. To dry your dog’s ears try using a cotton ball and gently rub the inside flap until the water is gone. Never insert anything into your dog’s ear canal! Leave inner ear cleaning to the professional.

Trim the Nails

Since your dog is likely more active outdoors during the summer months there’s a better chance that she’ll break a nail on logs or rocks while she’s at play. To combat this you need to remain vigilant when it comes to keep them trimmed. You don’t want to cut them too often, or too short, but a weekly trim should do. You’ll know when they’ve gotten too long by the clicking sounds you’ll hear when your pup walks on hard surfaces.

Look for Foreign Objects

Twigs and rocks can get lodged into your dog’s paw pads after some rigorous play out in the yard. That’s why it’s important to always check them once they come inside. If you notice your dog limping that could mean some damage has already been done, so a quick inspection each day can head off injury.

Skin Checks

Finally, you’ll want to pay close attention to your dog’s skin during the middle of the year. That’s because more allergens are loose this time of year that could cause your dog’s skin to become dry or irritated. Your dog might also be susceptible to infections like ringworm. Be sure to look over your dog’s skin while you brush her to ensure that everything is A-OK.

Meet the Author: Ben Kerns

Ben Kerns is a freelance writer, photographer and outdoor adventurer based out of San Diego. When he’s not busy working you can find him hopping across the world looking for new places to climb big rocks. He’s also fanatically obsessed with funding his outdoor obsessions for as little money as possible. This stuff gets expensive.

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