Summer means lots of things for your dog. Longer days provide more opportunities to play and warm weather means more time spent outside walking or swimming. However, it also means that some summer dog grooming adjustments may have to be made. You know that winter calls for specific dog grooming requirements, and summer has some requirements of its own.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about keeping your furry friend cool and healthy during summer!
1. Stop Before You Shave
Seeing your dog with a full coat of hair in hot summer weather can lead you to believe that a shave is necessary, your dog’s coat actually helps keep him cool. In winter this coat works to insulate your dog from the cold and during summer it keeps him from overheating. This is why avoiding shaving is our number one summer grooming tip!
Here’s how: your dog’s coat has multiple layers that work together as a cooling system to keep him comfortable, making each layer necessary. Removing this can not only cause discomfort, but it can also lead to overheating and even sunburns.
Of course, a trim or what’s known as a “summer cut” is ok as long as you’re not removing too much of his coat or shaving down to his skin. Because you don’t want to get too carried away with a summer cut, it may be best to go to a professional dog groomer.
The good news is that it’s ok if you don’t want to do anything to your dog’s hair! Because his coat will naturally shed to lighten up during summer and it works as a natural cooling system, a trim isn’t actually required. It’s all up to your preference for your dog. However, you’ll still need to brush and bathe your dog regularly and we’ll get into this in the following sections.
2. Brush Regularly
As you know, brushing regularly is an important part of your regular dog grooming routine that shouldn’t be neglected. It reduces shedding and keeps your dog’s coat clean, but it also keeps your dog cool when done regularly as part of your summer dog grooming routine! Regular brushing will also give you the opportunity to keep an eye on his skin, allowing you to spot irregularities like infections, allergies, fleas, or ticks. Fleas and ticks thrive during summer and because you and your dog are more likely to play outside during these months, he’s more likely to pick them up. Brushing often and spotting any of these issues as soon as possible will keep your dog cool and healthy!
In addition to spotting skin irregularities, brushing will prevent mats from developing. Just like in winter, mats can irritate your dog’s skin during summer by trapping moisture from the humidity in the air. Regularly brushing your dog’s coat will also remove dead hairs, help circulation, and keep the natural cooling system that his coat provides working as it should.
3. Bathe Regularly, But Not Too Often
Summer heat may make you think that you need to bathe your dog more often than you usually would in order to keep him cool, but when it comes to summer dog grooming, it’s best to stick to his regular bathing schedule. Bathing too often will strip away oils from your dog’s skin, leading to dry and itchy skin as well as a dry coat. If you feel it’s necessary to clean your dog in between baths, it’s best to use a leave-in conditioner along with a damp towel to wipe him off. Finally, remember to always use a shampoo that’s specifically formulated for dogs. Anything that isn’t meant for dogs can irritate his skin as well.
4. Keep an Eye Out for Fleas and Ticks
As we mentioned in the brushing section, fleas and ticks thrive during summer, so it’s important to regularly check your dog when it comes to his summer dog grooming.
Always check for ticks after taking him for a walk in a wooded or grassy area. Ticks tend to grab onto a dog’s head and ears while they sniff, so be extra cautious in this area. Checking your dog immediately after a walk is important because ticks will embed into the skin within a few hours, potentially transmitting disease.
Being aware of the symptoms of fleas is very important as well. The most common symptom is itching, but some dogs don’t scratch. When brushing, keep an eye out for fleas, eggs, and dirt-black specks of flea waste. Having a flea comb on hand will help you find and remove fleas while investing in flea and tick shampoo will help repel them.
5. Your Dog’s Paws Need Extra Care
Beautiful summer days mean you and your dog will be going out for plenty of walks, but the sun will quickly heat up sidewalks and asphalt. Your dog’s paw pads are very sensitive, so this heat can end up being very painful.
Fortunately, there are ways to avoid burning your dog’s paws without missing out on walks during sunny days. Walking early in the morning or late in the evening will provide your dog with cool ground to walk on. If you’re not sure if the ground is too hot for your dog to walk on, test it out with your hand. If you can’t keep your hand on the ground for at least five seconds, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws. If you know you’ll be out with your dog when the ground is hot, you can also get some outdoor dog boots for him to wear. You’ll have to get him used to walking with shoes on, but it’s a great way to protect his paws!
You may also want to apply paw wax to your dog’s paw pads during his summer dog grooming routine to prevent them from becoming dry and cracked. In addition to this, keep in mind that wetting a dog’s paw pads can cool them down when overheating. Use a cold, damp cloth to wipe his paw pads if you feel that he’s overheating.
Finally, remember to regularly check between his toes for ticks, foxtails, brambles, or other debris. Being outside more often means it’ll be more likely for him to get something stuck between his toes!
6. Clean His Ears Regularly
Taking care of your dog’s ears is an especially important part of summer dog grooming. Hot, humid summer weather can turn your dog’s ears into a breeding ground for yeast and bacteria, leading to ear infections. In addition to this, dogs that love to swim have an increased risk of developing ear infections.
Clean your dog’s ears on a weekly basis and remember to gently wipe them with a cotton ball after swimming. You’ll want to speak with your vet before adding this to your dog’s routine, but ear drops containing a drying agent may be beneficial after a swim as well.
Fon Jon Pet Care is Here to Help With Your Summer Dog Grooming Needs!
At Fon Jon Pet Care, we know the importance of pet cleanliness, and we also know that grooming your pet yourself isn’t always easy. This is why we have a full-time pet groomer on staff who is here to provide all of your dog grooming needs, such as bathing, nail trimming, ear cleaning, brushing, and de-shedding. Whether your pet just needs a basic bath or a full spa day, we’re here to provide it for you!
We have more than 70 years of experience providing top-quality dog boarding, grooming, daycare, and training in San Diego County. Visit our website or call us at (858) 490-2117 to learn more about our dog daycare options, like private dog daycare, and our requirements. You can also make easily make an appointment online!