Summer is finally here – The air is warm with life and the sun warms our skin after being cozied up indoors all winter long. However, for Fido, summer doesn’t always mean good things lie ahead. Although most dogs do shed, sometimes it is not enough for the warm summer months. They may feel uncomfortable with their furry coat and spend their summers panting and exhausted. Other dogs may lack fur, which can result in a painful sunburn on their bare skin. Since our furry companions can’t speak up about their aches and pains, it’s important to be proactive and make accommodations for your pup during the warmest months of the year. Here are some steps you can take:
For Dogs with Long or Thick Coats
One way to keep your dog comfortable during the warmer days of the year is to opt-in for a short haircut. If you spend a lot of time outdoors partaking in activities such as gardening, hiking, or going to the beach, it may be a great idea to keep your pet’s coat short. Not only will this style keep your dog cool, but it is also easier to identify fleas, ticks, and other pests that enjoy your pet’s skin during the summer.
If your dog enjoys spending time in the pool, this is another reason for clipping their hair short. Pool water contains chemicals that can cause damage to your pet’s coat if their coat is long. This results in matted fur or a bad stench that stems from a wet, tangled coat. For reasons more related to hygiene, it is a great idea to cut your dog’s fur if they use a pool to escape the summer heat.
Risks of Sun Exposure
Keeping your dog cool isn’t the only thing you should worry about – you should also consider the amount of sun exposure your dog gets on a daily basis. Commonly, dogs are sensitive to the sun in areas where their fur is sparse – such as their nose or their groin area. However, some dogs have naturally sparse hair. If your dog has minimal fur, the sun can pose a serious threat and they can develop conditions similar to humans, such as melanoma. If you can see your dog’s skin, you may have to take extra precautions and use a light-colored doggie t-shirt or doggie sunscreen.
However, be careful when choosing a sunscreen for your dog. Many sunscreens contain zinc oxide, which is not harmful to humans but can have negative effects on your dog if they ingest it. There are many safe brands to choose from and are widely available in pet stores. Like always, make sure to do your research before committing to any product, and to consult your veterinarian if you run into any complications.
Summer is an exciting time and the warm days are great for outdoor activities. However, you should consider your pet as well and ask yourself: is their coat going to cause them to overheat? Is their skin susceptible to sunburn? If your answer to these questions is yes, make sure to either visit a groomer or invest in sun protection.