With hotter temperatures, more outside time, and the pleasure of water play, your pup is going to be busy this summer, and you want them to be as comfortable as possible. Did you know that proper grooming can help to keep dogs cool? Here, we look at some summer-specific dog grooming tips and how to groom a dog effectively all year.
What You Need to Know About Dog Grooming
Grooming is essentially dog cleaning: the practice of keeping your canine’s hygiene in tip-top shape. This includes brushing your dog’s coat and trimming it when necessary, bathing your dog, and trimming their nails. Some people also partake in special grooming habits for specific breeds such as cording, which is essentially doggie dreadlocks. This practice is popular for the breeds Havanese, Komondor, and some poodles. Here’s what you need to know about summer grooming:
- Grooming keeps your dog comfortable
- Different breeds will need to have grooming practices
- Grooming is essential in the summer months
- Grooming can help you bond with your dog
Why Is Grooming Important for Dogs?
Dog grooming is important throughout the year, not just during the summer. Keeping your pet’s coat, nails, and skin healthy and clean is vital to your pet’s comfort and happiness. Some risks of improper grooming or no grooming at all include a matted coat, broken nails, and skin infections – all of which can be painful for your pooch.
Different Breeds Have Different Needs
Different breeds of dogs will have different grooming needs. Some animals are extremely high maintenance for their coats and might even require professional grooming services. Poodles fall in this category – toy, standard, and miniature – along with Afghan Hounds and Bichon Frise. Fun Fact: Both poodles and Bichon Frise actually have hair, not fur! Dogs with hair are typically considered hypoallergenic.
Summer Means Your Dog Is Outside More
Many people start thinking about dog grooming in the hotter months because they wonder if their dog’s coat makes them uncomfortable. This is not necessarily true, so don’t jump for the clippers just yet – more on why you shouldn’t shave your dog below.
But there are other reasons to take your pet’s hygiene care seriously in the summertime. Most dogs spend more time outside, getting dirty, swimming, hiking, and playing in the mud. This means their coats, skin, and nails might need a little extra TLC.
Look at Grooming as Bonding
Grooming can be a wonderful way to spend meaningful time with your pet and establish trust. While bath time might not be the favorite of many canines, being brushed is often a pleasant experience. The time you spend caring for your pet’s health and hygiene can be special for both of you.
Summer Dog Grooming Tips
From why you shouldn’t shave your dog’s coat to how to give your dog a proper brushing, we’ve gathered our top dog grooming tips for the summer. If you’re whipping out the clippers and the dog shampoo, here are some things to keep in mind about grooming your dog at home (and when you should consider a professional):
- Haircuts are good but don’t shave your dog
- The ins and outs of doggie manicures
- Everything you need to know about brushing
- Why bath time is important
- Don’t forget the ears
Consider a Haircut – But Not a Shave
Veterinarians and animal experts are pretty firmly united in this opinion: you shouldn’t shave your dog’s coat. Your pet’s coat has evolved to provide insulation which can actually keep them cooler in the summer months. Shaving your dog down to the skin puts her at risk of heatstroke and sunburn.
A haircut, on the other hand, can be a nice way to lighten up your dog’s fur load in the summer months. Don’t cut your dog’s fur any shorter than one inch, and be very careful while trimming around sensitive areas like the face and toes. If a haircut is on your list of dog grooming to-dos, you might want to consider using a professional dog groomer.
Trimming Your Dog’s Nails
Grooming your dog’s nails is another task that you might consider leaving to a professional. Many dogs have black nails, so you can’t see where the nail ends and the nail bed – or the quick – begins. If you trim the quick, you’ll injure your pet. Most dog owners prefer to hand this task over to someone who has the proper tools and knows what they’re doing.
If you’re really passionate about clipping your dog at home, you’ll need a dog-specific nail grinder or nail trimmer. Trim carefully and slowly and if your dog seems stressed, stop and give them a break.
Dog Grooming Tips for Brushing Your Dog
Brushing your dog should be a consistent ritual, especially for dogs with thick coats. Not only does it reduce shedding, but it can also keep your dog cooler in the summer. Mats can make your dog hot, and they can also increase the moisture in your pet’s coat, which can cause skin infections. By brushing your dog regularly, you take away excess hair and prevent the mats that might cause them to overheat.
When you’re brushing your dog, it’s a great opportunity to give them some love and praise. It also allows you to examine their skin thoroughly for any signs of poor health, such as lesions, cuts, or rashes. You’ll also want to check between your pet’s toes for stubborn plants like brambles or burrs, as well as ticks.
Be sure to use the right type of brush for your dog’s coat. For dogs with a double coat, such as Huskies, Golden Retrievers, and Labradors, you’ll want to use a smoother brush with wider-set bristles. For dogs with a single coat – like Maltese, Jack Russel Terriers, and Poodles – you can use a more tightly-knit pin brush.
Bath Time! Effective Dog Cleaning in Hot Weather
A dog will rarely be thrilled about bath time, but that doesn’t reduce its importance. Daily bathing is seldom recommended for a dog, but your pet should be getting soapy and clean with some regularity – especially during the summer months when ticks and fleas are rampant. Bathing your dog every month or two should be plenty unless they can’t resist a good mud puddle.
Brushing should be done before and after a bath to ensure your dog gets as clean as possible. Choose a high-quality shampoo that is specifically formulated for dogs, not people. Human shampoo strips oils, which is not what we want for our pooch’s coat. After you’ve gotten your hound nice and lathered up from the neck down, pay close attention to the rinsing process. It’s essential to get all the shampoo off of your dog because it might cause irritation. Rinse a few times to be sure.
Protect Swimming Dogs from Ear Infections
After your dog has been swimming and after a bath, you need to care for your pet’s ears to prevent infection. Especially for our floppy-eared buddies, water in the ears can often result in infection. If you dry your dog with a towel, don’t forget the inside of his ears. You can also use a cotton ball to wipe down any excess water. Don’t put anything small in your pet’s ear like a q-tip because it might hurt your animal’s eardrum.
Summer Fun for Everyone with Proper Dog Grooming
Dog grooming is crucial to your pet’s enjoyment of summer and every other season. Not only can proper grooming keep dogs cool in the summertime, but it’s a wonderful way to bond with your pet and show them love. With these grooming tips, you can keep your pet’s hair, skin, and nails in great shape so they can enjoy all your fun adventures!