Summer—a season for picnics and water fun. Longer days and warm weather makes us want to get ourselves and our dogs outside to soak up some sun and get some exercise.
Maintaining our dogs’ grooming routines is important. It’s not all about looking good, it’s about keeping a close eye on the condition of our dogs’ skin, ears and nails, solving small problems before they become big ones.
Some dogs require the services of a professional groomer, all dogs benefit from a good brushing, and you don’t have to be a pro to do that. A dog’s best friend is a brush appropriate for his coat type, one that strips out loose hair so air can flow against his skin. Regular brushing can prevent mats, which are painful and they also trap heat and moisture and can result in skin infections.
Resist the urge to shave down your dogs, particularly those with double coats, who can be quite comfortable as long as those coats are well cared for. Whatever the length and composition, a dog’s coat provides built-in climate control as well as a first line of defense against sunburn, twigs and stickers.
This is also the time of year to be particularly alert about ticks and fleas. The former can carry disease and the latter can quickly set up housekeeping on your dog—and in your house—if not managed. While your dog may or may not agree, adding an extra bath or two is also a good summer strategy. Brush before and after, choose a shampoo that’s a good match for his skin and coat.
Check your dog’s ears regularly. Dogs whose ears fold over are prone to ear infections, which wet ears promote. After your dog takes a dip, wipe the inside earflap gently with a cotton ball; if your vet says it’s okay, you can also use drops that contain a drying agent. According to the Dog Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook, a drop of white vinegar will also help prevent “swimmer’s ear.”
Continue to brush your dog’s teeth and pay attention to his paws. Check between his toes for ticks, other debris, and trim his nails.