As we enjoy the warmer weather over the summer months, many of us take to wearing fewer clothes and stepping up our grooming routine as a result! It’s important to consider this for your pets too – maintaining their usual grooming and also considering how to best adapt and increase it for the season to help them stay healthy and comfortable.
Regular grooming can help dogs to stay cool over the summer, although as our furry friends’ bodies are designed to help them with this naturally they may in fact need less than you think. It’s easy to assume that shaving the coat of dogs with thick fur is a helpful way to reduce their body temperature; however, this is a common myth amongst owners, as most often this can actually have the opposite effect. Despite its appearance, dogs’ fur has its very own ‘climate-control’ properties which work to keep them cool in the heat, so unless your dog seems to be particularly struggling with a long coat then it’s best to leave it natural. Shaving shorthaired breeds means their skin will be more exposed to the sun and at risk of sunburn, so this is especially not advisable. The same applies for cats, who are generally good at keeping themselves cool by seeking out sheltered, shady areas, and so with little benefit to being shaved their coat should be left to work as a protective barrier against any direct sunlight.
When it comes to ensuring a healthy looking and feeling coat, frequent bathing and brushing or combing of your dog’s fur will have the most benefits for this. Regular brushing (daily if possible) helps to remove any remains of their winter coat, allowing the air to circulate properly down to their skin, and reducing any mats that can trap heat and moisture beneath them which becomes a source of discomfort. Grooming might not be their favourite activity, but bathing is also important in summer for a healthy coat, and it’s worth increasing the number of baths you give them to help with this, and wash flea dirt from their coats too. There are special pet-friendly shampoos available that contain ingredients which work to help repel fleas and ticks, and so are great to use during bath time especially in the summer. Brushing either side of bathing is good for maximising the benefits, plus it means a nice pampering session for your furry pal!
Finally, nails are another significant part of summer grooming for dogs. As they’re likely to spend even more time than normal outside playing and for walks, making sure their nails are properly trimmed and well-maintained will prevent them becoming too long and therefore reduce the chances of them catching or breaking. Be sure to check them more regularly than you do in winter, and keep up with regular trimming of the tips as doing this little and often can be less traumatic than removing large amounts infrequently. We all know it’s not the nicest activity for them (or us!), so try cutting your dog’s nails just after bathing when they’re slightly softer as this should make it easier and cause less discomfort. Don’t forget to give them lots of praise for good behaviour and some treats afterwards as a reward, and that way they won’t mind having it done more regularly over summer!