Summer Dog Grooming Guide
The Australian climate presents our four-legged friends with some pretty challenging weather at times. It’s important to consider our pets’ comfort during the hot, dry and often dusty summer months—especially if they’re accustomed to travelling away for the holidays or going on outdoor adventures with the kids.
We’ve put together what we think is the essential guide for summer grooming, with our tips for making sure they get through it healthy, happy and full of energy. That’s not to say your pooch or kitty won’t look super stylish once we’re done, it’s just important to keep in mind the main areas that need attention in summer and groom accordingly.
The main areas of concern are:
- Paws and nails
Summer grooming: the ears
Ears are one of your pets’ most important assets but a troublesome one come the warmer months. As it’s been very humid and wet of late, the ears are the perfect environment for ticks.
Ticks should be checked for regularly throughout the summer months and in and behind the ears are one of their favourite hiding places. Learn more about ticks here.
If you’re in the habit of taking your dog along for a summer holiday adventure, then the chances are she’ll end up taking a nice refreshing dip sooner or later (your cat, not so much). Ear infections from swimming, also known as “swimmers’ ear”, are very common in dogs during summer, especially breeds that have folding ears.
Swims should be followed by gently drying the inside of the ears. Always ask your vet first, but we suggest using cotton balls to soak up any excess damp. This can help to prevent the onset of infection.
Summer grooming: the skin
Both cats and dogs can develop allergies, especially during summer. Skin problems can occur when your pet’s skin is dry or irritated by the environment.
One of the most common causes of skin irritation during summer is when owners use human shampoo for washing their cat or dog. The skin and coat of a cat or dog contains essential oils that they need to maintain healthy skin. Wash your dog regularly during summer, especially if they spend a lot of time outside, and always use an approved pet shampoo.
If they develop a skin irritation, scratch constantly, or develop a rash, there are a number of reasons this could be occurring. In this case, it’s best to seek the advice of your vet.
Always keep in mind that summer is the flea’s and tick’s favourite season and if your pet has been spending time outdoors or with other animals, the chances are they may have picked up one or even a few.
Wash regularly, apply flea and tick medication as prescribed and avoid over-grooming your pet. Cats should never be shaved for summer and dogs, although in some cases can be shaved to a certain extent, should be clipped with utmost care.
Summer grooming: the paws and nails
The paws should be checked for thorns or ticks after periods outdoors—biting and licking of the paw is a sure sign of discomfort.
Both cats and dogs will need their nails clipped regularly and it’s a simple enough task once you and your furry friend get used to it. We know how intimidating some people find this job, and we know that if your pet isn’t used to it, they’ll hate it more. Keeping nails trip is an essential part of grooming, however, and it needs to be done. Here’s how we go about it:
- First, always go in armed with treats. The clipping process can make your pet nervous. Begin by giving them a treat to focus on, then, if they later show signs of agitation, give them another.
- Focus on cutting the nail at a 45 degree angle away from the base of the paw, upwards. That is, clippers from below and behind the paw, cutting at a 45 degree angle out and upwards.
- If bleeding occurs, it may mean that you’re either cutting too short, at too fine an angle, or that the nail has been left long for such a time that the blood flow has moved to its extremities. This can be avoided by taking the clippers and closing them on the nail—not cutting, but placing enough pressure to first gauge the reaction of your pet. If they flinch, you may be cutting to short.
Finally, your vet will happily trim your pet’s nails if you don’t think you’re up to the challenge. They will even be able to assist you in learning the correct way for the future.
Summer grooming: the coat
So many people aren’t sure whether it’s a good idea to shave their pets in summer. The hot weather may be near impossible for us humans to deal with at times but, believe it or not, in most cases our pets will be perfectly comfortable with their natural coats in the heat.
Most experts will say to avoid shaving down dogs and cats. Cats in particular have more than enough ability to shrug off excess body heat and malting in preparation for summer is an important part of this process.
Dogs with long thick hair will often have a double coat and should never be shaved short. This process can damage the coat in the long run, causing only the base coat to grow back. Besides, a dog or cat’s coat provides them with an in-built and natural defence against twigs, insects and many other intruders that may cause irritation.
The best thing we can do for our furry friends is keep their coats well maintained and clean. Wash and brush regularly, allowing the coat to air and breathe, making it as comfortable as possible.
Remember, matted hair can cause irritation to the skin, resulting in infection. Also, a thick coat is the best protection against the sun: dogs can get sunburnt too!
So there is our summer grooming guide for both cats and dogs. We hope it’s cleared up some of your questions.
Summer is one of the best seasons to spend with our canine or feline pals and with proper grooming and frequent care, swimming, camping and frolics through the bush will pose no problems.
As always, prevention is the best medicine. Here’s to a healthy, happy and fun-filled summer with your four legged friends.