Tips for Grooming Dogs in Summer

Grooming dogs in the summer can help reduce the heat and make your dog a little more comfortable. However, it's important to remember that dogs have a natural cooling system and don't need as much grooming as you may think.

Grooming Dogs: Summer Cuts

It may be tempting to shave off all that thick hair for the summer, but don't do it. Dogs use their coats as natural weather control and do not benefit from being completely shaved down. In fact, this can be uncomfortable and lead to skin problems since your dog's skin isn't meant to be exposed to that level of sun.

Instead, be more diligent about brushing or combing your dog to remove thick winter undercoat. This will also prevent excess shedding and remove stickers and other objects that may find their way into your dog's coat while playing outdoors.

Grooming Dogs: Summer Baths

Consider increasing the baths during the summer months to ensure your dog's coat stays as sleek and well-groomed as possible. Brush your dog before the bath to remove extra hair and dead skin, as well as after the bath.

Additional baths will also help reduce parasites. Apply flea or tick repellent after the bath because many brands wash off in the bath tub. In addition, consider changing shampoos during the summer to one that naturally repels parasites (such as citronella- or eucalyptus-based) or one that soothes skin (such as oatmeal-based) to reduce itching, irritated skin that may be caused by too much sun, parasites or the additional baths themselves.

Grooming Dogs: Summer Nails

Since your dog will be spending more time romping outside, it's important to make sure nails are properly trimmed. Long nails may catch or break, causing injury and pain.

This doesn't mean cutting off more of the nail with each trimming, however. That could lead to cutting the quick, which is very painful for your dog. Only cut the tip where the nail starts to turn under, just as you would during the winter.

Instead, reduce the frequency of nail trimming. The only way to shrink your dog's quick and thus shrink the length of the nail is to cut the nails more frequently. The best time to do this is after you have bathed your dog when the nails are a little softer and easier to trim.

Use a sharp, high-quality trimmer and lots of rewards so that your dog doesn't mind the process.

Additional Cooling Tips

If you are concerned about your dog's heat, avoid exercise or too much time spent in the yard during the peak of the heat. Provide plenty of shade and maybe even a wading pool for your dog.

On the hottest days, make bath time into a game, breaking out the hose and allowing your dog to play in the cool water before and after a quick bath.

If you use common sense and keep your dog as well-groomed as possible, you will both enjoy the hot summer months much more.