1.  Bathe your pet only when you notice dirt or odor.  Frequent bathing dries a dog's skin and can leave him
     susceptible to unwanted medical problems.

2.  If your pet needs more frequent baths because of increased outdoor activities, use a mild shampoo to
     avoid over drying the skin.  Hypoallergentic or soapless shamoos work well for frequent bathing.

3.  During grooming, check for medical conditions that are more prevalent during hot weather, such as hot
     spots, hyoderma and ear infections.

4.  Maintain your flea and tick preventative program to guard against flea infestations and Lyme disease.

5.  if you decide to have your pet clippered, watch carefully for signs of sunburn or clipper burns.

Turn on the fan, stand in the shade and swat those insects.  The dog days of summer are here, and they aren't particularly kind to dogs.   Excess heat and humidity are just as hard on your pets as they are on you.  Perhaps even more so, because your pets depend on you to keep them cool and comfortable.  You can remove layers of clothing as the thermometer rises, but your pets aren't so lucky.


Because most dogs shed hair faster during the hotter months, it's important to regularly brush dead hair before it mats.  Because your dog will be spending more time outdoors during the summer, make sure to remove ticks, fleas and burrs from your dog's coat during grooming.  And don't forget to use a monthly parasite-control treatment to help protect him from flea infestations and from ticks that may carry Lyme disease.

Usually, the extra activity during the summer helps keep a dog's toenail shortened naturally, but every grooming session should include checking and trimming the nails as necessary.

For dogs that are regularly groomed with clippers, keeping cooler in the hot summer months may be as simple as asking the groomer to use a longer numbered blade than usual.  The larger the blade size, the shorter the hair.  For example, a # 40 blade gives a surgical shave, a # 4 blade leaves hair 3/8 inch long.

Before cutting off all your dog's hair, remember that a dog's skin helps regulate its body temperature.  One mistake dog owners often make during hot summer months is to shave the coat of a normally longhaired dog, thinking this will make the dogs more comfortable.  NOT TRUE.  Hair is an insulator, and the lack of it overburdens the skin's ability to regulate body temerature and can lead to heatstroke.  It's more important to provide plenty of shade and cool water for your pet during the hot months and keep him groomed as usual.

If you shorten a dog's coat for the summer, be sure that you tell your groomer what shorter means to you.  If your dog's coat length is several inches long, short to you may mean scissored to an invch or so all over.  To another person, short may mean clippered to the canine equilalent of the buzz cut.

Dogs that are not accustomed to being shaved dow ar susceptible to sunburn (especially dogs with lighter colored skin)  and clipper burns.  Treated early, neither condition causes a severe problem; however, leaving either condition untreated can lead to serious complications.  Contact your veterinarian if you see any rash or skin redness.

Do not shave dogs with double coats (like Chows, German Shepherd Dogs, Siberians, Malamutes, Collies and Shelties) unless brushing out the dead hair is the undercoat is impossible.  It's better to groom your dog correctly throughout the year, allowing the natural insulation of the coat to do its work year-round, rathe than letting it go until the only alternative is to rev up the large-animal clippers.  Few pet clippers can cut through the dense undercoat of an adult double-coated breed.


Skin problems that are dormant through cooler months come out in full force when heat and humidity rise.  Breeds with deep skin folds around their faces are susceptible to skin-fold infections.  Pyodermas involving lip folds is common during summer months in spaniels and sitters that have heavy flews.  Dogs with curly tails, such as the Bulldog, can have this problem in the skin folds surrounding the tail.

Clean these areas daily with medicated shampoo or treat with benzoyl peroxide.  Make this part of your grooming ritual throughout the year and avoid problems before they begin.

Dogs with lop ears, such as spaniels, hounds and retrievers and dogs that spend a lot of time in the water, are prone to ear infections during the summer months.  It's important to keep the ears clean ad dry to avoid a chronic problem.

Despite the name, hot spots don't just occur during the summer months, though they are more prevalent then.  When grooming your dog, check for any inflamed areas and contact your veterinarian, if you see any.  Moist dermatitis can quickly spread from a quarter-sized spot to a major portion of a dog's body if not taken care of quickly.


Although dogs do not sweat the way we do, their higher body temperatures may give them more of a doggie odor during hotter months.

To help control this, mix 1/2 cup baking soda in a quart of lukewarm water.  After bathing pour this mixture over your dog's coat.  You can also put apple cider vinegar (1/4 cup per gallon of water) into the final rinse water to help eliminate body odor.

Avoid bathing your pet more than is necessary.  Frequent bathing causes skin to dry and become itchy and flaky, which can lead to other medical problems.

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