Summer can be a difficult season for dogs, especially when it comes to skincare for your pet. With the heat and humidity that summer often brings, having all that extra fur can be a bit of a nuisance. Here are a few tips to help avoid common dog skin problems keep your dog happy, and his coat healthy, all summer long.
Keep cool by looking fresh
Haircuts are a great way to keep your dog cool this summer! Not only do new hairstyles keep it fun and exciting aesthetically, but they are also necessary to keep him healthy. They even make bath time with the right pet shampoo a little easier! A big fur coat could lead to skin irritations like hot spots and heat rash, which could potentially lead to more severe infections long term. A short hairdo can ensure that your dog is as comfortable as possible during the hottest season of the year.
Additionally, short hair allows you to keep a closer eye on their skin for other potential issues that summer heat often stirs up, even with a shorter hairdo. Summer is bug season and if you needed another reason to keep that fur in check, finding nasty critters is a lot easier when hair is short and well maintained. The presence of fleas, ticks, and mites all spike during the summer months while you and your dog are outdoors taking advantage of the longer days and warmer nights. Keep your dog fresh, protected, and healthy and trim that fur this summer!
Who touched the thermostat?
Don’t blame the dog, he doesn’t have any thumbs! Keeping your house at a reasonable temperature is an essential tool in keeping your dog cool. While it is important to be energy conscious, be conscious of how much more energy it takes your dog to stay cool with all that fur. Maintaining a consistent temperature in the house will allow your dog to better acclimate to temperatures that may be a little warmer than usual, ensuring that their coat stays healthy. Keeping your home somewhere between 70 and 80 degrees is an excellent way to stay energy efficient while making sure that your furry friend can beat the heat…but don’t be surprised if you catch him lying on the air conditioner grate in the hallway.
Beat the heat and stay off the street
You may have heard that dogs don’t sweat, but that’s not exactly true. Dogs have sweat glands in their paws and on their nose, and they use panting as their primary source of self-regulated temperature control. Your dog’s coat acts as a thick layer of insulation, which makes it much more challenging to cool down quickly. As such, it is vital for the health of their coat, and their general well being, to avoid physical activity during the hottest parts of the day.
Typically early to mid-morning and evening are the best times to take a walk to avoid overheating or participate in other dog-friendly exercises. Too much activity in direct heat could lead to things like dehydration, irritated and dry skin, and even heat stroke. Stick to cool grassy areas where there is plenty of shade and the ability to lie down as the grass will help cool your dog’s fur from the outside in.
Fill up his hydration station
One of the best things to promote a healthy coat this summer is with plenty of fluids. Your puppy needs to stay hydrated to maintain that healthy glow so always make sure there is plenty of water around for your dog. Try to get in the habit of bringing water with you when you and your pup leave the house so you never have to rely on some other water source that might not be readily available. In a day with typical weather, a dog should drink one ounce of water for every pound of body weight, but in hot weather and after moderate exercise, water intake should increase substantially.
Don’t overdo it with the baths
When it comes to dog grooming, baths are an essential part of keeping your pet‘s coat healthy and clean, but there is a fine line between good grooming and too much bath time for your canine. You should never be bathing your dog once a week, and unless he is really stinky every three weeks is optimal. Your dog’s skin produces natural oils that help keep his skin healthy and hydrated. When you bathe your dog too much, it causes a decrease in the natural oil production of your dog’s skin and inevitably dries him out, leaving him at risk for skin irritation and hair loss. A good practice for the hot summer is to incorporate things like leave-in conditioners that will both add moisture to your dog’s coat and leave him smelling fresh and clean.
In the case that you need to wash your pup on a more often basis, we have the perfect solution for you. Our FoamCare Pet Shampoo is actually safe enough for everyday use and enhances your furry friend’s natural immune system against dermatological disorders. With easy spray-on application, instant foaming, and easy rinsing, your pup will be clean and healthy in no time!
Your dog’s coat is durable, but also sensitive. Extreme temperatures, like the ones experienced during the summer, can wreak havoc on your dog’s skin and fur. Taking preventative measures like the do’s and don’ts listed above will help to keep your dog’s coat healthy and your furry friend happy, even during the dog days of summer.
Dr. Melinda J. Mayfield-Davis, DVM, WCHP-AH, brings over 20 years of experience in veterinary medicine. She is the Technical Services Veterinarian with Innovacyn, Inc., parent company of Vetericyn Animal Wellness. She received her DVM from Oklahoma State University and now resides in Southeast Kansas with her husband, two children, four dogs, and six horses. Prior to working with Innovacyn, Dr. Mayfield owned and operated the Animal Care Center in Columbus, KS.