July 8, 2010
Summer Dog Grooming Tips: Cut, Rinse, Repeat
Do you ever look at your dog during these hot summer days and think: “He must be miserable in the heat with all that fur.” Or maybe you think: “It’s impossible to keep her clean, with all these trips to the park and beach.”
If so, then read on! We have compiled a few tips to help you keep your dog cool, clean, healthy and, dare we say it, fashionable this summer. This week, our advice comes in two parts: the cut and the rinse.
Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow?
When it comes to grooming advice for dogs, the lessons are as varied as the breeds themselves. There is not room enough in a blog post to cover all the grooming tips out there, so we’ve picked out several that we feel are especially important in the summer months.
First of all, not all dogs actually need a drastic summer cut. Dog breeds that hail from cold weather climates, such as Samoyeds and Huskies, should not get a short buzz cut. This type of cut will prevent the dog’s coat from growing back properly. Not only will the coat not grow back as beautifully as before, the new short coat may actually hinder a dog’s ability to cool herself. These natural thick coats act an “air conditioner” by reflecting light and “lofting” as the dogs moves.
If you are unsure whether or not your dog falls into this category, be sure to check with your groomer before scheduling an appointment or picking up the razor yourself. If the groomer gives you the OK, then your dog is a cleared for a short summer cut.
For new dog owners, finding a groomer requires some research. Make sure the groomer has the proper training and experience before handing over your precious dog. A good place to start the search is the National Dog Groomers Association of America website, where you can search by location, salon and specialties. Also, take advantage of your own network. Ask your friends and dog park acquaintances where their dog is groomed. Finally, you can research and read reviews of local grooming salons on sites like Yelp.
Weather you choose a professional or do it yourself, just make sure you do not go overboard! As we pointed out in our Summer Health Tips post, the ASPCA suggests leaving one inch of hair on the dog, which will help protect the dog’s delicate skin from the sun. And remember, for light colored, short haired dogs, don’t forget the sunscreen!
Dog owners know that summer means lots of running around outside, and, therefore, lots of dirt, sand, and grass stuck in a dog’s fur. As a result, summer is the season of frequent baths.
The ASPCA website has lots of detailed instructions regarding bathing and grooming your dogs. To keep it simple, we’ve compiled the basics here. First of all, make sure the bath water is lukewarm, and not too deep (3 to 4 inches max). If your dog is acting up in the bath, try introducing a toy into the water to keep their attention focused. Get your pet wet before shampooing, paying careful attention not to get water in the dog’s eyes, ears or nose. After the dog is soaked, gently apply the shampoo from head to tail, and rinse thoroughly. Towel off, and you’re done!
Choosing a proper shampoo is also important. Human shampoos are usually a no-no, as they may irritate a dog’s skin. Dog-specific shampoos are preferred, and come in an increasing variety of formulas and price points. For more about dog shampoo, check out these blog posts on Jake’s Dog Blog and eHow.com.
Finally, if your dog is particularly fearful of bathing, experts suggest taking it slow. Start with short baths (5-10 mins), and make it fun! Use treats, petting, massages, playing, toys – anything to help the dog learn to associate bathtime with funtime. This article from House Beautiful magazine’s “Dog Shrink” provides some more helpful tips for these nervous nellies.
We hope these tips answered those initial questions, and help you and your dog enjoy the summer to the fullest, not to mention in style! Now we want to hear what you think. Share your stories and advice about grooming and bathing here on the blog or Facebook or Twitter (@dogwatchfence).
Our doggie bathing beauty is Nina Simone, a cocker-poodle rescue dog from New York City.