Summers are round the corner and as you take off those winter coats and sweaters, you will notice large portions of matted and tangled pet hair. The question to ask… is it necessary to shave the dog’s hair completely or can something be salvaged? Most pet owners believe that shaving the dog’s hair completely will make the summers more comfortable for their pooches, which is untrue. Infact, most good veterinarians do not recommend a complete shave for dogs because the hair acts like a natural weather control. So a pet without a coat will need extra sun protection and care.
First, to burst the myth, even long-coat dogs can have a comfortable summer if they are properly groomed. The trick is to spend more time grooming your pet or get a professional groomer to help you. Some things you can do to make the harsh weather comfortable for your canine child include:
Keep combing: You have to remove the thick winter undercoat so that your dog’s skin can breathe. Matted coats block heat and moisture making your pet uneasy and cause bacterial infections. If the coat is badly knotted and matted, groomers recommend clipping the hair but never a complete shave (unless the condition is out control). Brushing and combing your pet’s hair regularly also ensures that extra shredding is taken care of and there is no dirt or mud to cause discomfort.
Baths and more: Baths on regular intervals are a must for your pets to ensure that their coats stay sleek and shiny. You can use anti-bacterial, flea or
tick repellant after baths to prevent onset of any disease. There are a number of shampoos and conditioners available in the market for dogs which you can try depending on the treatment you require. In some homes, including mine, we use Neem-paste mixed with conditioner during bath-time and spray diluted Neem-water on the dog’s coat after bath.
Sun-protect: Like your skin, your pet’s skin needs protection from the strong sun too. If you have clipped your pet’s coat short, you must protect your pet’s skin from sunburns and other skin disorders. Always remember, an inch means no pinch; leave an inch of hair on your pet. If your dog is comfortable with clothes, get him a thin summer T-shirt for stepping out in the sun with style.
Nail trim: Summers mean a lot of time outside so it is advisable to properly trim your dog’s nails. Breaking of nails is common in dogs and may cause injury and pain. Cutting it short is never a good idea and the secret lies in cutting the tip where the nail starts to turn under.
In addition to grooming, do ensure that you do not over-exhaust your dogs during exercising. Also, opt for early morning and late evening walks, when the sun is more merciful.
These simple tips along with lots of clean, cool water will ensure a happy and healthy pet and make summer a breeze!
About the author:
Vidhi Malla is communications consultant with a passion for animals. She has had pets since childhood and has been working for the welfare of animals; especially dogs for over a decade. Vidhi has worked as a volunteer for various NGOs and tries to spend free hours at shelters across New Delhi/NCR region, taking care of sick and abandoned animals. She takes care of 7 Indian pariah dogs in addition to being a pet-parent to 4 beautiful boys.