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Health & Wellness

How to groom a dog during the summer

To cut or not to cut?

As temperatures warm up, you may think that shaving or grooming your dog could help them feel cooler. However, that’s not always the case. Veterinarian and pet health advocate Dr. Aliya McCullough explains when, and if, it’s the right move for your dog. 

Should you cut your dog’s hair during summer? 

Some dogs’ coats are designed to keep them cool during the summer and warm during the winter. As a general rule of thumb, avoid shaving short-haired dogs as their heavier coat naturally sheds during the warmer seasons. Dog hair also protects their skin from the sun, offering their very own version of SPF. 

Breeds with longer hair or dogs that rarely shed, like poodles, should be groomed more regularly than others to avoid matting and keep their hair clean. 

How to groom your dog during the summer

When in doubt, it’s always best to visit the groomer to know what haircut is best for your pup. If it’s your first time grooming them at home, ask an expert for pointers before beginning. Here are a few of our tips to help you get started: 

  • Your dog’s hair should be dry and clean 
  • Brush and clip in the direction of hair growth
  • Keep the clippers parallel to the hair surface to prevent injuries
  • Avoid using scissors
  • Take your time and take breaks for you and your pup
  • Leave at least 2 inches of fur

My dog doesn’t like being groomed at home. What should I do? 

Some dogs with heavy coats may feel stressed when being groomed at home, and in turn, make you feel stressed. Until your next grooming appointment, keep your dog cool and clean in the summer by: 

  • Keeping them in the shade
  • Avoid taking them out during the hottest times of the day (10:00 AM to 3:00 PM)
  • Make sure they have plenty of water
  • Give them access to fans or air conditioners when they’re inside

Bonus tip: How often should you bathe your dog? 

Summer adventures (like hiking and swimming in the ocean) may call for more frequent baths. Just know that too much bathing could cause dry skin and irritation. Dogs with underlying skin conditions may require more frequent bathing with prescription shampoos. Ask your vet to see how often they should be bathed (every 5 to 7 weeks is often the way to go for routine bathing).

If you’re going to be spending a lot of time in the sun with your dog, it’s a great idea to make sure they’re comfortable. These tips will help decide if grooming is a cooling option for your dog.

The Dig, Fetch's expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too.

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