Summer and Your Pets – Grooming Tips
In the dog days (pun intended) of summer, the weather is likely to hit temperatures your pet’s not used to! Since dogs cool themselves by panting, not sweating, their coat provides an important barrier between them and the outside world.
Besides the standard tips, like not leaving your dog inside the car on a hot summer day, and making sure your cat has easy access to shade inside your home, here are some easy things you can do to keep your pets comfortable in their own fur this summer:
- Keep your pet’s coat trimmed. Animals with thick coats overheat more easily because of their extra insulation. Consider giving your pet – dog or cat – a puppy or kitten cut in the summers. Because of their coats, pets can be more susceptible to heat stroke, a condition that can be deadly if left untreated.
- You should always brush your pet daily. Long coats are especially prone to matting, which is a tangle of fur that can be painful to the animal if snagged. Mats can also harbor parasites like ticks or fleas or hide injuries. Professional grooming may also be necessary for some pets with especially long fur, like Pomeranians, Afghans, and Himalayans.
- Year-round, but especially in the summer, you should screen your pet for fleas and ticks. Look for tiny, black pepper-like dots on your animal’s fur, especially near the ears. Ticks appear as small, bulging dots nestled in your animal’s fur. Both of these parasites produce saliva that can cause allergies in dogs. Ticks can also harbor deadly illnesses, like Lyme disease. Talk to your vet about fleas and ticks in your area, and if it’s a good idea to buy some prescription flea and tick medication.
- Some dog breeds are especially prone to skin cancer. If yours is likely to get cancer, do regular checks of their fur for any abnormalities, and limit the amount of time spent in the sun. All dogs, however, can get sunburned or skin cancer on areas with thin skin and no hair. These include the nose, belly, and inside of the back legs. You should consider getting doggie sunscreen if your dog is hairless or shaved.
Following these grooming tips can save you time and money spent on expensive veterinary diagnostics and treatments. Heatstroke treatments can cost $50 and up, while skin cancer chemotherapy and radiation treatments are in the range of $2,000 to $6,000. Making sure you and your pet enjoy the summer season safely will keep you both out of the veterinarian’s office and save cash for more fun road trips!