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Give Your Dog a Cool Summer Trim

Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff
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Give your dog a Summer Cut

HEAVY-COATED dogs will not appreciate the temperature spikes typical in some locations during summer. Along with those dogs, pets who enjoy swimming or running through the woods can benefit from wearing lighter coats in the summer. If a shedding rake is not enough to keep your pet well-groomed and comfortable, clipping may be necessary, but you must observe several guidelines and cautions.

Choose a quality-brand clipper. Add the blades and attachment combs suited to your dog's particular coat to achieve an even and attractive cut. Use appropriate grooming tools to remove tangles and mats before you use the clippers. While too much hair on any breed can cause retention of body heat, leave at least 1" of coat to insulate the animal from the heat of the sun and to shield his skin from sunburn. This is particularly critical for longhaired breeds.

Ideally, introduce the clipper to your dog when he is young. Avoid models that have a loud, irritating buzz. Use sharp blades to prevent pulling. A clipper coolant or lubricant keeps the blades at a comfortable temperature, preventing burns to the dog's skin. It is wise to begin clipping on an inconspicuous area to learn the action of the clipper. Then, make the needed adjustments to blades and attachment combs and confidently give your dog a cool, trim look for summer!

Additional cooling tips
Trimming hair is one of several things you can do to help keep your dog more comfortable this summer. However, although short hair is nice, it's not enough when it comes to hot weather. Any pet who cannot cool herself off is at risk for heatstroke. Follow these guidelines to help prevent serious problems.

  • Keep pets with predisposing conditions like heart disease, obesity, older age, or breathing problems cool and in the shade. Even normal activity for these pets can be harmful.
  • Provide access to fresh water at all times.
  • NEVER leave your pet in a hot parked car even if you're in the shade or will only be gone a short time. The temperature inside a parked car can quickly reach up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Make sure outside dogs have access to shade.
  • Restrict exercise on hot days. Too much exercise when the weather is very hot can be dangerous.
  • Do not muzzle your dog.
  • Avoid wide-open spaces like parking lots, where heat is reflected and there is no access to shade.
  • Wet down your dog with cool water or allow her to swim can help maintain a normal body temperature.
  • Move your dog to a cool area of your home. Air conditioning is one of the best ways to keep a dog cool, but is not always dependable. To provide a cooler environment, try a TheraCool™ Gel Cell Cooling Pad, freeze water in soda bottles, or place ice and a small amount of water in several resealable food storage bags, then wrap them in a towel or tube sock. Place them on the floor for your dog to lay on.


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