Some people lament the end of summer, holding on to the lingering warmth as much as they can, while others celebrate the arrival of cooler weather. Whatever your stance is, once autumn arrives, it’s time to tend to your dog’s post-summer grooming needs—from heat-damaged paw pads to insect-bitten skin and sun-bleached fur.
Here’s how to best prep your pup for fall:
Did you spend your summer taking your dog to the beach or lake with you? Going on hikes? Or did you have her keep you company in the backyard? Hot sand, rocky ledges, and steamy pool decks can leave your pup’s paw pads chapped, cracked, or injured. Even if your dog is sedentary or elderly and only gets outside for walks, sticky asphalt and scorching sidewalks can be heat hazards.
AKC S.A.F.E. certified pet groomer Tania Cocito, who personally owns two senior Pekingese, says prevention is key.
“I’m a big believer in cleaning my dogs’ paws after every walk,” she says. “I use a simple, non-scented baby wipe followed by a dry towel.”
If your dog’s paws are already dry and chapped from the summer, however, slick on some petroleum jelly, then give them a chew toy as a distraction until it soaks in. Cocito also recommends a moisturizer made for dog paws to help soothe them. Paw pad balm is a slightly pricier, but less greasy option that provides protection too, so it can be used next summer when hitting the sand or sidewalk, as well as during harsh winter weather.
Should your dog’s paw pads have actual cracks, Cocito advises applying antibiotic ointment or gel, then wrapping paws with gauze until you get your dog to the veterinarian. In the case of bleeding, red streaks, or pus, always let your vet treat the injury.
When plants and weather are changing outside, allergies often act up as pollen piggybacks into the house on your dog’s coat. Allergic reactions that cause sneezing, irritated eyes, and congestion in humans, particularly during changes of season, might show up as skin rashes in dogs. To minimize the effects, bathe your dog weekly, or even every few days with a gentle, hypoallergenic shampoo. Make sure to rinse well to remove residue.
Cocito, who owns Tails of Enchantment In-Home Pet Grooming, says that dog allergies, which can last all-year-round, aren’t caused only by pollen, but by other factors as well.
“Chemicals found at home, including those in perfumes, cigarette smoke, grass, plants, dust, and so much more, affect your pets internally by lingering on their fur,” she notes. “They have dander, urine, fleas, and other things that they pick up whether out on walks or in the home.”
These allergens then become airborne and attach to beds, carpets, furniture, and linens. To combat this, Cocito recommends regular dog grooming.
“We brush, de-shed, de-tangle, bathe, blow out the fur, and trim the hair to eliminate some of these issues,” she affirms.
Dogs with severe allergies to pollen or fleas often develop hot spots or rashes that ooze and develop scabs. Pets who bite themselves, lose their fur or develop swollen, red skin patches should visit the veterinarian, as these conditions might require treatment with medications.
“Just as it is for people, sun can be very damaging on your pets’ skin and hair, especially if they stay outside for long periods,” Cocito says. “It will lighten the fur and cause skin damage.”
If your dog’s coat looks as faded and fried as your hair did after experimenting with too much lightening spray, don’t worry—the damage isn’t permanent. Those bleached hairs will eventually fall out and your dog’s glowing natural color will grow back in (just like yours did). But, there are a few ways to hurry the process along:
photo source: Pixabay
source: American Kennel Club/ Jen Karetnick
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