Now is the perfect time to trim down your pet’s long hair to help them cope with the blazing, oppressive heat of summer. Unfortunately, many pet owners do not make informed decisions concerning grooming their furry friends. Professional groomer, Shannon McKinney at Whitworth Animal Clinic, can offer advice on what’s best for your dog to look and stay cool. Call (256) 830-1503 to set up an appointment today.
Brushing is one of the most important things you can do for your dog. It removes loose fur from their undercoat. A regularly brushed coat will ‘loft’ as the dog walks, circulating air to the skin to cool him down. Brushing also prevents matting and tense knots of interlocked hair.
Some dog breeds, (poodle, bichon frise, and cocker spaniel), must be trimmed on a regular basis because their fur grows constantly and needs ongoing attention. Most groomers recommend puppy clips or kennel clips as the best haircuts for these breeds during the grueling heat of the summer.
Breeds such as the schnauzer, wirehaired fox terrier, and west highland terrier need expert trimming if pet owners want to have their dog look as close to the breed standard as possible. These dogs have a harsh wire coat that needs “stripping” to fit the aesthetic criteria for a show. Stripping makes hair threads wiry while basic clipping, (puppy clip or kennel clip), makes fur soft and silky.
The husky, samoyed, chow chow, american eskimo and the pomeranian have double coats that still need light grooming, but shaving them can begin a condition called clipper alopecia. This condition develops when the hair follicles of the outer coat are damaged. When the outer coat, or guard hairs, are damaged, the coat will never grow back the same. Double coated breeds need the second layer of fur to insulate their heat during the cold months.
Dangers of Shaving
Shaving a pet down to the skin leaves them vulnerable to sunburn and other skin conditions. As a result, coats often grow back patchy, thinning, and balding after summer shaving. Depending on the breed, shaving can damage their coat irreparably. Always leave at least one inch of fur as a protective barrier from the sun’s rays. The difference between shaving and a trim is the extent of hair that is removed. Shannon McKinney has the training and experience to know how much fur to take off.
Hot Weather Safety Tips
- Never leave your dog in the car. Even if you’re just running into the store with the windows cracked, a parked car’s heat can swelter in just a few minutes. The temperatures can reach deadly levels very quickly. The last thing you want to do is injure or threaten your fur baby’s life to save a few minutes.
- Keep them hydrated. All of our pets need to have access to clean and cool water. If your dog is a fan of ice cubes, by all means, add a few ice cubes to their dog bowl to encourage hydration.
- Chill in the shade. Instead of sweating, dogs pant to regulate their body temperature. They draw air over their tongue which cools from the moisture. This panting process is nature’s air conditioning. Dogs have an easier time panting when they are in the shade.
- Don’t leave your pets outside. Most dogs keep a core body temperature in the range of 100 to 103 Fahrenheit. When it’s baking outside, it is much harder for dogs to maintain this temperature. Don’t leave your dog outside for too long.
- Avoid walking pets on hot concrete. Hot concrete can burn your dog’s paws when the sun’s rays are concentrated on the street for long periods of time.
Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion
- Heavy panting
- Excessive thirst
- Glazed eyes
- Bloody diarrhea
- Bright or dark tongue & gums
- Staggering posture
- Excessive drooling
When it comes to grooming your dog for the summer, it’s best to consider comfort, style, and your level of activity with your pet, as well as taking precautions to prevent ill effects from sun exposure, heat exhaustion, or just the indignity of a bad do-it-yourself haircut. Because there is uniqueness in style with certain breeds or particular features you like for your pet, our pet grooming prices are not listed online. Shannon will be happy to speak with you about an estimate. She works by appointment, so please give our office a call to make sure your pet is on the calendar.
To learn more about our grooming services in general, to discuss package pricing, or to reserve an appointment with our Madison pet-grooming professional, give us a call at (256) 830-1503.