Summer baths for our four-legged friends | Herald of Stroudsburg

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Molly takes a bath by ginnerobot

By Joanna Stone

We love our baby dogs, they are part of the family and we need to keep them cool for the summer months ahead. Warmer weather often means spending more time outdoors with your dog. Education is one of the most vital forms of bonding in nature. It’s a way to express our love for animals and people. Here’s how you can take the best care of your dog.

Regularly brushing your dog has many benefits, from reduced shedding to a cleaner coat. And a bonus you might not know, it’s a great way to keep your dog cool while allowing you to spot any blemishes on his skin – infections, allergies, fleas, ticks or swollen anal sacs, ughhh!

Regular brushing can remove any clumping on your dog’s skin. This can be troublesome in the summer as it can trap in moisture and irritate your dog’s skin. So brush your dog by putting him in different positions to help him get used to it.

Keep your dog clean to ensure optimal health. Always wash your dog with a special shampoo for dogs. Human shampoos are meant to remove oils from hair, but oils help keep skin and hair healthy and shiny in dogs, so we don’t want to strip them.

Don’t forget your dog’s eyes, ears and mouth. Clean the puppy’s face with a damp cloth and use a cup or hand sprayer to control the direction of the water while rinsing. Prevent water from entering the ear. After bathing, thoroughly cleaning and drying your dog’s ears will help prevent possible infection.

It is best to use lukewarm water, never hot water. After bathing, dry your dog, especially his paws, with a towel. Don’t bathe your dog too often. Frequent bathing can remove essential oils, which can dry out the coat. Cleanse your dog between baths with a leave-in conditioner and cleanser spray. Consider a summer haircut for long-haired pets, keeping them more relaxed and their coats more manageable.

Another essential part of basic dog grooming is regular nail trimming. If you plan to trim your dog’s nails, make sure you have the right tools and powder if you’re cutting too close to the nails (the very sensitive parts of the nails). Most dogs have black nails and the location of the nail is not visible from the tip. Use slow, steady cuts until you see a solid blackhead on top; then you know you have succeeded. If you accidentally cut too far, immediately press the powder onto the nail to stop the bleeding. Trimming white nails is a bit easier because the nails can be seen from the outside. You’ll know you’ve reached it when you see a pink dot in the middle. If your dog is panting or trying to lick his paws while shearing, these are signs that he is stressed; stop immediately and give your dog a break.

Consult a professional groomer if you need a little advice in this area or on the overall procedure.

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