Summer Grooming Tips for Dogs

| Christy Caplan CVT

Summer grooming is much more than a quick comb and bath. Here are brushing, trimming, and bathing tips for skin, coat, and general dog health and well-being.

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Most dogs need a fresh summer cut... and more pet owners should hire a professional groomer to help them out. Though there are certain aspects of grooming, like brushing and bathing, that can be tackled at home, the rest needs to be handled by a groomer!

Professional Groomers Are Experienced in Their Craft

A professional groomer for trims and cuts is a necessary part of the dog grooming routine for summer. Schedule a meet and greet with a few groomers and get a recommendation from folks in your community to ensure they’re a good fit for your dog. You might not think it, but a groomer is part of your dog’s wellness team and an essential part of taking care of your canine buddy. A groomer can also help answer questions about how to properly brush your dog’s coat with specialized grooming tools.

Daily Brushing Helps Keep Your Dog Cool

Brushing a dog plays a vital rolein their overall health. Pet owners who regularly brush and groom their dogs will be able to spot mats and lumps in their hair as soon as they start. Brushing also provides an opportunity to look for scratches and parasites!

The benefits of daily brushing include:

  • Reduces shedding

  • Keeps hair shiny

  • Reduces ingrown hairs

  • Prevents long coats from matting

Handling Mats

Dog hair may get matted from everyday situations; the best way to prevent it is to stay on top of brushing. The summer months tend to dry out hair, and mats will only get worse if not handled immediately. If you need to do this on your own without the help of a groomer, divide this process into shorter sessions over a week to avoid hurting your dog.

Here are steps to remove soft mats:

  • Start by applying a light leave-in conditioner and acquiring a slicker brush and rat-tail comb (see our tool list below)

  • Hold the mat by the root near the skin with a gentle grip to avoid a pulling sensation

  • Separate with your fingers, if possible

  • Hold the mat and use the last tooth of the comb to detangle it

  • After a few sections are opened, use the slicker brush to work on the edge of the mat

  • Repeat this process, moving closer to the root

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Managing Undercoats

On double-coated dogs, the undercoat is the soft layer of hair. The function of the undercoat is to insulate the dog’s body from extreme weather.

During summer, dogs with double coats undergo seasonal shedding, which helps cool down the dog in hot weather. This protects their body from overheating. A wide-tooth comb and slicker brush should be enough to loosen this coat.

Here are steps to keep the undercoat groomed during shedding season:

  • Use a wide-tooth comb to help loosen the undercoat

  • Try using an undercoat rake to help loosen the coat even further

  • Finish the job with the slicker brush

Summer Trim

Most humans beat the heat with a shorter haircut. Your dog is no different and may also benefit from a summer trim.

Hair Trims Should Be Done by Professional Groomers

A standard trim may be more than you’re willing to handle. Trimming the head, face, feet, and pads with a pair of sharp scissors is intimidating unless you’ve had practice. Hiring a professional groomer for help is essential, and they should become part of your dog’s wellness team.

Don’t Shave Off All Their Hair!

During the summer, owners may think to ask their groomer to shave off all of their dog’s hair. However, the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences team states that, “Many breeds, including Siberian Huskies and Pomeranians, have thick undercoats. This thick fur is beneficial in hot weather.”  

Keep this in mind and always defer to your groomer when it comes to a summer trim.

Utility Cuts Are Popular During the Summer Months

Standard utility cuts are typically requested by pet owners at the beginning of the summer season. Professional groomers can show pet owners how to do this trim at home, but it may take practice and patience. This cut essentially turns a high-maintenance coat into a style that’s easier to maintain. Utility cuts keep the hair on the body short with just a bit of fluff on the legs.    

Do Dogs Need Summer Baths?

Yes! When hair is wet and skin exposed, there is always an opportunity to check for cuts, bumps, and fleas. Summer is when dogs are typically rolling around in the grass and dirt. Your dirty dog may be hiding irritated, red skin, and it’s your job to keep an eye out, even if they aren’t presenting symptoms. When bathing, always use a shampoo designed for dogs, and never use human shampoo!

Grooming Tools

You can spend a lot of money on grooming tools, but the basic essentials are:

  • Undercoat rake: This tool is used to break up soft mats. It has a handle and a few rows of rigid teeth, and is designed to remove the undercoat.

  • Wide tooth comb: A stainless-steel comb.

  • Slicker brush: This brush is rectangular with a soft rubber insert that holds metal bristles.

  • Pin brushes: Pin brushes are best for coats in good condition and already free of mats. These come in different sizes.

  • Bristle brushes: These are designed for dogs with short, smooth hair coats.  

How To Find a Professional Groomer

The American Kennel Club GroomerFinder helps pet owners find reliable professionals in their area. You can also look for groomers by inquiring in Facebook groups.

Don't Forget Pet Insurance

A groomer may find a health condition after trimming your dog’s coat! Once the skin is exposed, there may be an infection or even fleas that you weren’t aware of before you dropped your dog off at the groomer.

Just in case the groomer does find a health condition, consider enrolling in pet insurance offered by AKC Pet Insurance (underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company) to assist in providing your pet with the best veterinary care.

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Christy Caplan CVT

Christy is a writer, editor, blogger, chicken keeper, and storyteller. She uses her knowledge as a certified veterinary technician to inform animal lovers on health and wellness topics. Christy's Standard Dachshund and Beagle mix are the inspiration behind her writing portfolio and essays.

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