SPLISH SPLASH: MAKING SUMMER BATH TIME FUN FOR YOUR PETS
The scorching heat in India takes a toll not only on humans but on animals as well. A cool shower is a perfect way to kick away the heat! While some pets love splashing and playing in water and are complete water babies, with others it is a nightmare to get them into the bathroom. –by Poorvi Anthony
Dogs don’t require the same type of grooming schedule as we do. There are some points you should follow to make sure bath time is a safe and positive experience for your beloved.
The burning question – How often should I bathe my pet?
How often you bathe your pet depends on a few things, such as the breed, length and condition of the coat, and also your lifestyle. So, if your pet is always out there playing outdoors or enjoying in the mud, he’ll become dirty rather quickly. Whereas, if he is just hanging around in the house and going for walks he won’t get dirty so fast.
Having said that, as long as your pet’s coat is in good condition and is completely free of knots, you can bathe him once a fortnight or once in a month. But you definitely have to use the correct products. Never use human hair products like shampoo or conditioner for your pet. The pH of their skin is so different from human skin and using products for humans can damage your pet’s hair and skin.
The right way to bathe
If your pet is long-haired, it is necessary to comb him properly before the bath otherwise the shampoo gets into the tangles and makes them super tight. Go over your dog’s coat with a comb and a brush and make sure all the tangles are out before you start to bathe him. Wet the coat with lukewarm water and use a good quality shampoo and conditioner or the ones suggested by your vet. The reason we use a conditioner is because when you bathe your pet, it removes all the oils out of the skin and coat and it takes a few days for those oils to come back. If you apply a conditioner on to the coat, even though you are rinsing it out after, it leaves a light layer of lanolin on the skin and coat which protect it for a few days until the natural oils return. After bathing, towel dry him really well and keep him in a non-draft area. It is permissible to use a human blow dryer on him but only on low speed and low heat. You can also gently comb the coat and brush while you are drying him and just make sure he doesn’t go outside until he is completely dry.
Boon of brushing and bathing
Dogs only produce sweat on areas not covered with fur, such as the nose and paw pads, unlike humans who sweat almost everywhere. In general, healthy dogs only need to be bathed if they smell or they’re dirty. Another important thing is that fleas and ticks thrive in the summer time, so you should opt for tick repellent shampoo. It is important to watch out for ticks and fleas in the summer season. When administering tick and flea shampoo ensure your dog does not lick the shampoo from his fur. Apart from that, regular brushing will work out any mats that may have developed in your dog’s coat. Mats are troublesome in the summer, as they trap excess moisture from the humidity and irritate your pooch’s skin. Regular brushing also removes the dead hair and helps circulation on the outer layer of skin.
Shaving your pet’s heavy coat to avoid overheating in summer is a bad idea. Their coat protects them from the heat and harmful UV rays of the sun. Double-coated breeds should never be trimmed; other coat types can be trimmed but never shaved completely for the summer. Moreover, when dogs shed, it is actually the undercoat that sheds. Hence, when this happens, the guard coat takes care of the body. But if the guard coat is trimmed, the protection is completely damaged and gone. Upon doing so, it is likely that the hair won’t grow properly or in worst-case scenario, the hair won’t come back ever. Trimming also attracts insects since the protection layer for your pet is completely gone. You should take your pet to a professional groomer for best advice. For breeds like Labradors and Pugs, a complete trim is a big No-No. Summer time can be fun with all the yummy fruits, picnics, and fun! But keep your pet’s health and grooming needs in mind for a happy and healthy summer.
(Poorvi Anthony is co-founder of Just Dogs, a pet retail chain of pet superstore and spa which offers services including spa, dog training, dog breeding, dog grooming and pet boarding. She is a certified theory and practical skills instructor, pet groomer, and pet services specialist from Vanity Fur Grooming Apprentice Program, Canada.)