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  • August Clement

Summer Dog Grooming: The Importance of Deshedding

Updated: Apr 19

Anyone who has a long-coated dog knows the struggle of trying to manage their coat in the summer heat. As we enter the warmer months, many of us are already dealing with winter coat shedding, uncomfortable dogs, and detangling the stickers that manage to show up everywhere in our dogs’ fur. We’ve decided to answer some common questions I get asked as a dog groomer at Thousand Hills Pet Resort. That will help keep your dog cool and comfortable during the summer months.



Dog Grooming Paws


Should I shave my dog for the summer?


AIt depends on the dog! While dogs with a long or heavy coat may be more susceptible to the heat, the first thing you’ll want to take into account is what type of coat your dog has. 

Huskies, Golden Retrievers, Australian or American Shepherds, and many others have what is called a double coat. A double coat consists of a shorter, softer undercoat that sheds generally twice a year, and a longer, typically slow-growing topcoat. The combination of the two makes for great insulation against the cold, but, surprisingly, it also helps to keep the dog cool in the summer, too!


According to the AKC and other respected sources, a dog's undercoat helps to trap cool air closer to the skin and insulate against the heat. Keeping your double-coated dog's undercoat intact can help them to regulate their own body temperature better, keeping them cooler and happier in the summer. 


This doesn’t mean that your double-coated friend has no coat maintenance needs, though. Trimming the fur between the paw pads, and the long overcoat on the legs, belly and chest can help keep stickers out of the coat, and keeping them de-shedded lets their double coat properly do its best insulating job. Make sure to keep up on brushing your dog in the summer, or even schedule them a partial trim and a de-shedding bath to give you a head start on those stickers!


For a dog with a single coat, such as Schnauzers, Poodles, Maltese, and many more, things can be a little more straightforward when it comes to a haircut. While some pet parents like to keep them a similar length all year around, others opt for doing a shorter, “summer cut,” to help their dog stay cool. Both of these can be great options, as long as the coat is detangled and brushed out regularly. The longer the coat, the more brushing is typically required to keep it in good shape! 


My dog gets so many stickers between his toes every summer! Is there a way to avoid that?


It’s important to check your dog for stickers regularly. Stickers are easily picked up in your dog's feet, legs, underside and face, so it’s especially important to keep an eye on those areas! If a sticker, foxtail or burr works its way into your dog’s coat, it can lead to matting, irritation, or it can even puncture the skin if it isn’t found and removed quickly. A short trim can make it easier to find a sticker before it becomes a vet visit! If you prefer to keep your dog's coat a little longer, paw trims can help keep the stickers at bay without having to lose the length.


The first option is “clean feet,” also called “poodle feet.” A poodle feet trim is when we do a tight trim on the whole foot, including under the paw and between the toes. This style is one of the more effective ways of avoiding foxtails, because with clean feet, all the fluff that a sticker would normally get caught in is removed. This leaves a clean, tidy, and most importantly, tangle-free paw! Many poodles or doodles who live at wineries or on a larger property get these feet done, as well as dogs who love to go on hikes with their owners. This is a distinctive, stylish look that saves a lot of time brushing for you and a lot of potential discomfort for your dog if they were to get into some stickers!


The second style we’ll talk about is called “Natural Feet,” and it’s a very standard, classic foot trim. This is when you shave between the undersides of the paw pads, and trim any fur that sticks up, out or under the paw when you’re done. This removes a lot of the fur that would pick up a sticker, and they also look much tidier than before the trim. It can also help to keep your dog from tracking in as much mud, dirt, and debris! This is one of the most popular trims that we do here at Thousand Hills Pet Resort for dogs such as Terriers, Golden Retrievers, Shepherds, etc. It’s great if you want a trim that looks natural on your pet!


Both senior dogs and energetic puppies can be made much more comfortable throughout the warmer months by receiving grooming. We all want the best for our dogs, and beyond simply keeping them comfortable, hair care can act as an important preventative health care strategy when the heat becomes more intense and when the weeds become sticky and aggressive. No matter what coat-care you choose for your dog--stylish, natural, short or just a good deshedding-- we hope you and your pet are able to beat the heat using some of these tips this year! 


 


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