Ashley Turner of Turner & Pooch in East Sussex, is a fully insured City & Guilds qualified dog groomer. She uses a happy mix of patience and reward-based training to accomplish luxury dog grooms from her salon, building a trusted relationship each time a dog visits. Ashley tells us what to look out for as we head into the summer months.
1. Do dogs shed their coats before summer and what can be done to help the process along?
Dogs that have a double coat seem to shed all year round due to our lifestyle, such as using central heating and keeping our dogs warm with the wearing of coats through the colder months, so dogs don't tend to feel the cold so much. However the de-shedding process does slow down through the winter depending on the dog's coat. I recommend dogs with a double coat such as Labradors, Boxers, Jack Russells have a de-shedding treatment. This is a 3-stage grooming treatment to help remove the majority of the undercoat to help the dog regulate their normal temperature. It allows air to circulate through the dog's coat and cool the skin. When it's warm outside, the blood vessels come to the surface of the skin, so as long as air can circulate and cool the blood going round the dog's body, the dog shouldn't overheat.
2. Should a dog’s coat be trimmed shorter or shaved as the weather warms up?
This relates to question one, because as long as the air can get through the dog's coat then the dog can cool down. Having a longer or shorter coat is just for the maintenance of the coat. Most clients like to keep their dog's coat shorter in the summer because if the coat matts it will act like a blanket over the body and no air can get to the surface of the skin. In a nutshell, if you keep on top of grooming your dog then you can have the dog's coat as long as you like. Some breeds such as Shih Tzus are supposed to have a full grown coat to the floor – they won't overheat as long as the coat is matt free and free flowing. But as we mostly have pet dogs rather than show dogs, then it is better for hygiene reasons that we keep our dogs' coats short. Coats that drag on the floor can pick up lots of bacteria and dirt.
3. Is there anything to be aware of as the weather changes, any hazards to look out for?
The main concern would be to keep on top of flea and tick treatments especially through the summer as this is when they are at their height of season. And when the weather turns also keep an eye out for slugs... keep your dogs away as these can be fatal if a dog eats one.
4. Some dogs love to sit in the sun, will a dog’s fur stop him from getting sunburnt skin?
Usually the dog's coat will protect them from the sun but white coated breeds can suffer so you have to be careful not to take the coat too short. Leave a bit of protection, but if this can't be helped you can use sunscreen on a dog too.
5. Is it safe, and indeed necessary, to put sun lotion on a dog?
Yes definitely, if you can see your dog's skin through their coat. If any irritation occurs rinse the sunscreen off immediately and stop using it, but they shouldn't be harmful. There are dog specific brands and products such as Petkin.
6. Would you recommend putting anything on a dog’s paws if they are getting sore?
Yes you can get all different kinds of balms for your dogs, from