Warmer Weather, Thicker Coats: How to Groom Your Pets
Some people are not sure of how to groom their thick-coated pets in warmer weather. There are many things to take into consideration, including ensuring that your pet is comfortable because the heat is on its way.
Some pet parents resort to shaving their dog or cat during the hotter months, but hold on!
“Our pets’ coats have several layers that are essential to their comfort in the heat,” according to the article, “Heat Wave Approaching! Should You Shave Your Pet?” at ASPCA.org. “Robbing your dog or cat of this natural cooling system can lead to discomfort, overheating and other serious dangers like sunburn or skin cancer.”
Stick to a shorter “summer cut” or let them shed naturally. Also remember to provide shade and water when your pet is outside with you.
“Extreme heat can pose a real threat to cats and dogs, just as it can to humans,” according to the article, “Grooming Tips for Warm Weather” at PetAssure.com. “Cats and dogs simply cannot tolerate extreme temperatures. As a responsible pet owner, it’s up to you to make sure your pet is safe during warm weather conditions.”
Ensure your pet is groomed properly when it’s warmer. The PetAssure article advises to keep your dog’s coat free of mats and dirt. Other tips include:
• Regular brushing to remove undercoat
• Frequently brush to prevent matted fur
• Clip long hair on dogs and cats
• Don’t cut hair too short; pets can get sunburn plus you don’t want to damage the coat for the winter
• Trim hair around paws and hindquarters
• Check your pet’s coat for insects
• Bathe your pet especially if he likes to play in dirt
Groom accordingly for the hotter weather, but keep it up all year long as well. Your pets will thank you.
According to the article, “These Dog Training Tips Can Help Your Pup Overcome Leash Reactivity,” at petMD.com, “Leash-reactive dogs are triggered by stimuli in the environment, responding with over-the-top behaviors that increase stress levels for the pet parent, the dog and everyone within barking distance.”
You may think that a leashed dog who barks, growls or lunges wants to start something with the “trigger.” However, “many dogs exhibit those types of reactions in an effort to increase their distance from the triggering stimulus,” the article said.
What may seem aggressive could be anxiety or fear – it’s defensive.
Causes of leash reactivity can include:
• No socialization as a puppy
• Bad experiences on a walk
Gentle training methods can help. The purpose is “changing your dog’s perception of the stressor.”
• Use high-value treats and a “marker” (clicker or verbal word).
• Determine your dog’s “buffer zone” and don’t get too close to the trigger.
• When your dog sees the trigger, mark that moment with a click or the verbal word then give the treat.
• Continue by marking and rewarding until trigger can’t be seen.
Your dog should start to realize the “trigger” means something good will occur. If all goes well, you can start decreasing “the distance between your dog and the trigger during walks, always making sure that your dog is relaxed and still able to eat treats as you get closer,” the article said.
“In an emergency, if your dog becomes overwhelmingly worked up at the sight of an approaching dog, you can distract him by tossing treats on the ground for him to pick up until the other dog is past,” according to the article, “Help! My Dog Lunges at Other Dogs,” at Vetstreet.com.
Start preparing your family pet months in advance for the new arrival.
If your dog hasn’t been around children, she may find things upsetting. Her schedule will change as will yours. Prepare and teach her skills to interact with baby and help adjust to the new changes, according to the article, “Dogs and Babies” at ASPCA.org.
“Teaching your dog some basic obedience skills will help you manage her behavior when the baby comes,” the article said.
The article offers some tips, including:
• Four months before baby, slowly introduce your dog to new sights, sounds, smells of the baby, and associate with rewards.
• One to two months before baby arrives, start making the changes that will affect your dog’s routine.
• Be calm during the introduction. Speak to your dog calmly and in a positive manner.
• “Never force your dog to interact with your baby,” the article said.
• Seek professional advice if you see any aggressive behavior.
There are stories that cats and babies don’t mix, but they are mainly tales. However, toxoplasmosis is real, so while you are pregnant, make sure your cat is kept indoors at all times.
Prepare your cat for the newborn throughout your pregnancy, according to the article, “Prepare Your Cat for Your New Baby,” at WebMD.com:
• Play tapes of baby noises.
• Set up nursery furniture early but set limits to where your cat can go.
• Make surfaces unwelcoming using double-sided adhesive tape.
• Place a piece of the baby’s blanket or clothing in a quiet area for your cat to investigate.
Never leave your infant alone with any companion animal. Prepare ahead for a positive transition.