Do's and Don'ts of Summer Dog Grooming

Summer Dog Grooming   |Updated 09-02-2023

Summer has finally arrived! It brings a ton of exciting dog-friendly activities like romps on the beach, long walks in the park, swimming and camping.

Summertime also means grass and dirt stuck to your dog’s coat. To avoid getting frustrated and having to deal with a perpetually stinky house, follow these simple rules to keep your pooch looking and feeling its best during the summer. 

Schnauzer is standing on the beach.The Dos and Don'ts of Summer Dog Grooming

As the temperature rises, it's crucial to pay extra attention to your furry friend's grooming needs. Grooming your dog during the summer not only helps them look their best but also ensures their comfort and well-being.

What is Your Dog's Breed?

Your dog's breed plays a significant role in how much additional grooming you will need to consider.

If you have a dog that's passive and calm by nature and they don't like physical activities, you might not need to change their grooming habits at all.

Let them rest inside your climatized house during the day. Then just take them out for a walk at night, once the temperature outside becomes pleasant and refreshing.

More energetic dog breeds and personalities will need a change in their grooming habits. One late night walk a day won't be enough for them.

If you don't let them spend their excess energy outside, they will probably make a mess inside your house simply because they are bored. That is why you must groom them in a way so that they won't overheat when they are out in the sun.

Types of Coats:  Short, Long, Curly, Double?

Types of dog coats can be divided into three major categories: long coats, short coats, and double coats (a soft undercoat and a coarser topcoat). Another way to look at dog hair coats is by length (long vs. short), texture (curly vs. straight), and coarseness (wire-haired vs. non-wire). 

All three coat types should be brushed regularly during the summer. This will help remove the loose hair strands and prevent the coat from becoming entangled.

Double Coated Dog Small Dog Breeds

Dogs with long hair will probably feel much more comfortable if you give them a nice haircut. Short haired dogs can be shaved in the summer.

But dogs with double coats such as Shih Tzus, Terriers and Pomeranians, are a whole different story. If you trim their coats too short, you won't be doing them a favor. Even though it might seem like that fluffy coat makes them feel much hotter, it's actually doing the opposite.

They regulate their body temperature through it, so if you shave the coat thoroughly, you'll mess up that process. 

13 Things a Small Dog Owner Should Do to Groom Their Dog in the Summer

  1. Regular Brushing
  2. Bathing
  3. Proper Hair Trimming
  4. Ear Care
  5. Paw Protection
  6. Avoid Hot Cars
  7. Ample Fresh Water
  8. Flea and Tick Protection
  9. Sun Protection
  10. Nail Care
  11. Eye Care
  12. Dental Health Care
  13. Regular Vet Check Ups

1. Brush, Brush, Brush

A chocolate Shih Tzu is being brushed outdoors.Plan to brush more frequently in the summer months.

Summer dog grooming means brush their hair once in every two or three days.  Most dogs shed a lot during summer, so they need brushing more than they do in winter.

Plus, that excess hair is like a jacket that makes them feel even hotter. With proper brushing, you will help them feel much cooler and comfortable. Always choose a brush that is appropriate for your dog breed.

2. Bathe Your Dog Regularly

A small black dog is taking a bathBathing regularly helps keep dirt and odors down and keeps your dog looking his best.

Bathe your dog regularly during summer. They will gladly roll around in the dirt or jump into a lake to cool off a bit. That mud shouldn't stay on their coat for long because it might cause skin infections or inflammations.

Don't bathe them too often though, you don't want to wash off the natural oils off their hair and help it get entangled more easily.

Don’t bath your pup within 48 hours of applying topical flea and tick preventative. Those products work by soaking into the dog’s skin, and you’ll hinder their effectiveness wash them away too early.

3. Proper Hair Trimming


Consider giving your dog a summer trim, especially if they have longer coats. This helps them stay cool and reduces the chances of overheating.

Remember, though that shaving can have the opposite effect as you might expect.  Ask your groomer to leave about a half inch or more of hair when trimming to avoid shaving it down to the skin

4. Don't Forget to Clean Their Ears

A small Shih Tzu dog is having his ears cleaned with a cotton ball

Dogs that swim or venture into brush-filled areas are at risk of ear issues. Even seasonal allergies can show up as ear infections. Dry their ears thoroughly after swimming and check for any signs of infection or irritation.

The inside of a dog's ear creates a warm, moist environment for bacteria, yeast and even parasites such as ear mites.  This happens year-round, but can be especially problematic in the warm months. Summer dog grooming can't be complete without the focus on your dog's ears.

Dirt and debris can lead to infections if left untreated. Use an ear cleaning solution or wet wipes and clean their ears adequately after outdoor activities.

5. Paw Pads

Small white dog is having the hair between her paw pads clippedRemoving the stray hairs between your dog's paw pads will help keep feet cleaner.

Hot sidewalks can burn a dog's paws, so avoid walking on them during hot summer days. Consider using dog shoes to protect their feet. Keep the pad hair short. This area contacts a lot of dirt, small pebbles and seeds while your dog is outside. If the hair here is left long, it will gather that dirt, and your dog will bring it inside your house.

Long haired dogs whose pad hair continues to grow can also get matted while also picking up dirt. Also, long pad hair can make a dog slip and injure themselves on slippery surfaces.

It is important to check pads regularly especially if your dog spends much time on hot artificial turf, asphalt, brick or concrete.  As we all know, the sand at the beach can also retain heat making it nearly impossible to walk barefoot comfortably.  

Dog paw burns are not uncommon but you can prevent them with a couple of simple measures.  Use dog boots if your dog will wear them. 

Not all dogs tolerate boots, though.  Another option is to put paw wax on your dog's paws before they go outdoors in hot weather.  You will want to wipe their paws when you return because the wax can be messy on clean floors.

If you fear your dog's paws may be burned, place a cold pack on them and call your vet.

6.  Avoid Hot Cars


While not exactly a grooming task, it goes without saying that hot cars can kill.  Leaving a dog in a hot car can be dangerous and lead to heatstroke. Never leave your dog unattended in a parked car during the summer.

7.  Hydrations:  Yours and Theirs


Provide ample cool fresh water.  Keep your dog hydrated by providing plenty of fresh water. Adding ice to their water bowl can help keep it cool. 

9. Flea and Tick Preventions


A beautiful coat of hair won't stay lovely for long if it is home to fleas and ticks. These nasty external parasites can also make your dog miserable or sick.  Check your dog regularly for fleas and ticks, as these parasites become more active during the summer. You can consult a vet for preventive medications.

10.  Sun Protection


Dogs with short fur or exposed skin can get sunburned. Keep them out of direct sunlight and consider using dog-friendly sunscreen on exposed areas. Hairless dogs such as the American Hairless or Chinese Crested should wear clothing to protect their exposed skin.

11. Nail Trims


Overgrown nails can hinder a dog's ability to walk. Regularly trim their nails to ensure their comfort and mobility. Nails can be trimmed using a nail clipper or grown down using a Dremel type tool.

12. Eye Care

A small Shih Tzu dog is having his eyes cleaned with  cotton gauze pad

Keep your small dog's eyes clean by gently wiping away any discharge or debris using a soft, damp cloth. Hard or crusty debris can often be brushed or combed away using a small soft toothbrush, or puppy comb.  Trim hair away from eyes.  If you notice any persistent issues, consult a veterinarian.

13. Dental care


I've always wondered whether dental care came under the category of grooming or health, but i think it should be considered both a health habit and grooming task.  Maintain good dental hygiene by regularly brushing your small dog's teeth. Use a dog-specific toothbrush and toothpaste to prevent dental diseases or choose a different method to keep those purly whites in tip top shape.

13. Regular vet check-ups


Schedule regular check-ups with your veterinarian to ensure your small dog's overall health and to address any specific grooming concerns. Remember even a well-groomed dog won't look his best if he has underlying health problems.  Find a veterinarian.


Summer can be the best time of the year to enjoy the great outdoors, but be sure your summer dog grooming fits the season.

I hope you liked this article. If you found it useful and interesting, share it with your friends. Now go and enjoy summer together with your dog!

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About Janice (author and voice behind this site)

Having lived with dogs and cats most of her life, Janice served as a veterinary technician for ten years in Maryland and twelve years as a Shih Tzu dog breeder in Ohio.

Her education includes undergraduate degrees in Psychology with a minor in biology, Early Childhood Education, and Nursing, and a master's in Mental Health Counseling.

She is a lifelong learner, a dog lover, and passionate about the welfare of animals. Her favorite breed for over 50 years has been the Shih Tzu, but she has also lived with Poodles, Maltese, Yorkshire Terriers, Beagles, English Bulldogs, Carin Terriers, and a Cocker Spaniel.

When not writing, reading, and researching dog-related topics, she likes to spend time with her eight Shih Tzu dogs, husband, and family, as well as knitting and crocheting. She is also the voice behind Miracle Shih Tzu and Smart-Knit-Crocheting

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