Dogs Who Love To Swim In Water
Our Labradors love to swim. It’s not unusual. For many dogs, the sight of a big blue stretch of water, a muddy pond, a plastic paddling pool, or even a really big puddle will put a catapult into their step and a sparkle in their eyes.
And for those who love it, swimming is great exercise. It is also excellent for helping dogs give their natural instincts a good workout.
But splashing around in water can also cause your dogs coat problems. But don’t worry, good grooming can head off any damage and allow your dog to take full advantage of the summer fun.
Dogs Who Love A Dip In The Pool
Chlorine is known to dry out our hair and skin, and it’s the same for our best friends. Dogs who are keen on frequent dips can suffer itchy, dry skin. Their coats can dry out and take on a dull hue thanks to the pool chemicals stripping the coat of its natural oils. Chlorinated water also tends to have a slight bleaching effect on dark coats, and has been known to give even lighter coats a green tinge!
These three simple things are bound to solve any pool-swimming problems:
- Spray your dog’s coat with coat conditioner before he or she enters the pool. This helps protect coat and skin from drying out. Because dogs can get skin cancer too, it’s wise to also use a special dog sunscreen spray.
- After each swim—or at least at the end of the day – rinse your dog’s coat thoroughly with cool, clean water. The aim is to rinse enough to remove all the chlorine and any other pool chemicals. Then towel-dry or blow-dry as appropriate. Dogs with medium or long coats benefit from another application of coat conditioner after the rinse, and a quick comb. The aim is to get all the way down to the skin because mats can get hidden, and when these dry they will get tighter and become a more resilient knotty problem.
- Every week during the swimming season, you should comb out all your dog’s tangles and bathe him or her thoroughly using a gentle moisturizing shampoo and conditioner that will remove any chlorine residue and restore the essential moisture to even the driest coat.
Employing these three simple steps will counter any effect chlorinated water has on a dog’s coat. For good measure, adding an omega-3 fatty-acid supplement to food will help your dogs replenish natural coat oils from the inside out.
Dogs Who Get The Benefit Of A Beach
For those of us lucky enough to live near a dog-friendly beach probably have learned that salt, sand and sun can create a perfect storm of itching. In a bid to avoid this discomfort add these key items to your beach bag:
Armed with these accouterments, before your dog heads out into the sun, apply the moisturizing sunscreen to protect his or her skin and coat. Then at the end of your day in the sun, use the bristle brush to dislodge any irritating sand, always first brushing against the direction of hair growth, and then with it. Once you’ve removed the loose sand, if possible take advantage of a beach showers to rinse your dog thoroughly. All the time during this exercise work your fingers through the dog’s coat to loosen any stubborn sand and rinse away any salt. If there are no showers at the beach, do this once you get home.
If your dog still seems itchy try bathing him or her with a gentle anti-itch shampoo, such as an oatmeal or aloe shampoo, which will help soothe the skin. It’s a good idea, even if your beach dog isn’t complaining of being uncomfortable, to give him or her a good shampoo and conditioning with gentle moisturizing products about once a week.
As sand can also be harsh on paw pads, it’s worth applying a paw-pad balm at the beginning and at the end of a day at the beach.
Dogs That Enjoy Lakes And Rivers
Those of us with access to lakes and rivers have come to learn that muddy, stagnant lake water and rivers that get clogged up can be pretty disgusting. Many lakes and rivers are fine but unfortunately some contain pollutants, as well as slime, sludge, and even leeches!
This is why it’s a good idea to give your dog a good bath after any dip in a lake or a river. Beforehand comb out any tangles, then wet the coat thoroughly, and scrub down to the skin with plenty of shampoo. Restore moisture with a good conditioner.
Beware The Danger Of Ear Infections!
Dogs who swim wherever are all at risk of ear infections. This is because water in the ear canal creates the sort of wet environment that is ideal for bacterial and yeast growth.
So whenever your dog has been in water – even in a bath – always dry the insides of your dog’s ears with tissues, a towel or cotton wool balls. This is particularly important for dogs with floppy ears. Weekly or monthly application of an ear wash made for dogs also helps keep ears free from infection.
When your dog scratches his or her ears or shakes his or her head – especially if there is redness in the ear canal – it’s advisable to give your vet a call. It may require a prescribed medication. Ear infections are common and easily resolved, but when neglected they can spread and become very painful.
The little bit of grooming required is not only a small price to pay to give your dog a joyful swim session, but it will increase the bond you have with your dog. It’s worth it!