Every year, usually around the end of August as we start to pack up the remnants of summer, pet owners everywhere should take the opportunity to get Fido ready for the return to a life lived on the other side of the front door.
Yes, that’s right; the transition from summer to fall is a real thing. Just the change in temperature forces pet owners to spend more time outside with pets. Some of the lucky dogs even get to travel with their owners. However, all of that traveling and extra time spent outside can take a toll on your furry pal.
Hot sand, steamy pool decks, sticky asphalt, and scorching sidewalks—your dog’s paws may have come in contact with all of these summer heat hazards, leaving him to start off autumn with paw pads that are dry, chapped, cracked, or even injured.
To repair themm, slick on some petroleum jelly, then give your dog a chew toy to distract him until it soaks in. Paw pad balm, available at most pet stores, is a more expensive but less greasy option, and it provides protection so you can use it next summer before hitting the sand or sidewalk, not to mention for winter weather protection.
If your dog’s paw pads have actual cracks, try some antibiotic ointment or gel. In the case of bleeding, red streaks, or pus, let your veterinarian treat the injury.
If your allergies seem to be lasting longer than usual, pollen might be piggybacking into the house on your dog’s coat. Many dogs also have pollen allergies, which typically manifest as skin rashes. Give your dog a good bath to help minimize pollen in the house and its effects on both you and your dog. Use a gentle, hypoallergenic shampoo and rinse well.
If your dog’s jet-black, rich red, or deep brown coat looks faded and fried, don’t worry, the damage isn’t permanent. Those bleached hairs will eventually fall out and your dog’s deep, rich color will grow back in. However, there are a few ways to hurry the process along:
A major grooming session. Brush, brush, and brush to get all the dead hair out of the coat. If your dog has a double, long, or curly coat, use a slicker brush or shedding comb. In the fall, dogs tend to shed more heavily to get rid of the summer coat and make room for a winter coat anyway, so take advantage of this time to banish the discolored hair. Frequent brushing will also distribute coat oils, making the hair look healthier and shinier.
Color shampoo. Shampoos made for dogs with black, red, or brown coats can enhance those colors, restoring some of the lost luster.
Oil-based conditioner and coat spray. Even if you didn’t use it during the summer, a good conditioner and/or coat spray can add a sheen that can make the hair look darker and richer.
Some pet owners swear by fish-oil supplements made for dogs and there is some anecdotal evidence that fish-oil capsules can improve not just the quality but also the color of the coat. If you find a supplement that your dog will actually eat and your pet has no medical reason that may be exacerbated by such a supplement, go for it.
High-quality premium dog food. You already know there are several reasons to feed your dog the good stuff. Better coat quality is one of them—and balanced nutrition may help restore it more quickly. So now is a perfect time to consider upgrading. Don’t be afraid to ask your veterinarian for advice. Today’s dog food has become very complicated and asking for help when deciding what to feed your pet is very common.
Many pet owners fail to realize that fall can also be peak tick season. If you were thinking of packing away the topical flea and tick medication that you used to keep the icky little pest away from your four legged pals all summer, don’t.
Ticks are still very much a threat even when the weather gets cooler. Many pet owners use meds year round to keep flea and ticks at bay since ticks and fleas can survive in your home all year long.