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The Good Old Summertime Can Be Hazardous to Your Dog’s Skin and Coat

May 21, 2010

Cardinal Laboratories Offers Tips for Warm Weather Skin and Coat Care

AZUSA, Calif. Fleas and ticks are well-known summertime pet pests but the beautiful, warm summer weather can have other hidden dangers for your dog’s skin and coat.  From burrs stuck in his fur to sunburned noses, these troublesome situations can quickly douse the fun of a day in the sun, and in some cases, even create a veterinary emergency.  Cardinal Laboratories, a leading manufacturer of pet supplies, offers the following advice on how to deal with some common summertime coat and skin care issues:

  • Skunk Spray – Few odors are worse than skunk spray, and it can linger in a dog’s coat for up to two years if not treated immediately.  The traditional remedy of tomato juice and vinegar bath only temporarily masks the odor and the juice may stain his fur.  Instead, use a commercial skunk odor remover for pets, or try this – mix one quart of hydrogen peroxide, ¼ cup of baking soda and one teaspoon of grease-fighting dishwashing liquid in a bucket (do not use a sealed container – it will explode).  While it’s still bubbling, put on rubber gloves and bathe the dog with this mixture and warm water, concentrating on the area that was skunked.  Leave the mixture on for about 10 minutes, then rinse it off.  Just be careful not to get it in your dog’s eyes!  Follow with a bath using a deodorizing pet shampoo designed to deep clean and eradicate odors like Cardinal’s Gold Medal Pets Citrus Clean Shampoo.

  • Paint – Solvents like turpentine are a no-no if your dog gets paint on his coat, as they are poisonous to dogs.  Water-based latex paint  may come free with plain warm water.  If it doesn’t, add a dollop of a high-quality, deep-cleaning dog shampoo like Cardinal’s Gold Medal Pets Clean Scent Shampoo, to the already-wet fur and it should do the job.  For oil-based paint, the only way to remove it from a dog’s fur is by cutting it away.  Make sure you get all of it as oil-based paint is highly toxic to dogs, especially if it is ingested.
  • Tar and Chewing Gum – The easiest way to remove both of these sticky substances is to simply cut them out of the fur.  However, a little vegetable oil or petroleum jelly – and a lot of patience – may soften tar enough so it can be washed away.  Follow up with a bath using a shampoo that will remove the vegetable oil like Cardinal’s Crazy Pet Pina Colada Shampoo, a tropical-scented shampoo rich in proteins and moisturizers which thoroughly cleans coats and lubricates skin.  To remove chewing gum, try a commercial gum-removing product, or freeze the gum with ice to prevent more hair from sticking to it, then pull as much hair out of the gum as you can.  You may have to cut some of the hair, depending on how much is stuck to it. 
  • Burrs – If not promptly removed, burrs can work their way deep into your dog’s coat, forming mats and causing the hair to pull, making the dog very uncomfortable.  To remove burrs, work vegetable oil or Pet Botanics Naturals Passion Flower & Nettle Conditioner into the area and gently pick the hairs free with your fingers or a metal comb.  When applied before bathing, the conditioner helps to removes mats and tangles, and after a bath it leaves a dog’s hair soft, shiny and more resistant to matting.  If you have to, use a mat splitter or grooming scissors and cut along, not across, the hair. 
  • Hot Spots – fleas, mites, insect bites, allergies or skin wounds can all cause hot spots – raw, red, oozing sores that result from a dog scratching or licking himself excessively in one area.  Hot spots are a situation that can quickly get out of hand and are best dealt with as soon as possible.  To help relieve discomfort and promote healing, trim the hair from the area around the hot spot and carefully wash it with a gentle shampoo, such as Cardinal’s Pet Botanics Oatmeal Puppy Shampoo with Chamomile, which provides cleansing and contains colloidal oatmeal, a well-known skin soother.  Apply a hydrocortisone spray to help stop itching, or for more natural relief, try Pet Botanics Tea Tree Spray, with tea tree oil, chamomile and poplar buds that soothes itchiness and skin irritations.  Caution – hot spots can be very painful so it may be necessary to muzzle your dog during treatment.  If the hot spot doesn’t improve, a trip to the vet is recommended.
  • Sunburn – Dogs can get sunburn, especially light-colored dogs and those with little or no hair.  Regardless of breed or color, dogs’ ears and noses are particularly vulnerable.  Always put sunscreen on your dog before going outside for a day in the sun.  Make sure there is shade so he can get out of the sun, and provide plenty of fresh water to drink.
  • Hot Sidewalks – Dog owners need to be wary of sidewalk temperatures – if the concrete or beach sand is too hot for your bare feet, it’s probably too hot for your dog, too.  Try to walk your dog on grassy surfaces, or in the early morning or evening if it’s a particularly hot day.  Wax-based paw protectants can prevent a dog’s paws from being burned by hot surfaces, and they also work in the winter to protect paws from cold and salt.  Check with your local pet supply retailer or online for more information.
  • Long, Thick Coats – If your dog has an extremely long and/or dense coat, consider giving him a shorter hair cut for the summer.  It will help keep him cooler and more comfortable, and may also make burrs and other debris easier to remove.  Never trim a long-haired dog’s coat shorter than one inch, as this will make him more susceptible to sunburn.

As always, have your veterinarian’s phone number and the number of a nearby 24-hour vet handy for when emergencies occur. 

Gold Medal Pets, Crazy Pet and Pet Botanics Shampoos and Pet Botanics Tea Tree Spray are available at leading pet stores everywhere. For more information, contact Cardinal Laboratories at 1-800-433-7387 or visit www.cardinalpet.com.

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