Five tips to protect the family pet from summer health problems

Summer days in the great outdoors are enjoyable for people and their pets. But, just like their human companions, dogs can suffer from too much of a good thing — including sunburn, skin irritation and ear infections.
Regular grooming is important to pet health all year round, says Traci Simo, head of grooming for Canine Company in Wilton. “But, skin, coat and ears require extra attention during the summer months to keep pets healthy and comfortable.” She encourages all pet owners to follow these steps to prevent problems.
• Leave coats long. Don’t shave down dogs in summer, says Simo. The coat provides protection from the sun and parasites, and creates a layer of insulation that keeps cool air near the skin. For best protection, keep the coat in good condition with frequent brushing and regular shampoos.
• Protect from the sun. Dogs are as susceptible to sunburn as humans and should be kept out of direct sun during midday hours. Cover ears, nose and other exposed areas with a dog sunscreen. Never use human sunscreen containing zinc: it’s toxic to dogs.
• Use parasite protection. Fleas, ticks and other parasites are at their peak now, so it’s important to apply preventative treatments regularly. Check for parasites every time you brush.
• Shampoo often to remove dust and mold spores that can cause skin irritation or allergies. A hose down in the yard isn’t enough; shampooing is needed. Follow with a conditioning rinse, then towel dry and brush out thoroughly to get rid of any tangles.
• Clean pets’ ears with a solution made specifically for pet ear care. Ear cleaners control the growth of organisms that can cause ear problems from swimming or humid summer air.
A professional groomer can help with many of these tasks.
Information: or 800-818-DOGS (3647).    
Canine Company provides at-home pet care products and services. Its Mobile Pet Spa serves Fairfield and Westchester counties.