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Grooming Tips for Dogs That Like to Swim

Summertime fun in the water isn’t just for humans. Some dogs love going for swims when it’s warm out, too. Although swimming is a great way for dogs to be physically active, it’s important to pay close attention to their grooming needs. Whether you have dogs who enjoy being in the pool or out in the ocean, water can affect their coat and increase their risk of ear infections.

Bathing After Swimming

Dogs should be bathed after going for a swim in order to protect their skin and coat.

  • Swimming pools: Baths help rinse off chlorine from swimming pools, so it won’t irritate sensitive skin. If your dogs have white coats, pool chemicals can also give them a greenish tint. If this happens, you can get rid of this tint with a brightening dog shampoo.
  • Lakes and rivers: If your dogs have been swimming in a lake or river, bathing rinses off sand that can make their skin itchy. It can also help prevent an unpleasant wet dog smell combined with a fishy smell from freshwater sources.
  • Ocean: Swimming in saltwater and running along the beach can take a toll on your dogs’ skin. Baths help remove sand and salt that can cause itchiness and irritation.

Ear Problems and Swimming

Having wet ears, especially in the ear canal, can increase the risk of ear infections in dogs. You can reduce this risk by gently drying your dog’s ears off with a towel. Just make sure you don’t stick the towel or any other object inside your dog’s ear canal or you could damage it. You should check your dog’s ears for signs of infection, such as redness or a foul odor, throughout summer and see your vet if you notice any.

Brushing After Swimming

Dogs with longer coats can get tangles from being in the water. Debris in lakes and rivers can also get caught in their coat and cause mats to form. Brushing your dogs after they’ve been swimming helps lower the risk of tangles and mats. It also helps reduce pet odor by removing any dead hair.

Skin and Paw Pad Protection

Dogs can get sunburn while swimming or playing on the beach. Hot sand other surfaces can also hurt their paw pads. Putting sunscreen on dogs, especially those with no undercoat or thin fur, helps protect them from the sun. For sensitive paw pads, putting dog-friendly balm on them can help them heal.

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