Fall is finally here! But from cracked paw pads to pollen to sun-bleached fur, your pet might need a post-summer TLC.
Scorched Paw Pads
Hot sand, steamy pool decks, sticky asphalt, and scorching sidewalks—your dog’s paws may have come into 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, 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 as faded and fried as your 1980s hair did after a summer using Sun-In spray, 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 (just like yours did). However, there are a few ways to hurry the process along:
• A major grooming session Brush, brush, 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.
• Fish-oil supplements made for dogs There is some anecdotal evidence that fish-oil capsules can improve not just the quality but also the color of the coat.
• High-quality premium dog food You already know that 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.