Wet fur care, as advised by Klára Miketová

Summer is a time of joy. The warm weather encourages trips and having fun in the water. However, summer may not be as great for our dogs as it may seem. We fur may sometimes do more harm than good. How to take care of wet fur and how to prevent any possible problems? We interviewed breeder Klára Miketová on this very topic.

Should we pay extra attention when our pet has wet fur? Are there any inherent dangers, especially now in the summer when dogs often get wet?
Yes, swimming in the summer offers pleasant cooling sensations for our dogs, just like for us. However, there are various risks that come with it. Water quality is important. Dogs, like us, shouldn’t swim in waters containing cyanobacteria. Bad river water can cause various moulds and rashes, as any vet would tell you. Another danger can be caused by hot spots, where the skin under the fur can get inflamed and bacteria overgrow there. Dogs often lick these spots, spreading the bacteria to other parts of their body. And last but not least, there is the risk of cold, which can cause inflammation of the urinary tract or kidneys. Short-haired dogs have an advantage here, as they dry in a moment, or patting them down with a towel is enough. For dogs with long fur, it’s best to use a quality shampoo and blow dry them upon arrival at home. 

How should we dry the fur?
Dog fur can hold up to 20 litres of water. Nature has arranged it in such a way that, for example, a Newfoundland dog or a Labrador Retriever can shake out almost all the water away. But these breeds were bred especially for work in water. If we take a breed such as the Samoyed or Husky, whose thick coat protects it from cold and bad weather, its coat type is not designed to get wet down to the skin. If you let such a dog dry naturally, it will take 15 hours. The top coat will be dry, but the undercoat and skin will still be wet. For these dogs, it is necessary to use a turbo hairdryer and get the water out from the undercoat. Breeds with very long fur, such as the Maltese or the Afghan Hound, need to be combed during blow-drying so that their hair does not tangle. 

How to properly condition wet fur?
After each swim in nature, we put our dogs in a bathtub, shampoo them thoroughly and dry them with a blow dryer. When blow-drying, we use a suitable brush, which does not pull on the fur and smooths it into the desired shape. It’s actually similar to blow drying at a hairdresser. 

What are the risks of not taking care of wet fur properly? Can we damage the fur?
Wet fur, if not brushed properly, tends to tangle. I brush long-haired dogs immediately, even if they get wet just from the rain. This is doubly true for swimming. We can only damage the fur if it is very dirty. That is why it’s important to keep dogs clean so that their fur does not break. But we can damage the fur also by blow-drying with air that is too hot. It’s important to use a quality blow dryer for dogs, as well as a quality fur brush.

Photo credit: Alena Vanžurová

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