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Polishing up your pup for the winter ahead

Two different size terrier dogs in tub with unhappy expressions and soap suds on heads. thinkstock.com

Now that the summer days have come to an end, we are all doing our best to make the most of the fall season before the cold sets in. But from cracked paw pads to pollen to sun-bleached fur, your pet might need some post-summer TLC. The American Kennel Club offers a few simple tips to tend to your pup's coat and paws after months in the hot summer sun.

Paw pads

Your dog's paws may have come into contact with summer heat hazards such as hot sand, scorching sidewalks and sticky asphalt, leaving him to start off the new season with dry, chapped, cracked or even injured paw pads. To repair, rub some petroleum jelly on his pads, then give him a chew toy to distract him until it soaks in. Paw pad balm, available at most pet stores, is a less greasy option and provides protection so you can use it next summer, as well as 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, take your dog to the veterinarian to be treated.

Pollen residue

If your allergies seem to be lasting longer than usual, pollen might be making its way 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, dog-friendly shampoo, and be sure to rinse well.

Sun-bleached coat

If your dog's jet-black, deep brown or rich red coat looks faded and fried, 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. Make sure to bathe and brush your dog regularly to speed up the process

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