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9 Winter Dog Grooming Tips and Reminders - Part 1

9 Winter Dog Grooming Tips and Reminders - Part 1

You are already aware that if you want your four-legged friend to thrive, he needs exercise, a quality diet, and diligent grooming. Due to a difference in coat quality, as well as the outside conditions, grooming during the winter differs slightly from the rest of the year. Plenty of owners believe they can be less thorough during the winter but this couldn’t be further from the truth.

The importance of winter grooming

Just like you put on your winter coat with the change of the seasons, so does your dog. In general, dogs’ coats consist of two layers: the soft, fluffy undercoat, and the coarser guard hair. Shedding occurs when a hair grows to its full potential, as determined by the dog’s genetics. Before winter, dogs start to shed their summer undercoat in order to grow a winter layer. Because this new undercoat is far thicker, it can get matted more easily. Matted hair can be difficult to dry. It might also cause the dog discomfort and even pain. (No. 63 Detangling Conditioning Mist lubricates the hair so tangles and mats can be separated and removed painlessly.) Finally, sometimes the dog’s skin beneath the matted fur can become infected. Grooming is especially vital for double-coated breeds like the Chow Chow, Siberian Husky, and various shepherd breeds.

1. Brushing rules supreme

Brushing daily, or at least every couple of days is the most effective thing you can do. Never brush a dry coat. The coat should be lightly misted, not dripping wet, this will help prevent coat breakage. Regular brushing, whether with a regular brush or a de-shedding tool will help remove the shedding hair and prevent matting. Mats in the fur don’t allow the air to flow freely, thus compromising its insulating properties. Brushing also helps distribute the oils from the sebaceous glands, which will moisturize the skin and minimize the chances of itchiness. Finally, it is an effective way to remove dried mud from the fur without bathing. 

 2. Bathe – in moderation

It’s okay to bathe your dog in winter and of course, don’t go out into the cold until he dries completely. Bathing will help to reduce excessive shedding. Always use a mild shampoo and nourishing conditioner. This will ensure that your pet’s coat is shiny and smooth. It will also reduce the possibility of scaly, irritated skin. If your pet won’t allow you to dry him after a bath, the next best option is to use dry shampoo. Don’t forget to brush it out carefully afterward with a brush spray to help condition and detangle. 

 3. Don’t neglect the paws

Just as our hands crack and suffer during the freezing winter months, so do our dogs’ paws, but there are ways to protect your dog’s paws in winter. Being exposed to lower temperatures, rain, snow, and salt can lead to problems such as irritations, redness and cracked pads. If the problem is not addressed properly, the dog might even develop a paw infection. Some dogs don’t mind wearing protective booties. If your pooch can’t stand them, always make sure to wash and pat-dry his paws when you come home from a walk. If the pads do appear dry and cracked, consider using a nourishing paw balm to restore the skin to a healthy, supple state.

4. Check the nose

The cold weather can dry out a dog’s snout. Not only is that uncomfortable, but it can also impair your Fido’s sense of smell. If you notice dryness and irritation around the nose, make sure you apply a soothing snout balm regularly. It keeps the nose moist and prevents damage from cold winter weather.

5. Haircuts

Before you opt for a short style pooch haircut, remember that your dog’s coat has the important function of keeping him warm. However, the hair surrounding the paws should be trimmed shorter, especially in winter. Long hair surrounding the paws will get wet constantly, forming extremely unpleasant clumps of mud, ice and snow, and may cause irritation.

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