Contrary to popular belief, grooming your dog is not just a thing that you do during hot weather. Plenty of pet parents think that their four-legged best friend do not get as dirty during winter time and does not need a bath or grooming. However, frequent grooming is vital if you want your little rascal to sustain a healthy coat and prevent any matting. You know what matting leads to, a wet and cold pooch that is susceptible to infections and you don’t certainly want that.
There are dogs that are double coated and yes they are more prepared for the cold winter months compared to breeds that have short hair. Pet parents with double-coated pooches should know that when not properly maintained, it can become a total nightmare. Matted coat does not provide warmth or protection during winter. It is actually very uncomfortable, painful, and can possibly cause an infection. As the pet parent, it is your responsibility to consider your pet’s health during the winter season.
Help your dog achieve a healthy winter coat by paying adequate attention to these five grooming areas that need extra attention when the cold days start rolling around the corner.
Protecting your dog’s paws from the harsh winter weather
Your pooch’s paws will often suffer from cracked pads, infections from the elements, as well as irritation. Always keep a towel handy by the door so you can easily wipe your dog’s paw dry every time he goes out and make it a routine. Be especially vigilant to mud balls or snow between the pads.
Dog boots can also help prevent the harsh effect of the weather and many of the chemicals applied on streets and sidewalks to help accelerate the melting of ice. If your dog is receptive to paw protectors or dog boots, you should certainly get them. They help protect sensitive skin because they act as a barrier against the elements.
Take care of dry skin
Dogs suffer from dry skin more often during winter for the same reason that our skin also gets drier during winter, because of dry and artificial heat. Your best defense against dry skin is a regular committing to a regular bathing schedule.
You should give your dog a good shampoo, conditioner, blow out and brushing at least once a month. Look for a special moisturizing dog shampoo which can help with dry skin. However, you should be careful about lotions because they can cause your dog’s coat to become greasy. A water-based moisturizer will be a better option.
You can also consider dog supplements such as omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. When taken orally, they can help replenish natural skin oils so talk to your veterinarian about potentially including supplements in your dog’s diet.
Trim the hair between the toes
As previously mentioned, there is a variety of chemicals and salts used on streets and sidewalks during winter to melt ice and they can easily get stuck in the hair between the pads and toes. As we all know dogs like to lick their paws but doing so can lead to gastrointestinal disturbances, as well as other health issues.
Aside from the possibility of ingesting caustic materials, they can also irritate your dog’s skin and cause infection. Snow can also get stuck there and potentially cause frostbite. An important step that should not be skipped when protecting your dog during winter is to trim the hair on the feet and between the paw pads. Doing so will make it easier for pet parents to get rid of all debris after a walk outside.
Pay attention to your dog’s nails
Your dog’s nails need special attention during winter because his nails don’t wear down as much due to the snow and ice acting as a barrier between your dog’s feet and the surfaces. There is less friction so the nails do not get worn down as quickly. Most pet parents are also not active during winter and they don’t tend to run as much with their dogs during cold months.
If you do not take your dog regularly to the groomer, you should get yourself a sturdy and reliable pair of dog nail clippers so you can cut your dog’s nails at home.
Give your dog a winter haircut
A majority of pet parents have this misconception that it is a no-no to give a dog a haircut during cold weather because he needs his coat to keep him warm. While this is partly true, pet parents must also take note of the fact that their dogs do not live outdoors.
They are usually in the family home, warm and snuggled up in their own beds. House dogs do not need to rely on long and thick coats to keep them warm. If you are concerned about your dog being cold when you go out in winter, you can consider getting him that stylish doggie sweater.
Don’t forget regular brushing
Long-haired breeds such as poodles and drop-coated breeds such as the Maltese require haircuts but they are most prone to parents who think that dog grooming should stop during winter. When hair grows longer, at-home brushing needs to be more frequent and might even become an unmanageable task.
Whether you need to do daily or weekly brushes will depend entirely on the type of cat, its length and whether the hair is prone to tangling. Dogs with short coats will be okay with a bristle brush but those with longer and thicker coats may require a more rigid and stronger brush. There are even dogs with coats that require special tools.
Having a pet is a commitment and as a pet parent, you need to make sure that they get the best possible care, regardless of the season. It is important that you make yourself aware of your dog’s needs through varying weathers, so they avoid infections and any disease. Winter is a time for holidays and merry-making but it should also be a time for you to be consistent with your dog’s grooming