Should I have my Dog groomed in Winter? … A question I often get asked
Grooming over the winter months is just as important to the health of your dog as grooming in the summer. Long, wet, matted hair easily makes a cold, wet, and infection-susceptible dog.
While the double-coated breeds and others with thick, long fur are more winter-ready than short-haired dogs, it can quickly become a problem if the fur isn’t maintained in a healthy condition. Fur that’s matted doesn’t insulate or provide warmth; instead, it provides discomfort, sometimes pain, and hot spots. Matting can on occasion lead to infections below the skin, Grooming is really important throughout the year for your dog’s good health and comfort, and of course keeping them looking their best.
Keeping your dog comfortable in Winter …
Any time your dog is wet, whether it’s from being out in the rain, or after a bath, make sure you dry him thoroughly with a towel. In the winter this becomes especially important because your dog is just as susceptible to chills as you and will prevent their bedding from getting damp and uncomfortable to lie in.
Brushing and De-matting:
The most important grooming procedure at any time of year is to brush your dog’s coat regularly to help get rid of mats, tangles and uncomfortable itchy loose fur, which only get worse if left. Mats and tangles prevent the distribution of the oils that naturally occur in the skin that help to condition and stimulate the skin and coat which will lead to an increase in dry skin, dull coat, and possible infections. A beautiful, mat-free coat helps to insulate body heat and radiates this heat back into the body, keeping a protective barrier between the dog and external cold air. Mats will hold moisture against the skin, attracting more snow and mud, creating a perfect breeding ground for bacterial growth and infection. If mats get out of control, it becomes too painful for the dog to attempt to brush them all out, in which case, the kindest thing for your dog is to cut the entire coat short before skin and health problems develop.
Keeping your dogs’ feet in good condition is very important in the winter. During winter, walks for some may become shorter and over more snow- and ice-covered areas, so the nails will not wear down as much as they normally would. It’s very important to keep the nails trim, because if the nails grow long such that you hear clicking noises on the floor when they walk across it, this makes it difficult for them to keep their balance on ice and snow. Dogs can fall on the ice too!
It’s also important to trim your dog’s fur around their paw-pads as excess fur attracts snow and iceballs to form, creating severe discomfort and pain to your dog. Hair that builds up in the pads can become matted, and hold moisture from rain and snow, and even pick up rock salt and ice. Which is similar to us waking around with rocks in wet shoes and can’t be nice for your dog. A good habit to get into (although not always practical) is to get a bowl of warm water after each walk and give each paw a little soak, the warm water easily melts away the ice and snow and any loose dirt and debris is shaken loose before it can burrow deeper. Keep a check on the pads and if they start to become cracked apply a little shea butter.
If you do struggle to keep your dog mat free in-between dog grooms then take a look at the services page for bathing and brush outs, prices start at £12 and discounts are given to my regular customers for bathing in-between their full grooms.