Do’s and Don’ts of Winter Dog Grooming
Many dog owners mistakenly believe that they can skip dog grooming during the winter months. Often, this is a simple mistake based on good intentions, such as thinking they should allow their dog’s coat to grow during the winter to give him extra warmth. In actuality, winter dog grooming is just as important, possibly even more so, than it is during the summer months.
Alyssa Hill, a dog grooming professional told iHeartDogs, “In fact, in many ways, grooming over the winter months becomes even more important to the health of your dog than at any other time of the year. Long, wet, matted hair easily makes a cold, wet, and infection-susceptible dog.”
If your dog goes without grooming in the winter, you risk that long fur becoming matted. What you may think is adding extra cold-weather protection will actually be doing just the opposite. Hill explains, “Fur that’s matted doesn’t insulate or provide warmth; instead, it provides discomfort, pain, and hot spots. Matting can even lead to infections below the skin.”
Additionally, many dog moms and dads simply pass on dog grooming in the winter because they don’t think their dog needs it as much. Like humans, your dog is likely spending more time indoors during the winter, so she isn’t as smelly or dirty. But, some of the things we do to stay warm indoors, dry out dog’s skin.
Regular dog grooming is important year-round, but here are some do’s and don’ts to pay attention to during the coldest season of the year.
Don’t Wait for Dog Grooming Until Spring
As we’ve established, dog grooming is absolutely necessary during winter. If you wait until spring, your dog’s fur will likely be matted. As a result, it will make grooming much more difficult. Plus, the more often your dog is groomed, the more comfortable he will be during the grooming process.
Don’t Let Them Outside with Wet Fur
One of the key differences when it comes to winter dog grooming is regulating their body temperature. For this reason, you want to make sure your dog is completely dry after a bath. Do not let your dog outside to dry off as you may during hotter months. The issue is that the longer a dog is exposed to the cold, the likelier he will experience a drop in body temperature and may even suffer from hypothermia. This occurs most often when a dog is wet.
Do Bathe Them Regularly
You may think your dog doesn’t need a bath because she doesn’t seem smelly or dirty since she hasn’t been playing outdoors as often. While she may not stink, her skin still needs a good cleaning. Plus, it is a great way to moisturize dry skin. According to Courtney Campuzano, owner of a dog grooming salon, to PetMD, “Dry dog skin can occur more often in winter for the same reason our skin can get drier in the winter—artificial, dry heat […] Maintaining a regular bathing schedule is your best defense. Most dogs should get a good shampoo, condition, blow out and brushing about once a month.” If your dog does have winter dry skin issues, use a special moisturizing shampoo.
Do Continue Haircuts
Whether you choose to keep cutting your dog’s hair throughout the winter, opt for a longer trim, or let it grow, it is important to continue brushing and shampooing it regularly. The reason most dog grooming professionals suggest you do continue cutting your dog’s hair in the winter is that many dog parents fail to regularly brush their fur, which results in serious matting come spring. If you are worried that your fur-baby will get cold with short hair, then invest in winter gear, such as doggie coats.
Do Protect Their Paws
Your pup’s paws need extra protection in the winter – especially if you live somewhere where ice and snow cover the sidewalks. Avoid cracked paws, irritations, and infections caused by winter weather by wiping your dog’s paws off each time he comes back indoors. You should also pay careful attention to the area between his pads (or toes). Dr. Jeff Werber, DVM explains to PetMD, “In the winter, there are a variety of chemicals and salts used to melt ice on sidewalks and outdoor walkways—and they can get stuck in the hair between the toes and pads […] Licking paws after walks over rock salt can lead to gastrointestinal disturbances as well as electrolyte issues, in some cases.”
Note – If you live somewhere with regular winter weather, you may want to consider investing in paw protectors or dog boots.
Do Trim Their Nails
Like humans, most dog’s physical activity slows down a bit in the winter. This means they are not grinding their toenails as much as the sidewalk. Check their toenails regularly to see if it is time for a trim. You don’t want to wait until you can hear them tapping across your hardwood floors. If you plan to trim your dog’s nails at home, check out the AKC’s guide for How to Trim Your Dog’s Nails Safely, which includes step-by-step instructions and a video.
While we might not always face extreme winter weather in Texas, we hope our dog-loving neighbors in other states find these winter dog grooming tips useful. For those of you who call the Dallas, Texas area home, we won’t clean your dog, but we’d love to clean up your yard. Schedule service with Super Scoopers today!