You may think that during the winter it is best to let your dog’s hair grow long and thick to keep them warm and to stop them from feeling the winter chill, however grooming couldn’t be more important than at this time of year.
Whilst out walking with your four-legged friend this winter you need to be aware of what the weather conditions can do to their paws and coat. Wet and rainy weather can result in long, wet and matted fur. Whereas grit/salt on the roads and icy conditions can leave your dog’s paws full of little ice balls coupled with the grit and anything else they might pick up along the way. All of this can easily lead to a cold, wet and infection-susceptible dog.
While it is true that double-coated breeds and others with thick, long fur are more ‘winter-ready’ than short haired dogs, the ‘blessing’ of these thick coats in winter can quickly become a curse if the coat isn’t maintained in a healthy condition.
Fur that is matted doesn’t insulate or provide warmth; instead, it provides discomfort, pain and hot spots. Matting can even lead to infections below the skin, so when considering the effects of less frequent grooming, think about how your dog’s health may be affected as a result. Grooming isn’t just to make your dog look beautiful it also crucial to your dog’s good health.
So, what can you do?
It isn’t all bad, there are things you can do to keep your dog and their coat well maintained and it’s quite easy to do:
- Rinse paws – after those long walks simply rinse your dog’s paws with a bowl of warm water and towel dry to ensure there are no hidden nasties between the pads.
- Brush – give your dog’s coat a dry with a towel or blow dryer (on low heat) followed by a thorough brush through.
- Keep dry – if you bathe your dog at home always ensure they are properly dried before going outside as they can get chills just like you. Just imagine going out in the icy cold weather with wet hair… not fun!
- Regular grooming schedule – ensure you continue to visit your groomer every 6-8 weeks to have a good all over groom, including getting those pads trimmed. Removing hair from the pads can help to stop unwanted bits clinging in between them and stop icy cold water getting soaked in. Keeping your dog’s coat at a more manageable length will make it easier for you to stick to a routine and keep them matt free.