It’s winter. It’s cold. Your dog or cat’s coat has come in for the season, so it should keep them warm, right? Well, it’s not that cut and dried. Your pet’s winter coat needs the same – if not more – grooming and attention than their summer coat in order to keep them comfortable and healthy. Let’s look at pet grooming in winter, from head to toe.
Brushing your pet’s coat
Dogs and cats will grow in a winter coat for the colder season. Even short-haired pets will shed more and you’ll notice they leave bits of their coats everywhere they go! Save your vacuum cleaner and spend a bit of time every day giving your dog or cat a good brush.
Dogs with double coats will ‘blow’ their coats once or twice a year (or sometimes more, depending on the breed and the season). This dead hair needs to be removed in order to promote a healthy coat and skin. If it’s not removed, it can cause loads of extra shedding as well as horrible matting. A matted coat certainly doesn’t help with winter insulation, so it’s better to give your dog a daily brush to get rid of dead hair and encourage a healthy, shiny coat that makes your dog look and feel good.
Even though cats spend a lot of their waking hours grooming themselves, brushing them will help to remove a lot of excess fur and prevent knotting, matting and hairballs.
Bath regularly in winter
It seems counterintuitive that dogs should be bathed regularly in winter. Unless they go frolicking in mud and snow, don’t they tend to be more indoors and thus cleaner in winter? Somewhat true, but come wintertime, the air is drier especially from indoor heating. This can have a drying effect on pets’ coats and their skin. Dry skin that’s not managed properly can lead to itching, hot spots, and all sorts of discomfort for your dog.
Regular bathing with a conditioning dog shampoo encourages good skin health and can maintain your dog’s coat with a lovely soft shine during the cold, dry months. Just be sure to dry your pooch properly after his bathtime so that he doesn’t get chills while his coat is still damp.
Maintain a winter cut
It’s a fallacy that all dogs’ winter coats keep them warm in winter and shouldn’t be cut. If you groom your poodle, pom, spaniel or schnauzer throughout the year, it’s important to maintain a grooming or trimming schedule in winter. Whether you use a professional groomer or do your grooming at home, opt for a winter cut (slightly longer than a close summer cut). This will keep your dog comfortable, especially if they’re used to being shaved or trimmed, and it will make it easier to brush them daily and keep their coat in good condition. If you’re worried about your dog getting a little chilly in winter, there’s nothing that a spiffy doggy jacket can’t fix!
If you’re nervous about cutting your dog’s nails, take him to the vet for a pedicure. Otherwise keep a pair of good quality pet nail trimmers handy. You may notice that less outdoor activity means his nails will get longer, faster, as he’s not wearing them down on the pavement outside.
Grooming your pets doesn’t have to be a chore. If you consider that groomed pets have healthier coats and skin, shed less on the furniture, and can better regulate their body temperature, then grooming time can become quality time with your best furry friend. The time spent grooming is time spent giving your pet love and affection, and investing in their long-term health and wellbeing.
Groomed pets = loved pets by their pet heroes!