Just because winter is here, does not mean you should stop grooming your dog or caring for their coat. Many dog owners mistakenly think that grooming is not necessary in winter and allow their dog’s coat to grow to keep them warm when the weather is cold. However, grooming is just as important in the cooler months as any other season. Increased hair growth in the cooler months can cause issues such as matting and skin problems and, without grooming, can cause discomfort to your dog.
Here are 7 simple tips to ensure your dog stays healthy, happy and looking their best all season long.
- Brush your dog often
There’s no better way to keep your dog’s coat clean and healthy during the winter months than with regular brushing. Brushing is the key to maintaining good skin and coat health and will help remove dirt and excess oils that can build up in their fur, preventing mats and breakage. It’ll also stimulate the blood flow to the skin, encouraging healthy hair growth. Use a gentle brush or comb to prevent any pulling or discomfort. If you notice knots forming, it’s best to visit a groomer to get them out as soon as possible.
Brushing your dog’s coat is also helpful in revealing any hidden nasties. Lumps, rashes, sores etc. are usually revealed when your dog has shorter hair however, in the winter months, these seem to go unnoticed and can sometimes be the cause of larger health issues.
- Give your dog a bath
It may seem counterintuitive, but bathing your dog in the winter is actually a great idea. A bath is a great way to make sure they’re clean and healthy and is also a good opportunity to check for ticks and fleas. Be sure to use a gentle dog shampoo and a warm, clean water source to prevent irritation to their skin.
While it’s tempting to use the same shampoo you use on yourself or your children, it’s not always the best choice for your dog. You may find that the ingredients make your pooch’s coat feel dry or brittle, or even cause itching or irritation. Instead, choose a shampoo that’s specifically designed for dogs; it will help keep their coat clean, healthy and soft. Be sure to always rinse well to ensure all the shampoo has been removed.
- Treat your dog to a Hydrobath
Even if you give your dog a bath at home, it’s a good idea to have your dog bathed professionally on a regular basis. A hydrobath uses a warm, high-pressure shower head that allows for complete penetration of your dog’s coat and results in a deeper cleaning.
The water is mixed to remove dead skin cells and hair, embedded flea eggs, and other materials that may be well entrenched in your dog’s coat, especially for those who have long, thick hair.
It is particularly effective in helping you and your dog cope with fleas or ticks, as a specialised product can be added to the hydrobath water for treatment, better enabling it to reach all the way to the skin.
Additionally, the spray head of a hydrobath provides a therapeutic massage for your dog, which helps encourage good blood circulation. It can be particularly beneficial for older dogs or those suffering from arthritis, poor blood circulation, or recovering from certain muscle injuries.
The team at Paddington Pups can also keep an eye out for other issues while bathing your dog, such as skin problems, ear infections, or growths, providing you with appropriate advice for addressing the problem or directing you to your vet for further treatment. Because we see so many dogs on a regular daily basis, spotting such issues is second nature to us!
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4. Maintenance grooming
In the winter months, many dog owners stray from getting their dogs groomed because they believe it is too chilly. However, if your dog does not receive a groom for months on end, this can end up in many mats and poor coat health. It is therefore very beneficial for your dog to get a maintenance groom in the cooler months. A maintenance groom removes hair from the hygiene areas such as the face, feet and backside. This groom allows for a tidy up without making your dog nude.
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- Trim your dog’s nails
Winter is a time for staying inside and cuddling with your pup. As great as this sounds, it means that we go outside less and our dogs aren’t playing or walking on the concrete as much. This also means that their nails are not naturally being worn down resulting in longer nail growth. Long nails can actually be harmful for dogs and should be done regularly. If you can hear the tiny tapping of nails on the floor, you know it is time for a manicure.
Many dogs don’t make it easy to cut their nails, and often owners aren’t sure how to properly and safely perform the procedure. Cutting too close can cause bleeding and discomfort. If you’d rather leave it to the professionals, book your dog in for a nail trim at Paddington Pups and our dog groomers can make the experience easier and safer for you and your dog.
- Clean your dog’s ears
If your dog spends a lot of time outside, they run the risk of catching an ear infection. This is especially common in areas where there are a lot of fleas or ticks. If your dog’s ears are red or appear to be filled with dark brown or black liquid, they may be infected.
You can visit your vet to get antibiotics to fight the infection, but it’s best to catch it as soon as possible before it spreads and gets worse. There are a few things you can do to help prevent infections. First, keep your dog’s ears clean by brushing and washing them once a week. You can also use a dog ear cleaner to remove dirt, grime, and wax build-up. Always use one made for dogs to avoid harming them.
- Don’t forget to keep their feet and butt clean too!
Dog’s paws can get dirty and infected in the colder months, especially if there is a lot of mud or water around. It’s a good idea to wash their paws after each walk using a mild soap and a warm cloth to clean and dry their paws. This can help prevent bacteria from building up and causing an infection.
The same goes for their rear end. A dirty butt can lead to infections, so it’s a good idea to wipe their rear end after each walk.
While you’re keeping your dog’s paws clean, you might also want to check if their paws are cracked and dry – if so, you can treat them with a paw balm or moisturiser to help soothe their feet.
As you can see, there are a lot of things to consider when it comes to winter dog grooming. To keep your pup healthy, happy, and looking great, it’s best to plan for these extra grooming needs. Be sure to visit your groomer at least once a month to maintain your dog’s coat and have any mats or ticks removed and always use dog-friendly products when cleaning or brushing their fur.