Grooming Habits for Winter Weather
Snowy, cold weather still has its firm grasp on most of Canada. Along with cold, wet weather come special grooming issues for dogs and their owners. You might be asking yourself, should I bathe my dog when temperatures are low? How on earth do I deal with those muddy paws? Here are some solutions to those concerns and perhaps a few you may not have thought of yet.
Protecting Those Paws
Foul weather can be disastrous to paws. Easily minimize injury and abrasions such as cracked pads, irritation, infections from snow, salt, mud, rain, low temperature, and gravel simply by wiping your dogs feet dry after every outing. By keeping a towel handy by the door, and make feet wiping routine, you’ll be prepared.
Be especially mindful of snow, ice or mud balls between the pads, and entangled in paw fur. Thorough wiping will minimize, if not completely eliminate muddy paw prints in the house.
Another option is using cloth or rubber booties. Some dogs accept these items, while others may seemingly go insane trying to chew them off.
Bathing in Cold Weather
Yes, it’s acceptable to bathe your dog in winter. Some dogs sometimes need more attention to grooming during colder months. Long, thick coats tend to mat, an walking can sometimes accumulate more dirt and mud than normal. If your dog is indoors, it may be more important to you to wash him and keep “wet dog” smells to a minimum.
It is import for your dog to be completely dry before going outside, as a wet dog is more likely to become chilled. This is especially true of little dogs and short haired breeds Prolonged exposure to cold can result in a drop in body temperature, or hypothermia. This is most likely to occur when a dog is wet.
Avoid these issues by giving the bath early in the day after morning routines have been completed. Bathe as usual, towel dry and do not allow the dog to go outside until completely dry. Consider blow drying your dog to speed the process.
Between baths, or if bathing with water is inconvenient, dry cleaning is a viable option. Sprinkle dry shampoo, which are available at most pet supply stores, or use a little cornstarch in the dog’s coat and brush it through. make sure excess powder has been brushed out.
Winter Haircuts and Trims
Some owners think giving a dog a haircut during inclement weather — even breeds that require regular trimming, compromises the dog because it needs its coat to keep warm. While dogs need to keep warm, it’s also true most house pets don’t live outdoors; they’re usually snuggled up with their owner in a warm cozy house. Inside dogs don’t usually need to rely on long fur and a thick undercoat for warmth as with wild animals or northern breed dogs, who live outside, do.
It is perfectly fine to give your dog a haircut in winter, although if you’re concerned about your dog suffering from the cold on outings, consider a longer haircut or a doggie sweater.
For untrimmed dogs, a full winter coat needs regular, sometimes daily brushing. Some dogs look their best in winter when their coat is so thick and luxurious, but it can mean a lot of work for owners. Keep your dog’s coat in top condition by brushing regularly to remove tangles, dirt and dead hair, and to increase skin circulation and distribute oil.
A dog’s thick winter coat can conceal problems, such as bumps, lumps or abrasions, which is another good reason to brush regularly. As you brush, feel and look carefully for any indications of illness. Call your vet if you see anything unusual.
Dog Nail Trim
If your dog spends more time indoors during the winter months, their nails may need trimming more often because they’re not outside running and playing to wear them down. Check weekly, and once you hear that “tick tick” on bare floors, you’ll know it’s time for a nail trim. If adverse weather keeps you away from the pet salon, please refer to our guide to trimming your dog’s nails.
Most owners welcome cold weather because it signals the end of the flea season. However, fleas can hang on for endless months on a warm pet bed or in a doghouse. Don’t let your guard down just because it’s winter, especially if you live in a temperate climate. Keeping your flea-control program maintained all year will keep you and your dog happy and flea free!
No matter where you reside, from sunny Nova Scotia to icy Nunavut, keep these grooming tips handy for a healthy and cozy season for your dog.