It is just as important as any other time of the year!
The most common misconception is that a pet does not need to be groomed in the winter. We at PawFect Grooming (PFG) know that winter upkeep is just as, if not more, important as spring, summer, and fall upkeep. Now is the time to revise your pet’s grooming routine and make sure you are doing everything within your power to protect your pet this winter. A year-round grooming schedule helps stimulate blood flow to the hair follicles, therefore improving the overall health and appearance of the coat. Certain issues of winter time grooming need to be addressed. Winter grooming priorities include health, safety, protection from the cold, and forethought into the spring groom.
1. The feet and sanitary trim
A dog’s footing is only as good as the grooming of the foot. Cutting the hair around and in between the pads helps your dog move easier in the snow. This hair has a tendency to grow very long and become matted if left unattended. This will lead to discomfort and chewing of the feet. Overgrown hair may disguise foot problems such as ingrown nails and chemical burns from snow-melting salt. Without a properly groomed foot, your pet will be apt to collect all kinds of ice and debris, causing irritation and possible injury.
Because of the snow and ice, the nails will not wear down as much as they normally do. Nails should not touch the ground when walking. Long nails and hair on the pads make it difficult for your dog to keep control on the ice and snow.
A sanitary trim will help keep your pet clean, as it will help eliminate dirt and waste that gets caught and tangled in the hair.
2. Long coats
Keeping your pet in a longer coat during the cold months doesn’t necessarily keep them warmer. A full-coated Shih Tzu can be just as cold in the winter as a Beagle. The truth of the matter is that the length of the coat does not help the warming or cooling process. This job is left to the undercoat, which is why pet’s hold on to more of it when it’s cold. Unkempt fur will mat and only attract more snow and debris. A wet coat can be a breeding ground for some severe skin conditions. If you are planning to keep your dog’s coat long for the winter, be ready to comb it daily to prevent mats.
Breeds with long hair need extra care and planning in this area. You have to keep a close eye on mats and tangles. Have you ever noticed how snowballs form on your pet after it has been outside? The snowballs actually help the matting process.
You may not be in the habit of brushing your pet every couple of days throughout the spring, summer, and fall. When winter rolls around, you may not be ready to take care of a longer coat. The time you put into the coat will pay off later. When the coat is not properly examined and brushed during the winter, the groomer will have to shave the pet down in spring. A smooth shave down is damaging to the coat. More than likely, the coat will grow back thinner and dull. PFG does not enjoy shaving down your pet. The process is long, tedious, and sometimes dangerous. Brushing your pet three to five times a week will keep your pet’s coat healthy and tangle-free.
Sweaters are important when it’s cold, but do not leave it on while the pet is inside. Extended use of sweaters causes matting in very sensitive areas.
4. Dry air and coat condition
Your pet does not stop shedding in the winter. It is true that they hold on to more of their undercoat, but shedding is an important process all year-round. To stimulate new healthy growth and provide for robust skin, it is imperative the coat be brushed and combed daily during the shedding season. Professional grooming helps to remove more of the dead skin, fur, and undercoat. Keeping the coat in good condition enhances the insulation of your pet.
Furthermore, winter time air and low quality shampoos severely dry out the skin and coat; causing dry, itchy, flaky skin. This condition results in more shedding. If left untreated, repetitive scratching will lead to cuts and open wounds. Infections and hot spots may soon follow. Restore moisture and protective oils to the coat by supplementing with Grizzly Salmon Oil and hot oil treatments. PFG offers an intense de-shedding treatment and hot oil treatment. When used at least four times a year, these treatments make a significant difference in the quality of the coat.