Winter Grooming Tips for Your Dog
(or How to Avoid the Dreaded “Spring Shave Down”)
It’s January in New England. The excitement of another holiday season has faded into memory, and we’re still facing several more weeks of icy, blustery weather. As we take extra precautions to stay warm and healthy in the frigid temperatures, it’s important to consider how we can help our canine companions thrive. What’s the best way to protect our dogs’ coats and paws from the cold-weather damage? Want to avoid having your dog’s coat shaved off in the spring due to the effects of winter wear and tear? Consider these winter grooming recommendations from Green Acres’ experienced grooming team.
- Brush your dogs more frequently. You may have noticed your dog shedding more hair during cold-weather months than during the rest of the year. This is due in large part to the warmer temperatures at which we keep our homes: as our dogs spend lots of time indoors enjoying the warmth, their coats respond by shedding moreOver time, this excess shedding can lead to problems with mats, especially in dogs with naturally dense undercoats. Brushing and/or combing your dogs more frequently in the winter can help prevent these winter-time tangles from developing. Regular brushing also helps distribute the natural oils in your dogs’ coat, which helps relieve the dryness that comes from extra time spent in a warm interior environment. If you struggle with brushing your dog ask us about The FURminator®. This grooming tool can greatly simplify brushing and turn a chore into a delight.
- Use doggy coats and sweaters outside, not inside. Doggy coats and sweaters come in all sizes, colors, and designs, and may well rival human coats as fashion statements! However as good they look, it’s important to remember that coats and sweaters continually rub against your dog’s coat, causing friction that can lead to hair knots and/or mats. It’s best to remove your dog’s garments when they come inside; if you choose to leave on a coat or sweater, make sure you remove them frequently to perform extra combing and/or brushing to keep the hair under the coat tangle-free.
- Take special care of their feet. Snow, ice, and salt can wreak havoc with your dog’s feet. To minimize the potential for injury, take the following steps:
- Rinse your dog’s feet regularly with warm water to remove salt, gravel, and ice
- Clip excess hair growing between pads of your dog’s feet to prevent ice and snow from sticking to the hair and forming painful “foot snowballs.”
- Keep toenails short; cold nails break more easily, especially when running through snow and ice.
- Before purchasing booties for your dog, see if they’ll keep baby socks on first.
- Set small grooming goals. Many of us become overwhelmed when faced with brushing out our dog’s coats more frequently than usual. Setting smaller grooming goals can help you tackle this task during cold weather (or any time of the year). Find five minutes per day to comb or brush your dog, and concentrate on one area of their body, like their leg, back, or chest. Over the course of a week, you can work through your dog’s coat, hopefully without causing either you or your companion undue stress.
- Ask us for help if you need it. Green Acres’ staff is here to help you and your furry companions with all their winter grooming needs. Paula and Amber can provide you with various levels of grooming service, from a bath/brush-out/nail trim to a full grooming session, including clipping and trimming. “Sanitary clips” focus on cleaning and trimming sensitive parts of your dog’s anatomy, like eyes, ears, and genital areas. If you’d like your dog’s feet shaved, or their nails trimmed, we’d be glad to assist you with these small but important tasks. And finally, if you’d just like some reassurance that the coat care and maintenance you’re doing at home is meeting the needs of your canine friend, feel free to call and arrange a time when Amber or Paula can meet with you and your dog. Providing you with feedback and encouragement in your efforts to care for your canine companion would be our distinct pleasure.
Best wishes for a warm and safe late winter season!