Winter Dog Grooming Q & A
by Sharon Henley
Q: Should I let my dog’s hair grow longer for the winter?
If your pet is an indoor dog and does not spend a lot of time outdoors you can still keep his/her coat short and tidy. You can dress them in a sweater or coat when they go outside if you are concerned they might get cold. If you normally get your dog’s coat clipped, you can ask your groomer to keep him just a little longer during the colder months. However, it is important to keep them on a normal schedule. If your groomer visits are less frequent, you risk having your dog’s coat getting matted or tangled.
You can always have the groomer give your pet a bath and brush and just trim up their face and feet, allowing their hair to grow out a little longer. For double-coated breeds, with a thick undercoat, it is important to keep them brushed out so the undercoat does not become compacted. Dogs will shed out their undercoat in the fall /early winter in order to grow in a thicker undercoat to keep them warm.
Q: My dog’s skin is dry and flaky this winter. What can I do?
A dog’s skin can become dry and flaky just like ours as we turn up the heat, making the air becomes dryer. To help prevent dry skin, make sure you dog has plenty of fresh water. You can also help keep their skin soft and supple by giving them a moisturizing conditioner or treatment. It is very important when your dog gets a bath that you or your groomer use a good conditioner formulated for dogs after being shampooed.
At my grooming shop we offer mud bath treatments and hot oil treatments. An easy at –home solution is to add a few drops of Argon oil to the conditioner and let it sit on your pet’s coat for five minutes before rinsing. When giving your dog a bath always use shampoo formulated for dogs. A common misunderstanding is that baby shampoo is a good choice. It isn’t. Dog’s skin is more fragile then ours and has a higher PH. Baby shampoo can be very drying for dogs.
Q: How can I protect my dog’s pads and prevent a dry nose?
Snow, ice and salty surfaces can be tough on your pet’s paws and their noses. There are many good paw balms on the market. You can also use coconut oil or shea butter to rub into your pet’s pads and nose to help protect them. Keep the hair on your dog’s pads trimmed. Your groomer can help you with that.
Lastly, remember that your dog’s nails can become dry and brittle in the colder months. So it is very important to keep nails short. Monthly trims are ideal.
Sharon Henley is the owner of Groomingdales Salon for Dogs in Hendersonville.