A few weeks ago, I became overwhelmed by the amount of “tumblehair” that was swirling around in our house. It’s winter, for Pete’s sake! Why is my dog shedding so much? It was then that my husband reminded me that she was shedding in preparation for her thicker winter coat. I guess that makes sense. And it also got me thinking, are there different guidelines for taking care of my dog’s coat in the winter? I began to investigate dog grooming in the winter, and this is what I found out…
It is important to maintain your dog’s nails in the winter.
Fewer walks and/or the barrier that the salt or snow creates between your dog’s paws and the rough road means your dog’s nails will not wear down as much naturally. Your vet can trim your dog’s nails, or you can invest in a set of nail clippers and tend to them at home. The feature The Vets Will See You Now in the December issue of Real Simple magazine recommends a pretty nifty tool for dog grooming. Try out the Real Simple Three Piece Dog-Grooming Kit that comes with comfort-grip nail clippers, a dual-headed brush, and detangler comb.
Trimming the hair between your dog’s toes will keep him healthy.
During a walk, harsh chemicals can get trapped in the hair between your dog’s toes and pads. When your dog licks his paws, he may ingest these chemicals, leading to tummy trouble. Dr. Jeff Werber, DVM, also cautions that snow and the chemicals used to hurry the melting process of ice can irritate a dog’s skin and cause infection, and even frostbite.
Dog boots or paw protectors can be a good idea.
That is, IF your dog will keep them on. If not, you may want to try Musher’s Secret Paw Protection Dog Wax. With excellent reviews, this wax promises to protect your dog’s paws from ice and salt. It’ll also work in the summer months to protect your dog’s paws from hot sand and pavement. The wax contains vitamin E for moisturizing and healing wounds.
Dry skin plagues your dog just like it may plague you.
Courtney Campuzano, owner of Groom and Board, a grooming salon in South Philadelphia recommends maintaining a regular bathing schedule through the winter months. According to Campuzano, “Most dogs should get a good shampoo, condition, blow out and brushing about once a month.” If your dog is particularly itchy in the winter, Dr. Werber suggests a special moisturizing shampoo like Vet Formula Solutions Ultra-Oatmeal Moisturizing Shampoo. You may also consider adding supplements to your dog’s diet, like essential fatty acids, which can help maintain the shine of his coat. See our post, 6 Tips For Pet’s Winter Skin for more.
Just because it is cold outside doesn’t mean grooming your dog needs to take the back burner. In fact, it may be even more important to maintain your dog’s skin and nails in the winter than in the warmer months. Bathing, brushing, moisturizing, and nail care are all essential parts of maintaining the safety and well-being of your pet.