How to groom your dog in winter
While you may see grooming as a summer-only activity, keeping your dog in top condition is just as vital in winter. The cooler temperatures, wetter weather and windy days can take their toll on your pet, which is why good grooming is crucial. Not only will you be helping to protect your dog from the elements, but this will give you the chance to check them over for any skin conditions, fleas or ticks.
Grooming your dog’s paws
Winter dog grooming should start from the ground up. During this season, your dog’s paws can be susceptible to additional damage due to muddy conditions and the cold. It’s good to keep the hair between their paws trimmed neatly, to avoid the chance of mud getting stuck between paw pads and causing discomfort. As this spot is a favourite of ticks, a daily check between all your dog’s paw pads is ideal, especially if you have taken them on walks through bushland. Talk to the team at your local Animates to discover the best combination of products to protect your dog from the parasites.
Clipping your dog’s nails
While you’re tending to their paw pads, keep a close eye on the length of your pet’s nails. Exercise outdoors helps to naturally wear down their nails, so if your pet has spent more time indoors because of cold or wet weather, they may have missed out on this natural process. That said, even with regular exercise most dogs have front and sometimes rear dew claws and they will always need attention – regular trimming can prevent them from curling and becoming embedded in their pads. Cutting your dog’s nails is a delicate task, and one you shouldn’t rush. If you want to take extra care when trimming your pet’s nails, you might want to book your dog in at an Animates grooming salon.
Cleaning your dog’s ears
Ear care for dogs should remain the same year-round. It’s good to clean your dog’s ears weekly, to make sure they are in good condition. As ears are a common spot for fleas and ticks, your daily check-up will let you keep an eye out for them. Using a specific ear cleaner and piece of cotton wool, wipe your dog’s ear down gently, only skirting the outside of their ear canal. Dogs with long hair on their ears, such as Spaniels, should be brushed frequently to avoid the hair becoming matted, as this can be quite painful for dogs.
Maintaining your dog’s winter coat
Dogs will grow a thicker coat to help them combat the cold, naturally, but you still need to keep this coat neat for the insulation to work best. The thickness and length of your dog’s coat will determine the time you need to put into grooming, but all dogs need frequent brushing in winter. This will avoid matting and make your job much easier when they start to lose their winter coat. Breeds that have a two-layer coat, such as Border Collies, Huskies and Keeshonds, should have special attention paid to grooming, year-round. In winter, make sure you’re brushing them frequently to remove loose hair and stop their coat becoming matted. A build-up of dead, wet and dirty coat can trap bad bacteria which untreated can cause painful skin infections and irritations. Your local Animates store has a range of brushes and combs to help keep your dog’s winter coat looking great.
Washing dogs in winter
You can still wash your dog in winter, just make sure that you dry them completely, so they don’t get cold. It’s good to wash them in the warmest part of the day to avoid the chill. If you don’t have the facilities at home to wash your dog in warm water, the colder months might be the best time to take them to one of the DIY dog wash units or grooming salons conveniently located within Animates stores. Keeping your pet warm helps them stay healthy.
Our grooming salons offer a sensitive range of shampoos and conditioners. They deeply moisturise and can help soothe your dog’s coat to help reduce the damaging affects certain elements, such as the rain and heavy winds, can have on their coat.
Winter accessories and bedding
If your dog does need to be clipped in winter, dog clothing like short jumpers are one of the best things to help keep them warm – especially over those cold nights. However, as the coat grows out (without regular brushing) it can become matted. As the jumper rubs on the coat, especially in areas like around the neck and under the front legs without consistent brushing, the knots and mats may become quite severe causing discomfort to your dog.
Another option is heated beds and mats for your furry friends. If they are outside dogs this might be the best thing to help keep your dog nice and cosy overnight. Blankets, hammock beds and kennels will keep your dogs off the cold concrete floor and allow them to have a nice, warm home with plenty of shelter.