Keeping your dogs coat in tip top condition in winter can be a daunting task with all of the wet weather, snow and cold air! But fear not! Our winter prePAWrations blog will bring you up to speed with how to care for your dogs coat this winter and just what grooming is needed at home to keep your pup feeling fresh.
Brush, comb, bath, repeat.
Wet weather, mud and even snow can be a recipe for knotted fur after walks if not kept on top of. After every walk in the wet weather you should brush through your dogs coat and use a comb after to check for any knots/tangles in the coat. A good coat conditioning spray should be sprayed into the coat before brushing to keep the coat well conditioned. Even if it is not wet or muddy out you should still brush your dog after each walk in the areas they have had either a coat, harness or collar on as these can cause long hair to tangle.
If your dog is muddy after their walk then you should bath them and clean their coat thoroughly. Winter can dry out your dogs skin so it is important to bath your dog in a highly moisturizing, gentle shampoo and conditioner. After bathing especially if you have a long coated breed you should also dry them. In cold weather when a dog is left wet this can cause your dog to get the chills. You can use your own hair dryer on a low setting. If you dog is not used to you using a hair dryer you should slowly introduce this too them. You could even use treats as a reward for them to show them that the hair dryer is not scary! Leaving mud in the coat can irritate the skin and cause skin conditions to develop and can also cause the hair to start to tangle.
We have created a short demonstration, on our Youtube channel, to show you how to bath your dog at home. This can be found through the following link: https://youtu.be/t-ZvXL4JFOc .
Brushing should always be an important part of your dogs maintenance schedule at home between professional grooming appointments as if not done the hair can become matted. Fur that is matted doesn't provide insulation or warmth and instead can provide discomfort and pain for your dog. If your dog is very active in the winter months and loves to jump in puddles and roll in mud then it may be best to go for a shorter style all over, which can be easier to maintain in-between grooms.
We have created, on our Youtube channel, a short demonstration on how to brush your dogs coat at home and what tools you will need. This can be found through the following link: https://youtu.be/9CUb-pvvT4I .
Wrapping up warm
Whilst some dog breeds such as Husky's and Malamutes have double coats that are designed to withstand the cold weather other breeds are not as fortunate! It is very important when taking your dog out for a walk on cold days that you wrap them up warm. Prolonged exposure to the cold results in a drop in the body temperature, which can result in hypothermia, and is most likely to occur if your dog is wet which is why it is important to try and keep your dog warm and dry by providing them with a suitable, water proof coat whilst out walking.
Keeping those paw pads soft and irritation free
It is very important during winter to make sure that if your dog grows hair between their paw pads, that this hair is kept trimmed and short. Snow can cling to the hair under your dogs pad causing the snow to compact into your dogs pad. The extra moisture from the snow can cause sores to develop on and in the pads themselves.
keeping the hair trimmed short under here can help to stop this from occurring. DE-icers, grit and salts on the floor can also irritate your dogs paw pads and can also be toxic if ingested by your dog. It is a good idea that in the winter days you wash your dogs paws when they come home after their walk and also apply a paw pad cream/wax that will help to protect your dogs feet and also sooth their paw pads after their walk to keep them nice and soft.
The Dangers of Anti-freeze
On snowy days many people use DE icers such as anti freeze to get the ice of their cars. It is important to make sure that your dog does not ingest anti freeze when on your daily walk in the winter as it is highly toxic to dogs. As little as one table spoon of anti freeze is poisonous to dogs. As anti freeze has a sweet taste some dogs may be inclined to try and ingest it, if their is any possibility that your dog has ingested Anti freeze then you should call your vet straight away.
Removing snowballs from your dogs coat
When on a walk in the snow if your dog has a long coat then you may find snowballs forming on the coat itself. If is important to remove these as they can cause irritation to your dogs skin and can also make your dog very cold.
To remove then snowballs from your dogs coat you should soak the paws or areas where the snow balls are in warm (not hot!) water. You do not want to make the water too hot as this can cause your dog to go into shock. After removing the snowballs as talked about earlier you should then dry your dog to prevent them from getting the chills.