Tips To Keeping Your Dog Healthy During Winter
May 17, 2019
In the winter months, it’s easy to think that grooming isn’t needed so much. You may think: they are inside all the time and therefore “stay clean,” or they just go right back outside and immediately become a mud puppy again!
Many think that dogs with long coats “winterize” themselves and can be left alone through the cold, wet season. However, while these coats are a “blessing” in terms of warmth versus a short-haired dog’s coat, they can also be a curse.
Thick coats in winter can turn quickly into an issue if the fur isn’t maintained in a healthy condition. Fur that’s matted doesn’t insulate or provide warmth; instead, it provides discomfort, pain and hot spots. Matting can even lead to infections below the skin, so when considering the effects of letting the grooming go, consider how your dog’s health may in fact suffer as a result. Grooming isn’t just for a beautiful dog it’s also crucial for your dog’s good health.
Dry and cold weather can do a number on your pet’s skin. Help prevent dry, flaky skin by adding a skin and coat supplement to your dog’s food. Coconut oil is a good natural moisturizer that can help keep your pet’s skin and coat healthy. If you find your pet’s paws, ears or tail are dry or cracking, you can also apply coconut oil topically as needed. Please see your vet if you have any concerns.
Dogs often need more grooming in the winter than at any other time of the year. Longer, fluffier coats tend to mat, and walks through mud and rain are messy. If your dog is indoors to keep warm, you may be especially eager to bathe him to keep “doggie” odor to a minimum, but that is a personal preference.
Please keep in mind that if you do bathe your dog, they must be completely dry before going outside if it is cold, because a wet dog is more likely to become chilled. This is especially true of small breeds or those with short hair. Prolonged exposure to cold results in a drop in body temperature, or hypothermia, and it is most likely to occur when a dog is wet. If you normally allow your dog to air dry, consider blow drying to speed the process, if your dog allows you to do it.
Some owners believe that giving a dog a haircut during cold weather compromises the dog because it needs its coat to keep warm. While this is true, it’s also true that most pets don’t live outdoors all the time (nor should they!); they’re usually snuggled up with their owner in front of the heater or fireplace. House dogs don’t need to rely on long fur and a thick undercoat for warmth, as wild animals do.
It is okay to give your dog a haircut in winter. However, if you’re concerned about your dog being cold on outings, consider requesting a longer trim or pop on a doggie sweater.
A dog’s winter coat can also hide trouble, such as lumps, bumps or sores, which is another good reason to keep brushing regularly. As you brush, feel and look carefully for signs of illness. Call your veterinarian if you see anything suspect – skin infections such as hot spots will spread very quickly and easily get out of control.
Jim’s Dog Wash franchisees come to you in their fully equipped mobile salon, with constant warm water. For regular maintenance or a one off pamper, give us a call. We come to you!