Winter is here, and with it comes specific commitment to your dog’s grooming routine. Regular grooming is an important contributor to your dog’s overall health. Here are some helpful tips to make sure your dog’s coat is ready for the winter:
Include brushing in your daily routine
A thick undercoat is crucial to keeping your dog warm this winter. To maintain your dog’s healthy coat, spend a little extra time brushing your dog this holiday season. A regular and consistent brushing routine will help prevent issues related to fur matting. Matted fur can cause a variety of problems, including a lack of regular air circulation to the skin, bacteria build-up, irritation, itching and dryness. Mats are extremely difficult to brush out once they are formed. Without attention, these mats can become so thick that they have to be shaved off. Mats are especially prevalent in the winter months, as melting snow can clump your dog’s fur together or trap foreign objects, such as leaves and sticks.
How often you should brush your dog depends greatly on the breed. Dogs with thicker fur should be brushed daily. You can integrate brushing into your dog’s daily routine by doing a quick brush before feeding your dog breakfast, or before bedtime. Not to mention that all of that extra brushing will help that fur stay off of your furniture and carpets! To help make brushing a pleasant experience for your dog, be sure you give your dog lots of praise and treats during and after the brushing session.
Puppies can be introduced to regular brushing starting at the age of 9-10 weeks. An early introduction to brushing will help your pup develop long-term positive associations with grooming.
Be mindful of dry skin
Just like humans, dogs are susceptible to dry skin during the winter months. Dry skin can cause itching, irritation and redness. Dry skin can be prevented by brushing your dog regularly, drying your dog’s fur fully after a walk in the snow, and feeding your dog a well-balanced diet.
If you find your dog suffering from dry skin this season, try booking your dog a soothing oatmeal bath with a local groomer. Oatmeal helps to sooth your dog’s skin irritation and help to restore moisture to the area. Many groomers also offer conditioning sprays to help maintain healthy skin after the bath.
Wipe your dog’s paws after walks
The winter months mean your dog is exposed to a variety of harmful elements on the ground. In snowy areas, your dog will likely be walking over salt, antifreeze, snow-melt and other chemicals. These can cause cracking and inflammation on your dog’s paws. Some chemicals can also be poisonous if licked off. To clean your dog’s paws after a walk, wet a washcloth with warm water, and wipe each of your dog’s paws, including between toes and foot pads. For more information on keeping your dog safe this winter, download this PDF from the MSPCA’s website.
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