GUEST BLOG: 7 Essential Tips for Winter Dog Grooming and General Care

This is a guest blog post from Samantha Randall at Top Dog Tips. For dog groomers who want to try Dr. Dalton’s Premium Treats, use the promo code “WINTERGROOMING” for 10% off your first purchase for the rest of Winter 2018!

Your dog’s coat can get damaged during winter due to rain, snow, ice, rock salt and chemicals, and cold winds, which in combination with your home’s central heating can dry out your dog’s coat and make it look lifeless and dull. However, with proper winter-specific grooming and general care there’s a way to keep your dog’s coat healthy and shiny.

You may not have the time to groom your dog at home, and that’ okay! You can seek the help of a professional groomer in this case. If you have a dog breed with extensive grooming needs, it may be much easier to use a professional grooming service.

Going to the groomer can be quite nerve wracking for your pet, so using treats (like Dr. Dalton’s Premium Treats) to keep him happy on the ride to the groomer is a good incentive. Plus, don’t forget to reward him with a treat for making it through the grooming session! If your dog has never been to the groomer or is a little uneasy during sessions, try leaving a bag of Dr. Dalton’s treats with your groomer to be given sporadically during the session.

If you’re going to be grooming your dog at home, treats can also be a big help. They offer incentive for your dog to behave during grooming and serve as a reward for a job well done. Here are 7 other essential tips for winter dog grooming that you need to keep in mind.

Groom Your Dog Regularly

Most of us get lazier in winter, but don’t let that stop you from staying on top of your dog’s grooming schedule. To keep your dog’s coat in the best possible condition during winter you will have to brush it regularly, preferably daily. Daily brushing is especially important if your pooch has longer hair because matted fur can hold dirt and water and cause discomfort or even infections.

Grooming will help you remove dirt and dead hair and prevent his coat from becoming matted. Regular brushing also increases skin’s blood circulation and improves the distribution of natural oils. You should also consider trimming long-haired dogs in order to minimize and prevent the clinging of salt crystals and ice balls on your dog’s hair.

Don’t Bathe Your Dog Often

It’s best to bathe your dog only on occasion in winter. Do not give your pooch a bath every time he comes back from the outside. If he’s a little dirty, wait for the mud to dry and to brush it out instead. Washing your pooch too often can remove essential oils and lead to developing dry, flaky skin. However, when you do bathe your canine, you should use a gentle or moisturizing shampoo and rinse it with warm water. You should also make sure that your dog is thoroughly dried afterward.

Keep Your Dog Dry and Warm

Puppies, older dogs and short haired dogs should be wearing a coat or a doggy sweater when you walk them on cold days because it can help them retain body heat and prevent their skin from getting dry. If your dog gets wet from snow or rain, you should dry him out thoroughly when you get home. Remember to pay special attention to his feet and toes, especially spots between the toes.

If you don’t dry your dog’s fur properly and he gets in and out often, his skin can become itchy and flaky. Always dry your dog with a towel or with a dog drying bag or coat. You should also keep your house humidified.

Check Your Dog’s Nose

The weather in winter mixed with indoor heating can make your dog’s nose dry and limit his sense of smell. His nose is usually moist and this moisture is what helps your dog smell all scents and explore the world around him. A dry nose can be uncomfortable for your pooch and make him agitated or irritated.

There are several solutions you can use to keep your pooch’s nose moist during dry and cold winter months. Appling a special moisturizing snout balm can help your dog keep his nose moist in the winter and heal a dry nose within a few days.

Pay Attention to Nutrition

Feeding your dog during winter may be slightly different to how you’ve been feeding him in summer, especially if you want to make sure that his coat stays shiny. The key is usually an increase in omega-3 fatty acids in the dog’s diet. It will keep your dog’s coat in good condition, but they can also calm and reduce itchy and dry skin, according to several studies. You can find omega-3 fatty acids in fish, but you can also add a little bit of fish oil to your dog’s meal (or simply give him a supplement).

A little extra vitamins and minerals in the diet may also be a good idea because they can strengthen his immune system and prevent diseases often seen in dogs during winter. Some of the foods that are extremely rich in antioxidants are prunes, apples, pecans, cabbage, berries and beans. Healthy fats from sources like coconut oil can be a good idea. You should also feed your dog a little bit more during the winter if you are keeping him very active since he will require more energy to go on walks in the cold weather.

Finally, remember to keep your pooch well-hydrated in the cold weather because the air is drier, and it is easier for your dog to become dehydrated. Simply leave a bowl out for him so he can drink water whenever he wants.

Keep His Paws Protected

Your dog’s paws are probably at the greatest risk during the winter, especially if he gets outside often. They can get wet and muddy, but they also come in contact with grit and salt, as well as ice. All these things can cause damage to his paws, and they can become cracked and sore instead of being soft and spongy.

Try to wash your dog’s paws after each walk and pay special attention to between pads. You also need to make sure that you wipe them dry thoroughly or use drying mitts to get the job done without too much effort. Use winter dog boots when going for longer walks in cold weather.

You should check your dog’s paws for sensitivity or cracks regularly and think about applying a paw balm on them. If you rub this into your dog’s paws on a daily basis it will help him keep his paws in good condition and make them less prone to damage.

Prepare for Going Out

Don’t stop exercising, playing and walking with your dog in winter. It will keep him healthy and ensure he doesn’t gain weight. But remember that cold weather can hurt his skin, paws and coat so make sure that your canine is well prepared for his daily walks in the cold.

When going for longer walks, bring a towel with you to clean your dog’s paws so they don’t become irritated. Dog booties are probably the best idea to reduce the contact with all harmful chemicals and salt that can be found on the roads in winter. Having boots on can also prevent salt and sand from getting stuck in between your dog’s toes. Try the petroleum jelly on his paw pads before you go out.

Don’t try to walk your dog at all costs. It is important to make a decision based on the temperature outside. If it is too cold, you should stay indoors and walk him when it gets a bit warmer.