Winter Pet Grooming Tips from Groomer Alex Cabrien

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Keeping Your Pet in Tiptop Winter Condition

Winter means special grooming needs for your pet. The enemies are dry skin and coat and winter cold. If your pet has a thick coat and no need of sweaters, there are still a few winter pet grooming tips to keep in mind.

Winter pet grooming for paws

Winter pet grooming means keeping hair between pads trimmed to prevent buildup of snow and ice. This also cuts down on the amount of mud that must be cleaned from paws when your pet returns to the house. For some long haired breeds, trimming around the paws keeps hair off the ground, leaving you with less to brush and wash.

In areas where salt is used on the roads, your pet may be in danger of split pads. Even in areas clear of road salts, dry weather may lead to cracking and bleeding. Protect paws with booties or paw protective creams like Musher’s Secret or even a heavy dose of Bag Balm. Bag Balm is available in both pet supply shops and drug stores. Wash paws after walks and then apply the cream.

Watch for excessive nail growth. If Fido spends less time outdoors, his nails may appear to grow faster because they aren’t being worn down.

Winter pet grooming for the coat

Keep your dog’s winter coat clean and brushed. A clean coat in good condition provides better insulation than one that is dirty and matted. Also, in the fall and early winter your dog is swapping a summer coat for a winter one. Although tufts of dead undercoat, the soft downy fluff beneath the shiny hairs, may appear to buff the coat and provide more warmth, this spent undercoat will do nothing but clump. It should be removed with a brush or grooming rake, if your dog is a heavy coated breed. Remember that winter static makes clumping more likely.

Winter pet grooming doesn’t exclude baths

Winter pet grooming means keeping the coat in a condition to provide protection from wet, wind and cold. A dirty coat provides far less winter protection than a clean one. Use moisturizing shampoos and/or cream rinses for winter pet grooming. Winter dry air does mean dry skin and coat. This can lead to itching and hot spots, or areas of raw, damaged skin. Some pet owners may find a moisturizing spray such as Nova Pearls helpful. Nova Pearls also makes moisturizing shampoos. Keep in mind that brushing stimulates oils in your pet’s skin, which also helps fight winter dry skin.
Winter pet grooming does not mean slacking off on baths if they’re needed, but make sure your wet pet is dry before returning to the outdoors. A bath soaks the coat through the guard hairs to the soft undercoat, robbing it of its protective properties. Your lab isn’t likely soaked to the bone when he jumps in the cold November waters. However, shampoo allows water to penetrate that normally water repellent coat. That repellent power is why it’s so hard to make your dog wet while in the tub. It’s equally hard to dry your soaked dog.

Book holiday pet grooming appointments well in advance.

Many a pet owner has had plans foiled by thinking a holiday pet grooming was an original idea. In fact, the holidays are the busiest time of year for groomers. Pet groomers begin early and work late through the holiday seasons. Chances are good that if you wait too long, your pet won’t be on the list. Book early, even weeks in advance.  Check with  your pet sitter to see if they offer a pet taxi service like 417 Pet Sitting does, that way your pet never misses an appointment!

Winter pet grooming goes a long way to protecting your dog’s overall health. Brushing stimulates the oils in the coat, preventing winter dryness and protecting water repellent properties. Trim and protect paws from road salt and ice balls. Provide an excellent diet all year round, but when combined with good winter pet grooming practices, this keeps your pet warmer and healthier through winter cold.

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