The trick to keeping your dog healthy, happy and comfortable year-round
As soon as the temperature starts to drop, it’s easy to think our dogs are better off with their winter coat long and intact to keep them warm.
Wrong! A healthy coat is like insulation for your dog, keeping their bodily warmth in and the cold air out.
Regular trimming, brushing, and overall grooming is key for keeping your dog’s coat healthy and working as it should, not to mention the horrible side effect of months without grooming – mats.
Letting your dog’s coat grow long through winter with minimal or zero trimming can leave them with thick mats in their hair by the end of the season, with only one solution: shaving it all off. Mats aren’t just bad on the surface though, there’s a whole host of problems that come with them too.
We see a few cases like this every Spring at Nose To Tail, and it isn’t fun for anyone. Keep your dog healthy and happy year-round with a regular winter grooming routine – discover how below.
The problem with matted coats
Unbrushed, untrimmed hair is horribly prone to matting, especially in curly or long-haired breeds such as Bichons, Maltese’s and Cocker Spaniels.
A matted coat is uncomfortable for your dog for several reasons:
- It causes the skin to pull and can be painful when they move
- It’s a hotbed for fleas, ticks, bacteria and other sores
- A matted coat loses its ability to insulate or provide warmth
- It doesn’t dry easily, and keeps damp against your dog’s skin
- It can lead to infections, which are easily hidden under the mat
By the time the coat develops mats, there’s no way to move a comb or brush through it without causing severe pain to your dog. The only solution at that point is to shave it off. Even in warm weather, your dog won’t thank you for that!
However, by caring for your dog’s coat properly throughout winter, it is possible to avoid mats altogether.
How to groom in winter
The most important thing you can do at home to keep your dog’s coat healthy is to brush it regularly. A daily brush, even if just for a few minutes, can be enough to stimulate circulation in the skin, condition the coat, and prevent tangles and mats from forming.
Daily brushing is especially important for dogs with long hair or undercoats. As a bonus, this can also help to release dead hair before it sheds all over your carpet!
A well brushed coat in winter will act as an insulating layer for your dog, keeping their bodily warmth in and the cold air out.
Tangles and mats create breaks in this warm layer, making it harder to maintain their core temperature. Mats can also hold dampness against your dog’s skin, leading to chills if they’re not dried properly after swimming, bathing, or being out in the rain.
We sell a range of dog brushes at Nose To Tail for all types of coat. Check out our product reviews, or shop online now.
How to trim in winter
Clipping your dog’s hair regularly is a simple way to ensure the coat doesn’t become long enough to tangle or mat, or to pick up unwanted critters on walks. It’s also important to keep the hair around their feet and pads trimmed, as this can hold moisture and feel like walking around in cold damp socks!
In winter, we’ll give your dog a different cut to ensure he stays warm and protected against the elements, but is still kept tidy to prevent matting and dampness. If you’re concerned about your dog's ability to keep warm, see how they go with a doggy jumper.
We offer different summer and winter cuts for dogs of all types, book your grooming appointment today.
How to wash your dog in winter
Would you like a cold bath in winter? Thought not. Whether he’s muddy or not, dogs still need bathing through the colder months, so it’s important to remember that they’re just as susceptible to chills as we are. Make sure the bath water is warm (but not hot), and have towels ready to dry him thoroughly afterwards.
If you’re going for a winter swim, don’t wait until you’re home to dry him off – keep some towels and a blanket ready in the car to stop the chills before they start.
When bathing your dog in winter, choose a gentle moisturizing shampoo. Just like us, your dog’s skin can become dry in winter and needs the extra care to keep it soft.
At Nose To Tail, we use specially designed baths and soothing shampoos with a comfortable water temperature, and we even dry him off afterwards so there’s no mess in your car, and none in your house.
Bring your dog in for “The Works” package, which will see him trimmed, brushed, washed, and pampered so he’s healthy and shining for you to enjoy.