Top 6 Winter Grooming Tips: How to maintain healthy skin & coat in the cooler months
While many see grooming as an essential only during summer, the cooler temperatures, wetter weather and windy days during winter can take their toll. It may be tempting to stop grooming and allow the coat to grow out for extra warmth, but this can result in tangles, matts and skin problems if neglected. While you might opt for a longer clip during winter, keeping up with their regular routine grooming will maintain a healthy skin and coat, and help to protect against the elements during the colder months. Check out our top six winter grooming tips to care for those areas that need extra attention when the cold days roll around...
Take Care of Dry Skin:
With the combination of cold air, wind, and artificial air from indoor heaters, dogs also feel the drying effects of winter the same as we do – even though they’re covered with a layer of fur. This can lead to dandruff, irritated itchy skin, and fur that doesn’t keep your dog as warm as it should. Exposure to rain and snow can further strip the natural oils from the skin, exacerbating the dryness. This is why it’s so important to use a highly moisturising, gentle shampoo and conditioner in their bathing routine. Our top pick is the Groom Professional Coconut Moisturising Shampoo, specifically designed to add extra moisture for those that need it, while also reducing flakey skin and dandruff. Bio-Groom Natural Herbal Groom Shampoo and Fidos Aloe Vera Gel Shampoo are some other great options for the colder months.
Though it's still safe to wash your dog during the colder winter months, it's understandable if you wish to bathe only when necessary. A dry bath spray or foaming shampoo can be useful to keep your dogs coat looking and smelling great in between washes, and can be especially convenient for cleaning wet or muddy paws.
Keep up the Brushing:
Keeping your dog’s coat long does not mean cutting out brushing. Brushing your dog's coat helps remove loose fur and prevents matting. It also stimulates the production of natural oils, which helps keep the skin moisturized. Regular brushing is just as important in the winter as it is in the summer. A well brushed coat in winter will act as an insulating layer for your dog, keeping their body warmth in and the cold air out. Leaving behind shed fur will only result in more tangles and matts. A pin brush is a good choice for daily brushing, but a slicker brush should also be used at least once a week for a full brush out, following with a grooming comb to check for any finer knots and tangles that the slicker brush may have missed. Using a detangling spray while brushing will also help to reduce damage, and condition the dry winter coat between baths.
Don’t forget the nose!
Even though a dog’s nose isn’t normally a part of most grooming routines, in the winter it might need some extra care. All that dry air affecting the skin is doing the exact same thing to the nose. A dry, cracked nose is uncomfortable and can even impact sense of smell. Using a nose balm will help to keep your dog’s nose soft and moist all winter long.
Check toenails regularly:
As the weather gets colder and we spend more time inside, our dogs aren’t playing outside or walking on concrete as often as they usually would. This means their nails aren’t wearing down naturally and need to be checked regularly, to see if it’s time for a trim. If you don't have one already, now is a good time to invest in a nail clipper or nail grinder to keep your pups nails in check.
Look after the paws:
Walking on cold, wet surfaces such as wet evening grass or icy pavements can cause irritation, dryness and cracking on the dog's paw pads. Apply a moisturising paw balm to your dog's paw pads before going outside to create a protective barrier between their paws and the cold, wet surfaces, reducing the risk of irritation and cracking while adding moisture.
While you may be tempted to leave the hair on the paw pads for extra protection, doing so can trap dirt, mud, sand and bugs in the fur between the paw pads, causing unnecessary discomfort. For dogs living in snowy areas, you can use a 3mm guard comb or a 7FC blade over the paw pads to keep the hair tidy, while still leaving enough length for protection against the cold. For dogs in warmer areas, or predominantly indoor dogs, a #10 or #30 blade is still safe to use on the paw pads during winter.
It's important to monitor your dog's skin and coat health throughout the winter. If you notice any signs of excessive dryness, irritation, persistent itching, or other abnormalities, it is advisable to consult with a veterinarian who can provide appropriate treatment and advice based on your dog's specific needs.