Notes on Grooming Your Dog in the Winter Months

by on September 3rd, 2010
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As autumn drops its last leaf and Mother Nature readies the earth for raindrops and snowflakes, the birds fly south for the winter and the cold sets in. During this time, the Homo sapiens species tends to bathe in warmer water, we turn the heat up on the thermostat, we put on a coat and a hat and gloves when we go outside, and we sit by the fire with a mug of warm cider, tea, or cocoa. But, when it comes to our canine friends, does the colder weather mean bathing them in warmer water and less often? Does it mean no poodle, lion, or teddy bear cuts? Do we break out the doggy rain gear, booties, and sweaters? Let’s discuss the act of grooming our dogs in the winter months and come to a conclusion as to what our furry family members really require in order to stay fresh and clean in the cold.

The first step in canine grooming is to obtain the knowledge and understanding of the canine species and what affects their skin and hair coat. If you know that a dog’s skin and hair quality are defined by diet and DNA, then you understand how significant the food that you are feeding your pet really is. Feed a diet high in protein because hair and skin are made up of complex proteins. Make sure the protein is substantial and, by substantial, I mean that the first word on the ingredient list should read beef, chicken, fish, etc. and not chicken meal and the like. Also, keep your canine best friend’s diet free from grains as many skin allergies commence from food allergies to barley, corn, oats, rice, and wheat.

In addition to the knowledge and understanding of the canine hair and skin qualities with regards to diet, all pet owners should be aware of what their particular dog’s breed is and what that breed needs in regards to grooming. For instance, if you have a Cocker Spaniel, you should know that this breed tends to have yeast infections in their ears and should have their ears clean and free from hair at all times in order to defend from an outbreak. If you prefer that your Yorkshire terrier have a teddy bear cut instead of long locks, be aware that trimming should be done every 6 to 8 weeks in order to maintain the style and quality of coat. All dogs, no matter if their hair is long or short, should be brushed on a daily basis. Brushing helps to work out snarls and move the natural oils each dog’s skin secretes. These are just a few breed requirements for grooming. Researching your dog’s particular breed may help in learning what they need from you when it comes to their grooming.

Whether your dog is kept inside, lives outdoors, or does a little of both throughout the day also plays a role in grooming. If kept outdoors, bathing every 4 weeks or less may not be mandatory for proper upkeep. On the other hand, if your pet is kept indoors for most of the day and only goes out for a potty break or to go on a walk, bathing him or her may be a little more essential to both their hygiene and your control of their odors.

When scheduling your doggy for a bath, a once a month appointment (whether with you or a groomer) is the general mark but that can vary when taking into context everything mentioned above. Grooming that involves hair trimming, stripping and breed cuts should be done every 6 to 8 weeks and, if needed, a bath can be done by you in between those visits. Contrary to some former beliefs, bathing your dog on a biweekly or weekly basis will not strip them of their natural oils if a quality shampoo and, often times, a conditioner is used.

Many dogs look forward to their grooming visits and it is often a great way to bond with your dog.


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