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Winter used to be a hard time for my dog.  I would try to take him for a hike in the snow but every few minutes he would have to stop and take the snow out from between his toes.  This was so uncomfortable for him and would drastically reduce the length of our hikes.  Then one day, I was talking to a friend of mine who suggested that I trim my dog’s paws and take the hair away from between his toes…this worked and then I could once again enjoy my winter hikes with my dog.  Today, I am going to share with you my reasons why winter grooming is important for your dog.

Winter grooming is just as important as grooming your dog at any other time.  Having a well groomed dog not only looks much nicer, it is much more comfortable for him.

Reasons Why It’s Important To Keep Your Dog Groomed In The Winter

 1. Regular Brushing Keeps The Mats Away!

During the winter, when your dog is outside playing in the snow, his coat will get wet.  Wet dog hair seems to mat much faster.  Daily brushing of coated breeds will prevent mats and will remove dead hair and dirt.  This will keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy. For most coated breeds, a slicker brush, metal comb and undercoat rake work well for regular brushings.

       2.  Regular Nail Checks and Trimming.

Related article:  Tips for Stress Free Nail Trimming

There are some dogs who just never need to have their nails trimmed and other dog’s who seem to have nails that grow too long overnight.  In the winter, when your dog isn’t as active outside and there aren’t as many hard surfaces to wear down your dog’s nails, nail trimming might have to be done more frequently.  Check your dog’s nails weekly to see how the nails are growing and if there are any chips or cracks that could cause problems for him.  Once you can hear your dog’s nails clicking on the floor, you know it’s time to trim them.  Dogs that don’t have their nails trimming when needed, can have nails that grow way too long.  These nails can eventually twist, causing pain for your dog and their feet could end up splaying.  Just another reason to keep those nails short!  Every dog owner should have a good pair of nail clippers.

Free Dog Training Workshop

       3.  Trim Your Dog’s Excess Hair.

For dogs with leg feathering, excess hock hair and “pants” bum feathering, you will see snowballs collecting in this hair.  It’s ok to trim this hair in the winter.  It’s very uncomfortable for your dog when he has big snowballs hanging off of him.  If you have a dog that has a coat that requires clipping, don’t be afraid to have him clipped short in the winter.  Most dogs do not spend as much time outdoors in the cold temperatures.  For dog’s that do mind the cold, they can wear a sweater to stay warm and dog boots help too.  This way there are less snowballs and less chance of matting.

       4.  Give Moisturizing Baths.

The cold air outside combined with the heat, especially if you heat your home with wood, can really dry out your dog’s skin…just like it does to us humans.  Giving your dog a bath with a nice moisturizing shampoo can really help your dog’s skin and coat.  Using a coat conditioner after the bath will also help.  I like to use a leave in conditioning spray between baths too.  The moisturizing baths, conditioner and leave in spray have really helped my dog.  No more dry itchy skin!

One thing to remember with winter baths, though, is that your dog should be totally dry before being allowed to go outside.  A wet dog can get chilled outside on a cold day very easily.  If you typically let your dog’s coat air dry, in the winter you may want to try a dog dryer instead.  Make sure that your dog’s coat is dry to the skin before letting him outside.

The perfect way to keep track of your dog’s grooming schedule is with our Dog Management Binder.

Dog Planner Management Binder

        5.  Trim and Wash Paws Regularly.

Related Article:  10 Easy Tips To Keep Your Dog Safe This Winter

As we mentioned in our article, 10 Easy Tips To Keep Your Dog Safe This Winter, keeping your dog’s paws trimmed will help to prevent snow from becoming packed in between his toes.  When this happens, it is very uncomfortable for your dog. Trimming the hair on the bottom of the feet as well as in between the toes will cut back on snow packing in these areas.  A good pair of scissors and thinning shears will do the trick.

Another concern for the winter is dry cracked paw pads or paw pad cuts from ice and hard crusty snow.  Washing your dog’s feet when he comes in from outside will remove any salt or dirt debris that can cause the skin to become irritated and dry.  If you live in an area where there is a lot of road salt, investing in a pair of dog boots will protect your dog’s paws.  Try them on your dog before going outside so that he can get used to the feel of wearing boots.  It takes dogs a while to get used to them but once they do, they are fine.

If your dog’s paw pads become dry, cracked or cut, use a paw balm to help heal them.  Our favorite paw balms are Musher’s Secret Pet Paw Protection Wax  and Muttluks, Pawmagik Roll-up Dog Paw Balm with Beeswax and All-Natural Ingredients for Winter or Summer Paw Protection.

Winter grooming will keep your dog looking and feeling so much better.  Healthier skin and healthier coats for the winter make happy dogs!  Regular grooming, with any breed, even if it’s just a bath and nail trimming, is very important all year round

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