Cold winter weather is hard on skin and hair for pets as well as for people. Just as the low humidity of heated indoor air dries out your skin, it can also dry out your pet’s skin and create static in his coat. With a little extra T.L.C, during the winter months, however, you can help to keep your pet comfortable and maintain his skin and coat health. These five simple tips will benefit your pup during the winter months.
Contrary to popular opinion, your pet does need regular bathing, throughout the winter months, to keep his skin and coat healthy. In fact, if done properly, frequent shampoos and conditioning can help to reduce dryness, matting and cold weather related skin problems.
Be sure to use a quality shampoo that is specifically formulated for pets. Though it is tempting, don’t use human hair products on your pet. Animals’ skin has a different pH and products, formulated for human hair – even for babies – can be too drying for them.
Follow Up with a Conditioner
Always follow the shampoo with a conditioning rinse. The winter season is dry and it pulls moisture from anywhere it can – including your dog’s skin and fur. This can lead to dandruff, irritated and itchy skin, and fur that doesn’t keep your pet as warm as it should.
Shampooing rids your pup of anything that is an irritant on his coat. However, the shampoo process also strips oils from the skin and fur. Conditioning replaces those oils and alleviates itchiness. As an added benefit, well-conditioned fur also keeps away those alarming wintertime static shocks. No one likes an unexpected shock!
If your pet’s skin is especially dry, give him a moisturizing treatment: apply the conditioner thoroughly, then wrap your pet in a towel to keep him warm while allowing the conditioner to penetrate for five minutes (much like you might do when applying a deep conditioner to your own hair).
You can shampoo and condition your pet as often as weekly, if you use the appropriate products, but once a month is adequate. This will keep your pet clean and odor free, while controlling dander and shedding. The dryness, from winter, will not be as impactful to your pet’s coat with a consistent bathing schedule.
Brush, Brush, and Brush Again
Frequent brushing is just as important in the winter as it is in the summer, especially on longer-coated breeds. Before bathing your dog, you should remove tangles and loose hair in order to prevent matting. Matting is a major cause of skin problems during the winter months. Matts prevent airflow and trap moisture, which create bacteria. This can cause redness and irritation and make your pet uncomfortable.
While brushing regularly will prevent matting, it also has a secondary benefit to aid your pet during the winter months. Regular brushing, with a soft bristle brush, stimulates the natural oils in your pet’s skin and helps to counteract dryness keeping your pet more comfortable. The more often you brush, the better – let the fluff fly!
Keep Them Warm
Finding the proper balance for your dog’s coat length is important in the winter. While maintaining his haircut schedule is essential, cutting too short may have a negative impact.
Long-haired dogs need their fluff and fur to maintain their body temperature. A dog’s coat is designed to protect them from the elements of winter; therefore removing fur, through shaving, affects their built-in heating system. Dogs that may be more prone to “shaved hairstyles” (like poodles) should wear sweaters or winter jackets so that they can thrive outside as much as dogs that have a full coat of fur.
If your pet is a breed that requires regular trimming, it’s important to maintain his haircut schedule year-round. Don’t allow his hair to “grow in for the winter” unless you are prepared to brush him daily to prevent matting. Those, concerned about your pet being cold, can help him bundle up with a sweater or jacket – a better option than letting his fur coat get too long creating tangles and matts.
Visit a Professional Groomer When Necessary
Maintaining your pet’s skin and coat be a challenge for you or you may feel that it is too messy to do in your home. Long-haired breeds may require detailed grooming that a skilled groomer can do with ease. Also, during grooming appointments, you can keep up-to-date on other important aspects of your pet’s care like teeth brushing and paw health. This one-stop scheduled maintenance program for your pup will ensure your pet thrives in the winter.
If you are new to the idea of getting your pet professionally groomed, you can start by visiting one of our centers to get a free consultation. Our groomers will take a look at your pet and determine his needs and the best process and timing to meet his needs. You will have an opportunity to ask all of your important grooming questions and discuss what is important to you.
The winter months can be drying and harsh on your pet’s coat. By keeping your pet clean, brushed, and warm you can protect your pup and meet the winter months head on. You can jump into the snow pile together, roll around making snow angels and enjoy the winter months while keeping your pup healthy through a consistent grooming schedule.