We all know the havoc that winter weather can wreak on our skin and hair, the same applies to our furry friends.  Some helpful grooming tips can help keep them comfortable and looking great all winter.

 

1.  Brush more frequently

Brush more frequently? Yes, even though many of us tend to brush more frequently during shedding months, it is equally, if not more important in the winter.  Brushing their coat will help distribute the skins natural oils, which helps keep the skin and fur from drying out.  Also, our dogs’ fur can act like velcro for grime, salt and other chemicals or debris. Regular brushing will ensure that these nasties aren’t staying where the dog may be able to lick them off, or making their way down to the skin to cause uncomfortable irritation.

2. Keep ‘em dry

Whether it be adorning them in a cute jacket, immediately drying them after a walk, or a combination of both, try your best to not let them stay wet for long.  With the drastic temperature shifts from inside to outside and back again (umpteen times a day) can cause skin to dry out, adding a wet coat to the mix can aggravate the problem further. If you have a long haired dog, sitting or laying with a wet coat can cause matting and discomfort too. Plus who likes sitting around in a wet coat?

3. Paws, paws, paws

paws_paws_pawsIf nothing else, winter paw maintenance is key to a happy pooch over the nasty winter months. Cracked paw pads can cause extreme discomfort and potential for many infections and expensive vet visits. Licking irritated paws can lead to ingestion of salt, dirt and even antifreeze, again leading to expensive vet visits.

You wouldn’t go out in the snow and ice barefoot, or wear your leather shoes out without treating them, would you?  Same goes for canine paws.  If you have a dog willing to put, and keep on a pair of booties, these are your best defense.  They offer the most complete protection from the cold pavement and chemical irritants.  However, if your dog is more like the ones in this adorable video, there are still ways to keep their paws protected.  Making sure to rinse paws immediately after your walk is ideal (use a warm bowl of water or gentle wipes) and will help protect your dog and your floors. Using a petroleum jelly or an all-natural paw balm before going out to add a protective layer, but make sure to rinse off once you are home, and reapply a small amount to any dry areas.

Keeping the fur between toes trimmed is also crucial, as this fur can collect snow and ice, causing painful separation and rubbing between the toes.  Regular nail trimming also helps prevent this, and will prevent claws from collecting irritants.  If you aren’t comfortable trimming the fur around your dogs feet, or their nails, most groomers offer paw care packages.

Following these steps and making them part of your walk routine will help keep your classy canine happy and healthy through the winter months.