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Five Winter Dog Grooming Myths

There are several misconceptions about dog grooming in the winter.

Myth 1: The longer and thicker my pet’s coat is, the warmer it will be in the cold temperatures.
Truth: Grooming in winter is extremely important to your dog’s health. Long, wet, matted hair can create a cold, wet and infection-susceptible dog. Matted fur does nothing to insulate the dog; it can cause discomfort, pain and even hot spots.

Myth 2: I have a double-coated/heavy-coated breed, so I don’t want to remove any coat in winter.
Truth: If your dog has a shedding coat, the shedded hair will remain interwoven in the healthy coat, not allowing proper skin insulation. This often causes dandruff, itching, excessive shedding and matting. Without proper distribution of the natural oils, the coat picks up dirt and other pollutants, resulting in a dirty, smelly dog.

Myth 3: My pet is fairly sedentary in the winter and isn’t getting dirty enough to warrant a bath.
Truth: Pets require bathing as often in the winter as in the summer! Pets often suffer from central heating-related dry skin and can absorb salt and gravel into their coats.

Myth 4: I can weather the storm, and bath and comb my pet to prolong its grooming until spring.
Truth: It is possible to maintain a home grooming program and stretch your dog’s grooming needs a few extra weeks, but only if you groom your dog correctly. Different breeds have different coat demands. If your dog has a curly or naturally long coat, there are certain imperative techniques. Your dog has to be 100 percent free of any tangles prior to the bath. If you bathe a matted dog and allow it to dry naturally, the knots become tighter and create a woven pelt.

Myth 5: I want to leave the hair on my dog’s pads to keep their paws warm.
Truth: The hair that grows between the pads can grow long and matted. If left unattended, it can cause great discomfort. Snow, ice balls, and even rocks can collect in your dog’s pads. Imagine walking around with rocks in wet shoes! Overgrown hair in the pads may also disguise foot problems such as long and ingrown nails or cracked, dry pads.
A happy, healthy dog has strong, shiny, matt-free fur — all year long. Your dog’s coat provides insights into its physical or emotional condition. A professional groomer can help with your pet’s physical appearance and assist you towards your goal of a healthy pet — both inside and out.

Written by: Connie Buchanan