As winter approaches and the weather starts to get cooler and more dry, it is essential to know how to keep your dog’s fur in good condition! Long and thick fur helps a dog stay warm, but the most important thing is that the fur coat is well groomed and healthy.
Regular brushing is one way to keep the coat in good shape.
It is extra important for double coated dogs like golden retrievers, shiba inus, and pomeranians, who have a soft undercoat to regulate body temperature, and coarser guard hairs that protect them from water and the sun.
A WNP customer (Huixqui) enjoying their coat brushing.
Every autumn, double coated dogs will shed their summer undercoat and grow their winter undercoat, so it is crucial to brush out all the dead hair so that the fur does not become tangled. The thick winter undercoat helps insulate body heat and keeps your dog warm, but if it becomes matted and tangled it will no longer be able to do its job. Matted fur is also uncomfortable, and can trap dirt and bacteria causing skin infections.
Daily brushing ensures that their coat remains tangle-free, and helps distribute their natural skin oils.
This keeps your dog’s skin moisturized and fur luminous. If your dog’s long coat is too difficult to maintain, it is fine to give them a trim in the winter, as a decent length healthy coat will still provide warmth. If your dog does get cold, you can consider putting a jacket on them.
Bathing also keeps your dog’s fur clean and unmatted.
But bathing too often can dry out your dog’s skin, causing itchiness and irritation. During winter, try to bathe your dog less frequently; once every one or two months is the average.
HKDR’s Feta getting a bath at our self-dog wash.
Choose moisturizing shampoos and conditioners, and use warm water instead of hot water to avoid further drying out the skin.
Thoroughly rubbing in a good conditioner will help remove the loose undercoat during the bathing process (and will save your home from tumbleweeds of fur). Brushing your dog’s fur after bath time will also stimulate their skin’s oil production and create a natural moisturizer. Remember to dry off your dog thoroughly before letting them outside to prevent them from getting cold.
Supplements for skin and coat can be helpful during winter as well.
Fish oil contains beneficial fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6, which are good for maintaining a healthy and shiny coat. However be careful not to give too many supplements, as this can cause an upset stomach. Follow instructions on the packaging or speak to your vet before giving supplements to your dog.
Don’t forget to take care of your dog’s paws and nose.
These areas can get dry in the winter just like our skin. A moisturizing balm or coconut oil can be used on their paw pads, nose, and even the tips of their tail and ears.
Finally, use daily grooming sessions to check your dog’s body for any abnormalities.
This includes ticks and fleas. The earlier these can be detected, the earlier they can be removed or treated. Grooming can be a fun experience for both dog and human, and is a great way to build a stronger relationship!
Grooming can be a bonding experience for humans and dogs.