Winter can be a difficult time for pets as well as people. The ASPCA encourages pet owners to limit their companion animal’s exposure to harsh cold weather conditions. The following are a few easy winter pet grooming tips to help make the cooler months more enjoyable for your four legged friends.
Winter apparel such as sweaters and jackets can be comforting for many types of dogs including puppies, shorthaired breeds and dogs with medical conditions. However, jackets left on for extended periods of time cause matting on longer coated breeds and even bald spots from excessive rubbing on shorter coated dogs. If your dog requires a sweater or jacket promptly remove it when they come inside. Additionally, make sure the winter apparel you choose for your dog fits appropriately. Some loose fitting sweaters can stretch easily and entangle a dog’s legs.
Proper coat care in winter months is challenging. During snowy times of the year pets can become quickly matted before owners realize it. To prevent painful mats from wet grass and snow pets must be combed after drying. For some pet owners this may mean combing through your dog two or three times a day. However, a quick comb through lasting 2 to 5 minutes is all that is necessary.
Many pets require preventative paw care as the weather becomes colder. Ice melting products containing salt are hazardous to pets. According to Cornell University toxicologist, Larry J. Thompson DVM, rock salt and calcium chloride can irritate paws as well as a dog’s mouth, stomach and gastrointestinal tract. To avoid this wipe away any debris on your pets paws with a damp wash cloth. Additionally, requesting that your groomer trim the hair between your dog’s paw pads will help prevent dirt and snow build up. Try using a pet safe ice melt product such as Safe Paw on walkways. Applying a paw crème regularly will help keep paws healthy after repeated washing.
Regular grooming will help keep your pet’s skin and coat healthy through the winter months. Remember your groomer can be a first line of defense when it comes to detecting common pet health issues. For more information on winter pet care read the ASPCA’s “Top ten cold weather tips.”