With the cold weather still tormenting us, you may be inclined to think you are doing your precious pet a favour by holding off on their regular grooming until the weather warms. BUT…you’re not!
Contrary to what you may have heard, grooming during the winter months is just as important, if not more so than it is during the summer time, when a bath and short haircut seems like the obvious thing for you to do for your pet.
Why is winter grooming so important?
Underneath a dog’s topcoat of fur lays an undercoat, think of it as your pup’s very own woolen jumper. It is this layer of fur that helps to regulate your dog’s temperature; it keeps them warm in winter and cool in summer.
Without regular bathing and grooming, a dog’s undercoat becomes dirty, matted and wet – particularly if the pup spends any time outdoors. Like all good woollen jumpers, if the undercoat is not given the opportunity to breathe, it can take hours to dry, become dreadfully uncomfortable and in time can be a little stinky!
In the absence of grooming, your dog’s undercoat will eventually stop being able to keep them warm. In fact, it can make your dog colder and increase their risk of weather associated illnesses!
A dirty and matted undercoat traps dirt and debris and in some cases, parasites and other nasty microbes. They sit against your dog’s skin which has the potential to cause dermatological issues and other health concerns.
The reality of it is, it’s not only the length of your pup’s coat or their stylish haircut that matters when it comes to grooming! It’s the care and maintenance of their undercoat (particularly in winter), including double coated breeds that drop coat.
Potential aesthetic downside to NOT grooming during winter…the shave off!
Most pet owners love to keep their pet’s hair longer. They love the feel of a long plush coat and/or the teddy bear look.The problem arises when your pup hasn’t been groomed during winter and comes back in summer, with knots and matts through their fur. Unfortunately, its not as easy to “brush out the knots” as you may think. Not only can it be painful but it can create a negative experience for your dog that could ruin future brushing sessions.
Matting and pelting also has the potential to do real damage to your dog’s skin in addition to causing pain as it pulls and restricts movement surrounding the pelted area. In some circumstances, when matts are removed, the area may be left a little bruised from the constant pulling that has happened.
Groomers don’t want to shave your dog! That’s not why we became groomers! We want to bring out the best in your best friend and matting makes this extremely difficult. Unfortunately, matting may determine the length of a groom as in some cases we have to clip underneath the matting which can leave a very short haircut. If there is pelting, the groom will most definitely have to be short. Regular visits to your groomer for a bath and blow-dry or tidy (bath, dry, face, feet and hygiene areas), as well as weekly brushing by owners, helps to prevent shave-offs in summer and upset parents.
Sometimes matting is hard to feel!
Check out the images of the coat below. Look how great the coat looks on the top but underneath it’s extremely matted! So matted, the whole coat came off in one piece! This matting would have been causing a terrible amount of discomfort for the dog. Please ensure you continue to have your dog groomed throughout winter.
That feel good feeling
Let’s not forget the “feel good” feeling our pets have once they’ve been groomed. Not only do they physically feel good, because the dirt, debris and knots have been removed but they’ve also been able to spend time socialising with other people and dogs. Grooming can help your best friend’s mental and emotional well-being as much as it can their physical health!
Our salon is located at our Currumbin practice. You’ll need to book in early to get the time you’re looking for! Please call 5598 4200.
Article written by Katie Buckley – Groomer, The Vet Lounge Currumbin.