Winter is coming, and so is your dog’s winter coat.
Back before the days of domesticity, dogs evolved to grow thicker undercoats during the winter. Thankfully, dogs still possess the ability to adapt to the changing weather. But sometimes, they need a helping (human) hand to battle cold climates.
Follow these simple steps to keep your dog’s coat shiny and thick all winter long!
Yes, dogs also shed in the fall. Most of us know that dogs shed their undercoats in anticipation of warmer weather. But what you may not know is that dogs shed their top coat in the fall in order to make room for their undercoat. To help this process along, de-shedding your dog prior to the winter season allows the under coat to come in more evenly. If you are doing it at home, you can use a shedding blade or de-shedding tools like the Furminator. Otherwise, we recommend setting up an appointment with your local groomer.
More fur equals more maintenance. Whether you bring your dog to a professional groomer or do it at home, it’s important to create a proper brushing routine in the winter. If you don’t already have a brush for your pup, you should invest in one. Brushing helps to spread natural oils, prevents matting, and offers a positive bonding experience with your dog. Consult with your groomer to create a grooming regiment for your dog. Read more about the benefits of brushing.
According to Pet MD, a dog’s coat can lose its insulating properties when it gets wet, so thoroughly drying off your pup after a romp in the snow or rain is an easy way to keep them warm and happy (although they might not appreciate the towel or hair dryer at first). For dogs that are professionally groomed, the groomer should be drying the coat all the way to the skin. Also making sure your dog has a warm, dry place to snooze not only keeps them cozy but diminishes lingering “wet dog” smell in your home.
Staying Hydrated & Moisturized
Underneath all that fur lies a thin layer of epidermis not unlike our own. In cold weather conditions, a dog’s skin can crack, dry out, and even split. Oils such as Vitamin E, fish oil, or coconut oil can be very beneficial to your dog’s skin during the winter. Simply adding a supplement of any of those oils to your dog’s meals can give them the moisturizing boost their coat needs. Your pooch may also benefit from using a moisturizing shampoo, which are typically enriched with natural oils, oatmeal, or aloe.
Additionally, making sure your dog has plenty of water during the colder months is just as important as it is during the summertime. Hydration is key to coat, skin, and overall health, so keep that water bowl fresh and full!
Dogs who have shorter coats, such as Chihuahuas, Pitbulls, or Boston Terriers, might need an extra layer to combat dropping temperatures. Luckily, there is a huge market for doggie winter coats and gone are the days of being embarrassed of dressing up your dog. Coats are worth the investment if you live in a colder climate. Winter coats are actually quite functional and practical. Look for a coat or sweater that covers the neck, back, and belly, and if you want to go the extra mile, you can buy your dog booties to keep their paws from cracking.
What winter regimens do you practice to improve your dog’s coat health? Let us know in the comment section!
Cover photo by Andrea Reiman via Unsplash