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Grooming... not just for Summer!

Is anyone considering skipping the regular grooming session over the colder months? Think again!

Dogs require grooming all year round. There are many benefits to grooming your dog including:

- Regular brushing of the coat prevents the build of mats. Mats are accumulation of dead hair and dirt and can pull on the skin and be painful. Mats continue to grow in size so the smaller they are when you deal with them the better. Try not to use scissors as this can lead to accidental cutting of the sensitive skin underneath. Instead try brushing, soaking or shaving the mats off. Take care and if your dog starts to object or appears painful and attempts to move away this may be a signal to get some professional help.

- Grooming gives you the opportunity to give your dog the full once over and check for any split nails, skin infections, parasites such as fleas, dental disease or any lumps or bumps that need to be checked by a veterinarian.

- Grooming increases the pet and owner bond. This is important as your dog will feel loved and learn to trust you more. This is a great opportunity to practice handling sensitive areas such as ears, feet and around the back end.

- Grooming reduces the amount of dead hair, dander and mud that ends up in your home. A clean pet helps keep the house clean!

- Grooming helps to promote oil distribution along the hair and skin and the act of grooming with brushes and cloth mits promote blood circulation to the skin and muscles which is important for good health.

- Try to bathe your dog no more than once a week- any more can cause the oils to be removed too quickly leading to a dry, dull coat.

Some dogs such as German Shepards, Huskys and Akitas have ‘double coats’. This is essentially like wearing two jackets at all times. Very good for keeping these breeds warm. However if you don’t dry your pet off properly the cold air can get trapped between the layers and make them feel cold. It also traps the ‘wet dog’ smell so drying your double coated breeds thoroughly is to be recommended!

Professional groomers will often trim the coat as part of their service. If you are concerned your dog will be too cold after this you can always look into dog Jackets and booties to add extra insulation during the colder months. Dog jackets are becoming a highly fashionable accessory however they do often protection from the cold and rain and therefore are worth considering, especially in very young, older or immune compromised dogs.

Sometimes prevention is better than cure, so always check the weather forecast and if it looks like torrential rain is predicted it may be better to just wait for a break in the weather and stick to the walks you know won’t be too muddy or wet!

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